Lifestyle

Singaporean climber takes chicken rice and beef rendang to Everest

Mountaineer Jeremy Tong at the Everest Base Camp in Nepal, May 2016. Photo: Jeremy Tong
Mountaineer Jeremy Tong at Lenin Peak Advanced Base Camp in Kyrgyzstan, July 2015. Photo: Jeremy Tong
Mountaineer Jeremy Tong at Korzhenevskaya Peak in Tajikistan, 3 Aug 2016. Photo: Jeremy Tong
Jeremy Tong is ready to conquer his 40th mountain peak after intensive training
Published: 4:00 AM, April 13, 2017
Updated: 10:59 AM, April 15, 2017

SINGAPORE — By the time you read this, Singaporean mountaineer Jeremy Tong will be in Nepal. His mission is to conquer the highest mountain in the world.

The 27-year-old is taking on Mount Everest to raise awareness and funds for the Singapore Cancer Society. If he reaches the summit late next month, Everest will be the 40th mountain peak he would have conquered.

“I want to see whether I can really achieve the job of climbing the highest mountain in the world,” said Tong, who suffers from vertigo. “I take it as the biggest challenge of my life. Fear is there, because (the risk of) death is there, but I want to do it because people have done it before, and I want to see whether I, an ordinary guy from the heartlands, can do it for myself and for the Singapore Cancer Society.”

Tong, who has been climbing for 13 years, marked a major milestone last year — he was the first Singaporean to reach Lenin Peak in Kyrgyzstan and Korzhenevskaya Peak in Tajikistan.

It is essential to prepare for a climb with a good training regimen, Tong said. To train for his Everest attempt, he ran 15 kilometres and climbed a 31-storey HDB block — with a backpack and ankle weights — 10 times in each session. He also ran up the hills in the Woodlands area, where he lives.

If you are a traveller who wants to try your mountain legs out, he recommends heading for Mount Siguniang, or Four-sister Mountains, in China.

“It’s basically a snow trek to the summit. It’s not too difficult — it’s only five days,” he said of the trip.

For intermediate climbers, he suggests choosing a mountain in Nepal such as Pisang Peak in the Annapurna region. “When you get close (to the summit), it’s really steep. That said, it’s not a very difficult mountain because it’s 6,000 metres, so it’s a good (introduction) to the Jumar system of ascenders (a rope system). When you’re coming down, you can use a belay device,” said Tong, who works as a facilitator at Focus Adventure, which specialises in corporate team-building programmes.

He added that the Pisang Peak is perfect for the intermediate climber. But “if you want to up the challenge, you can go in winter, which is what I did”, he said.

Another tip he has for fellow climbers is to eat right and to take along food that is not just nutritious, but also comforting. His Everest trip is supported by Prima Taste, which is supplying him with packed meals. He is taking along chicken rice and laksa meal kits, as well as ready-to-eat meals such as beef rendang.

“I know that with those (meals), I won’t really miss home,” he said, adding that climbing is very much a mental challenge, as well as a physical one. He is also taking along chocolate bars and potato chips to serve as psychological motivation. One of the things he plans to do at the Everest summit, after taking the requisite photos, is to eat a Snickers bar.

“I’m also taking along a soft toy that I take on all my expeditions,” he added. “It’s called Toi-toi because it’s a tortoise. My partner gave it to me.”

If all goes according to plan, Tong and Toi-toi will reach the summit between May 20 and 25 and will be able to say that they have been on top of the world.

 

Donate to Tong’s Everest For Cancer 2017 cause at give.asia/movement/everest_for_cancer_2017