Monix takes part in Ski 4 Cancer's Everest Challenge

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 A lot is written at this time of year about the joy of giving, but we believe it’s something that should be a priority all year round. That’s why when we heard about Ski 4 Cancer’s ambitious Everest World Record, we knew it would be too good to miss.

Ski 4 Cancer and Monix Adventures
Rhys has been involved with Ski 4 Cancer for many years as a Patron, and we knew we wanted to do something to raise funds for this brilliant charity in the New Year.
It was the mention of Everest which initially caught our attention, and 2016 will be a milestone year as it marks 10 years since Rhys climbed the peak, so it seemed a very fitting challenge. Fortunately, skiing the height of Everest takes significantly less time than the two months it takes to climb the mountain, but given our poor skiing we are probably just as likely to get injured!
So, on 11th March 2016, in the beautiful Austrian resort of Saalbach, we’ll be joining hundreds of other skiers (most of whom will be far better skiers than us!) to attempt a new Guinness World Record. We’ll ski a predetermined route through Austria’s largest resort, tracking our vertical progress via a special contest on the Map to Snow smartphone App.
Our ski experience on paper belies our wobbly technique in real life. We did manage a 3 week ski-mountaineering expedition in East Greenland, and climbed the highest peak in the Arctic Circle . In the Alps however, we place ourselves firmly in the class of enthusiastic amateurs, with our own special blend of survival skiing and determination.
Obviously we’ll be getting some practice in before the Everest challenge, and have promised to donate £1 every time we fall over. Ski 4 Cancer could stand to do quite well from this! 

More about the charity
Ski 4 Cancer is a cancer respite charity, they exist to ease the burden of living with a cancer diagnosis or a recent bereavement. They recognise that the diagnosis affects the whole family and not just the patient. Their programmes reflect this and don't just focus on the cancer patient but the immediate family as well. 
Ski 4 Cancer provides a wide range of respite opportunities for British families living with cancer. From family days to longer holidays in the UK and abroad. They also make grants to UK based palliative care institutions and fund research into the effects of exercise in both preventing the onset of cancer and how it can help people with their recovery after diagnosis. 
This charity is very close to our hearts, as like so many others, we have both lost close family and friends to cancer.

How to donate
If you can support this challenge with a donation to Ski 4 Cancer, however much or little, please visit our sponsorship page:

If you would like the chance to join us on this exciting challenge please contact Ski4Cancer for more details. 
We will keep be posting our progress whilst training and fundraising for this event across our social media accounts on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Kilimanjaro - The Monix Way

We spend a lot of time talking to our guests about Kilimanjaro, and what it’s like to climb “the Monix way”. So we thought we should write a blog to explain how it looks and feels, and how it differs from a lot of the other offerings. The blog is more about life on the mountain, than a detailed account of the route itself.

It’s fair to say that Kilimanjaro is big business for Tanzania, and for the hundreds of operators (and thousands of resellers) who promote the mountain. The peak has to withstand the tremendous strain put on it by some 40,000 trekkers every year, all plodding towards it’s conical summit.

Almost everyone will know somebody who’s climbed Kili, and we’ve heard stories ranging from “it’s a piece of cake” to the more frequent “hardest thing I’ve done in my life”, and everything in between. As someone who’s climbed Everest, I can honestly say that the summit day on Kili is genuinely tough, and asks a lot of even the fittest of trekkers. That said, with the right mix of acclimatisation, quality rest, basic fitness, and a pinch of good luck, there is nothing that makes the peak unattainable. 

There will be the purists who’ll ask if they can carry their own bag, or do it “solo” (the answer’s no, Park regulations). They might even suggest doing it with so much comfort is “cheating”. But the fact is, Kilimanjaro is a once in a lifetime trip for many people, so it should be special. It should also be enjoyable, and there is very little to be proud of by suffering for a week in a leaky tent, with an empty stomach, and an unhappy crew who aren’t properly paid or tipped. So we strive to make the whole experience comfortable, memorable and successful. 

So, how do our trips shape up? And how do we achieve a consistent 100% summit success rate? 

It usually starts at our client’s office, or kitchen, or a favourite pub, where we give the trip overview and what it’ll take to get the team to the mountain and back again. Information is broad stroke, and we put any immediate concerns at ease. Between the initial meeting and stepping on to the plane to Africa, we are in regular contact with the team, answering questions about kit, sending them links on which socks we recommend, and making sure their favourite drinks will be waiting for them when they step off the mountain. Then the adventure begins.

