British endurance swimmer and tireless campaigner for the environment, Lewis Gordon Pugh, is preparing for his most extreme challenge to date – a swim under the summit of Mount Everest, wearing just a pair of Speedo swimming trunks, cap and goggles.
The Pick n Pay/SAP Everest Challenge aims to continue to raise awareness of climate change and will see Pugh attempt to swim 1km at an altitude of 5,300 metres across the freezing waters of a lake next to the Khumbu Glacier on May 22nd 2010.
Pugh, who two years ago swam across an open patch of sea at the North Pole to highlight the melting of the Arctic sea ice, will be the first person to attempt this. He expects the swim will take approximately 20 minutes and he will once again wear Speedo for the challenge.
Pugh has spent a great deal of time previously defying the elements in expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic. Increasingly concerned about the effects of global warming on the polar regions, he is single-minded on his mission to raise further awareness in other areas of the world.
Lewis said: “These glaciers are not just ice. They are a lifeline – they provide water to a fifth of the world’s population. The Hindu Kush Himalayas Region has warmed on average by approximately 1oC and glaciers in the region are melting rapidly. Entire glaciers have disappeared in places. Lake Imja, where I will undertake a number of training swims, has formed due to the melting of the Imja Glacier. We must do all we can to raise awareness of the effects of climate change here.”
Lewis added: “People in Asia and Africa are already living with the realities of climate change. We are living in a global environment. What happens in one part of the world will directly impact other parts. We must stop arguing about whether China, the USA or the EU should act first. Given the urgency every country needs to put in place every solution at its disposal.”