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Marc meets Adrian Hayes
Adventurer

Marc meets Adrian Hayes | Kidspiration

Imagine you get the chance to go on a Grand Adventure… walking across the Arctic to the North Pole, or walking to the South Pole, or maybe climbing to the very top of Mount Everest. Which adventure would you choose?

If you’re Adrian Hayes, you pick all three, and then do all three in world record time. Mr. Hayes has held the Three Poles Challenge world speed record, after he walked to the North Pole, and the South Pole, and climbed Mount Everest — in nineteen months and three days. It’s called the Three Poles Challenge because explorers try to reach the two farthest-apart points on earth, and the very highest point.

Mr. Hayes tried out lots of different jobs on the way to becoming an adventurer. He worked as a bricklayer, a farmer, and a builder’s worker. He sang and played guitar in a rock band. He was a paramedic with the Special Air Services before going to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. As a British officer in the Brigade of Gurkhas, he served in Hong Kong and Brunei, and later, with the Royal Army of Oman. And he learned to speak Arabic and Nepali.

After leaving military service and working as a sales director, Mr. Hayes began his climbing and trekking adventures. He followed up the Three Poles Challenge by crossing 1,600 kilometers of the Arabian Desert, on foot and on camel. This area is called the Empty Quarter and it’s the largest “sea” of sand in the world.

In 2014, he and his team reached the top of K-2, the world’s second tallest mountain. K-2 “was my biggest challenge,” he says, because it is “way steeper” than nearby peaks, and its weather conditions are much worse. Climbing is his favorite adventure, he adds, because you’re in a different world. You have to stay really focused and think only of your next move.

Mr. Hayes is the first Briton and only the third person in the world to reach the summit of the two highest mountains and to trek to both the North and South poles.

His advice for kids who wonder what adventures they might have? “Write down your goals for the year,” a few months at a time. Figure out what your skills are. And if you’re not sure, ask your teachers or parents!



Adrian:
These mountains are 8,800 and 8,600. No helicopter can get up there. If you’re really struggling the idea that you can put someone on your shoulder and say, “Come on mate, let’s go down.” You’re struggling to slide itself. So you’re in your own little world up there. They’re dangerous places especially above 8,000 meters, the so called death zone.

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Marc:
Hi. I’m Marc. And today I’m meeting with Adrian Hayes. He’s a Guinness World Record holder and he’s traveled to the North and South Poles and climbed the highest mountains in the world. Let’s go meet up with him.

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Marc:
So it’s really nice to meet you Adrian.

Adrian:
Good to meet you too Marc.

Marc:
So what exactly does an Adventurer do?

Adrian:
Most people, most professional guys who go into the Adventure world they specialize. They’re mountaineers. They’re polar skiers, or polar explorers, or they’re whatever. Most people specialize.

Marc:
What’s your favorite? Would you rather do climbing, hiking?

Adrian:
I love the polar ice caps.

Marc:
Mm-hmm, that’s your favorite.

Adrian:
It’s a different world. That’s probably my favorite yeah ’cause you really are away from all the – You’re away from – completely from civilization.

Marc:
So you’re pretty much on your own.

Adrian:
Yeah and it’s not that I’m an unsociable guy. I love a party and I’m a social guy. But it’s just that stillness of these places is pretty special.

Marc:
Yeah. So you climbed Mount Everest didn’t you? What was that like?

Adrian:
I climbed Mount Everest in 2006. It was a really powerful experience, one of the three defining periods of my life.

Marc:
And then you said you nearly died when you were climbing. How did that happen?

Adrian:
The biggest problem climbing Everest which is the biggest single problem?

Marc:
Probably the oxygen ’cause it’s really high?

Adrian:
You’ve got it, the lack of oxygen. So that was it. My oxygen mask failed on my summit night. It completely broke. So I summited without oxygen but I got it working the final hour – the final two hours when I summited. But then it didn’t work on the way down and that’s when I realize when you’ve been without oxygen then 12 hours, 15, 18 hours you know you really are struggling.

Marc:
Between you and me when you go –

Adrian:
[inaudible]. I’m not telling.

Marc:
– and you need to go for the toilet and you need a poo or a pee – all right where does it go? Does it just freeze?

Adrian:
Well where are you talking about – mountains or polar ice caps?

Marc:
Well both really.

Adrian:
So well let’s – Well they’re different. The North Pole went down to -60. So we have a pee. It freezes. Break it off and there’s a spear for a polar bear if he comes and attacks you. [laughter] Just joking.

Marc:
[laughter]

Adrian:
You know throw up a bottle of water and it freezes some and it comes down. So it is a problem. But you know actually school children always ask me this question: how do you go to the toilet at -50? And I usually have a quick answer which is it’s very quickly. So yeah what do you do? It freezes up but we try and bury it where you can you know other polar stuff.

Marc:
Bury it. Keep it away from camp don’t you?

Adrian:
Yeah.

Marc:
Was your biggest challenge Mount Everest or was it K2?

Adrian:
Well the difference between K2 and Everest is K2 is 200 meters lower. It’s way steeper, rock fall dangers, avalanche, ferocious weather, 330 climb that one and about 4,500 that one.

Marc:
Seeing as you went out there four – was it two weeks wasn’t it?

Adrian:
To go where?

Marc:
To climb Mount Everest.

Adrian:
Everest takes two months.

Marc:
Two months!

Adrian:
Yeah.

Marc:
That’s a long time. Did you have to take some type of equipment in your bag and some food? What kind of food did you have to take?

Adrian:
On all the big mountains I take something like 80 kilograms of stuff. A lot of it is food – special food. You know Sherpas come to base camp and they’re cooking a lot of food there. So you’re taking a lot of kit equipment, medical kit, food, supplies – anything to make the whole experience a little bit easier.

Marc:
Okay and what’s the scariest thing you’ve done?

Adrian:
I suppose K2. Yeah.

Marc:
K2?

Adrian:
Yeah the first year we did K2 we were pushing up and sadly two of our – We came down because it was too bad. Two guys got killed on the first year. Every four people that reach the top of K2 one will die trying.

Marc:
Yeah.

Adrian:
So it’s got a pretty – a 25 percent mortality rate.

Marc:
And what’s your favorite thing about climbing?

Adrian:
You’re in a different world. So when you’re climbing on a mountain all you think about is that next move, that next hold, your feet, your breath. You know you’re focusing. And your antenna is up for avalanches, weather, and things like that. Total, utter focus.

Marc:
So you’ve really just got to focus –

Adrian:
You’re really focused.

Marc:
– on surroundings.

Adrian:
And that’s fantastic. So when you come down you’ve just realized you know what an experience it is.

Marc:
What’s your best advice for children?

Adrian:
My best advice for children would be firstly to write down your goals. Write down your goals for the next year. Every year you know around the end of the year – November or December – I write down what I want to do the next year okay? And when I write them down it’s not what I want to achieve by the end of the year. I do it by quarter. First quarter – Because if you write down I want to run a ten mile race by the end of the year and you don’t do anything you’ll have a lot of goals on the 31st of December that you’re got to you know come and do.

So write the goals down for a year. I encourage children to write down what they want to achieve in their life. There’s something about writing it down that makes it happen. And I concentrate or I focus or I recommend to children really look at what they’re good at, what skills they’ve got. And if they don’t know ask your mom or dad, ask your friends. And then see how you can be even better at those strengths.

Marc:
Thank you once again for telling me about what you do. It’s been quite interesting. And nice to meet you.

Adrian:
Pleasure, and you.

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Marc:
It’s been really interesting meeting Adrian today. He’s a cool guy and he does some awesome expeditions. See you next time.