The Blog

Are the world’s leaders listening?

12 September 2012
By: Lewis Pugh
Category: Expeditions, Inspiration
Comments: 0

Leave a Comment

I had resolved never to do another cold-water swim, but the Himalayas changed my mind.

Glaciers are not just ice: they are a water lifeline for over 2 billion people, and if they melt away as scientists predict, the Himalayas will become the earth’s next big battle ground.

My kilometre swim across Lake Pumori, at 5,200m on Mt Everest, would draw attention to this issue. I took twenty-eight yaks and a speedo up the mountain, but I hadn’t factored in the radical tactical shift I would need to complete the swim.

Swimming at speed was not going to work at high altitude. Instead of minimising my time in the icy water and getting through the distance as quickly as possible, I was going to have to slow down. (Easier said than done in 2°C water.) This swim taught me that just because something has worked in the past, that doesn’t mean it will necessarily work in the future. I hope the world’s leaders are listening.