Kenton Cool on the summit of Everest British Alpinist Kenton Cool, known for his nine ascents of Mount Everest, as well as difficult and committing alpine-style climbs such as the first ascent of the Southwest Ridge of Annapurna III, is poised to take an Olympic gold medal to the summit of the world. Cool, who is leaving the UK this coming Thursday to attempt his tenth Everest bid, is carrying Arthur Wakefield's gold medal with him on the climb.
Arthur Wakefield was part of the 1922 Everest Expedition that climbed to an altitude of 8,230 metres, by far the highest point reached by any climber at that time. The expedition members were awarded Olympic gold medals in 1924, under the category 'Alpinisme'.
We spoke with Kenton as he prepared his equipment for the expedition:
"SO excited about this next expedition, the last decade for me has been all about Everest and now to be part of this story is like a dream come true. The medals are amazing, I've held 4 or them now and know where a couple more are, they are remarkable and carry with them a sensational story. The Wakefield Medal which is the one I have been loaned - I traveled to Toronto a couple of weeks ago to collect it - is currently under lock and key next to me right now, it's such a cool family story that the Wakefield's have, Arthur was a remarkable man so it seems fitting that we are honouring the Olympic Games Pledge with his medal."
The pledge that Kenton mentioned came from Edward Lisle Strutt, who promised to take a medal to the summit of Everest when he accepted the medals on behalf of the expedition climbers back in 1924.
"It's going to be an emotional ride, I've been working on the project for a couple of years now with a close friend Rich Robinson, so seeing it all come together with the help of Samsung is great. At times it's felt like a detective story trying to locate all the right parts and get them to fit together...but now the sights are set on the mountain....I still have to pack yet and I leave in 36 hours...but hey at least I'm good at the climbing bit!"
The expedition is sponsored by Samsung and endorsed by the BMC and the Alpine Club.