Landing in Tanzania always awakens the senses, and can be overwhelming for those who’ve never been to Africa. There’s a buzz of general chaos in the airport, and this is the first chance we get to make the team feel at ease again. One of our drivers will be waiting, usually accompanied by the Guide we send from the U.K, and sometimes even myself and Laura. We then whisk the team away to a little haven of tranquility, a beautiful lodge on the outskirts of Arusha. Once checked in and freshened up, we run a briefing and a final kit check, we introduce the local guide team and set the schedule for the next day. The team always knows what time they need to be ready, and what the next day will entail. There’s no stress for our guests, and we work with our local crew busily in the background to ensure everything is ready.

Finally, the time comes to start the climb itself. There’s usually a degree of trepidation, as there’ll have often been months of build up before the trip. It’s always a welcome relief when the routine of expedition life starts to kick in, and the whole team (including our local crew) start to find their rhythm. We typically have up to 10 porters per guest on our top spec climbs, this means our porters are never overloaded. They also have their own tents where they can rest and relax together. They are the glue that keeps the Kilimanjaro industry together, and without them, only a fraction of trekkers would come close to summiting the mountain. We look after our crew, and they look after us. They always win the respect of our clients too, as they seem to effortlessly overtake us each day.

Our preferred route on Kili is the Lemosho, which we always climb over 8 days. The first few days are quieter, more remote, and more beautiful than the most frequented routes. For those who have stricter time restraints, we occasionally climb via the Machame route over 7 days. Very rarely, we have also run the technical ascent of Kilimanjaro via the steep Umbwe route and then straight up the flank of the mountain on the Western Breach. 

Whichever route we’re operating, the daily routine remains very similar. There’s a knock on the tent door in the morning, with freshly ground coffee or tea. Hot water is provided for a morning wash and freshen up. Then, breakfast is served in one of our large dining tents where we have tables and high backed chairs. It usually kicks off with porridge, followed by a fried breakfast of sausages, bacon, eggs and toast. To finish, there’s sweet, fresh, locally picked fruit.

The team usually rolls out of camp between 8am and 9am, depending on weather, how the team is getting on, and which camp we need to reach that afternoon. On the longer days, lunch is served on the trail. We’ll reach a point roughly half way, where the dining tent will be erected and we’ll eat a hearty meal to get us through the afternoon. It’s usually a soup, followed perhaps by pasta, and finished with fruit and hot drinks.


After 5-8hrs of hiking, we’ll roll in to camp. Throughout the day our entire army of porters will have overtaken us with the tents and provisions, and erected camp for the next night before we arrive. All it leaves the team to do is find their tent. There’s then some hot drinks and snacks, and a couple of hours down time before dinner. On our top spec trips, we take a shower tent so guests often have a hot shower. It has a huge effect on morale after a long day of hiking! The evening meal is then served and is usually 3 or 4 courses. We spend a lot of time training our cooks in the off-season, and it really pays off. They produce some incredible meals in far from ideal conditions at 4,000m! It’s all the more impressive when you remember that they’re also doing the same trekking as everyone else. It’s not unusual to find our teams polishing off steak and chips, and we have fresh meat and fruit sent up to camps every couple of days.

After dinner, it’s time to turn in. The tents we use are all spacious and built to withstand all weathers. The teams climbing on our VIP trips will have a standing height tent, with a full size aluminium cot bed, sleeping bag, blanket and pillow. Because the thing you need most after a long day, is a good night’s sleep.

Dawn breaks with a knock on the tent, and so the routine repeats itself. It’s wonderfully simple, and all that’s left for you to do, is enjoy the journey.



Monix gives back to the mountains

During a recent trip to Chamonix, Rhys and I took part in a very important day during the Arc'teryx Alpine Academy. Alongside Guides Du Mont-Blanc, Arc'teryx Athletes and mountain lovers from across the globe we set out to collect as much rubbish from 2 popular trails on the Aiguille Du Midi and the Mer De Glace. 

Whilst walking along the trails you are unable to see how much rubbish is hiding around you. However it only takes a good look underneath a boulder to see the extent of the littering.

In 6 hours we collected two full black bags of rubbish which included glass bottles, tin cans, plastic bottles and food packets. As a team we collected a shocking 1.5 tonnes of rubbish from the mountain. 

We finished the day feeling like we had given something back to the mountains which have given so much to us. 

Monix continues to support responsible travel and make sure that we continue to leave only footprints.