two intrepid Swindon explorers aim to scale Mount Everest in a bold expedition next month.

Seasoned adventurer David Hempleman-Adams and entrepreneur Rikki Hunt hope to climb the world’s tallest mountain in temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees to conduct research and raise cash for charity.

The expedition, whose patron is the Duke of Edinburgh, will help people to understand altitude sickness while generating funds for the Alzheimer’s Research UK and Hop Skip and Jump.

Mr Hempleman-Adams, 54, who organised the trek for him and nine friends, has climbed the south face of the mountain before and is looking forward to tackling the north side from Tibet.

He said: “I’m really excited.

“They are all a bunch of good friends and I think it will be good fun.

“But even with good weather, good food, good training, it’s still a dangerous mountain and people die on it every year.

“The main challenge is going to be altitude sickness. If you aren’t acclimatised properly you can die. So it’s something that’s physically and mentally challenging. It’s going to be tough.”

They will be accompanied by sherpas and will eat food provided free-of-charge by the supermarket Iceland during the 60-day trip.

At the summit, 29,029ft above sea level, the team will plant a Union Jack and the flag of the Explorers’ Club, before starting the descent.

Mr Hempleman-Adams, a father-of-three, said: “It’s very different to my last Everest expedition in that last time I was just a climber and with climbers, all you do is put one foot in front of the other. Whereas as a leader it’s a bit more cerebral.”

Mr Hunt will wear equipment monitoring how his body reacts to the cold, which will be used to provide an insight into altitude sickness for trekkers and those in medicine and the military.

He started training in earnest in January, running two to three times a week and completing an eight to 15-mile trek every weekend.

Mr Hunt, 57, a father-of-four, said: “Having climbed quite a few mountains before and done the North Pole, I know the biggest part of the challenge is mental.

“It’s how you feel, how you push through pain barriers and loneliness and missing the family.

“Fitness is also clearly key and my fitness is good. I feel very good about this trip and in fact I was saying to David recently that my head is already on the top, I just need to drag my fat backside to meet it.”

The official charity for the expedition is Alzheimer’s Research UK but Mr Hunt has decided to collect sponsorship for Hop Skip and Jump, which hopes to build a new day centre at Lydiard Park for children with physical, learning and emotional disabilities.

For more information or to sponsor the expedition team in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UK, visit To sponsor Rikki in aid of Hop Skip and Jump, visit www.justgiving.-com/rikki-hunt