Our people care greatly about their work, but it's not all that brings meaning to their lives. Many of our employees have fascinating hobbies and interests that take them to far-flung corners of the globe. We caught up with our Accounts Clerk, Makenzie Cooper, who recently completed the epic 14-day hike to Everest Base Camp - in winter!
Base Camp has always been on Makenzie's bucket list, but it became a reality after she saw a stunning photo of a Nepalese town on Instagram and reached out to her hiking-enthusiast friend. Two months later, they were flying into Kathmandu! With such a short lead-time, Makenzie made the most of her limited training time.
"I don't think I've ever trained so much in my life! It was full steam ahead - I was walking before work, on my lunch break, and after work. My entire weekends consisted of trekking around the Gold Coast in the heat and humidity. I also managed to squeeze a few altitude training sessions in."
While Makenzie knew the two-week hike was going to be intense, she could never truly anticipate what was waiting for her.
"I'm not sure what possessed me to attempt Base Camp in winter, but it definitely added to the challenge, that's for sure! It was -27 degrees at night, we had no running water, we didn't shower for six days, didn't wash our hair for 14 days, had no real toilets, and struggled to breathe, due to an eventual atmospheric oxygen level of around 50% once we got to above 5000m. We had splitting headaches, dizziness, and woke up multiple times a night gasping for air."
While this is undoubtedly some people's idea of hell, the trip is something Makenzie looks back on with a smile and an enormous sense of pride.
"I can never properly explain the feeling of looking at the tallest mountain in the world with your own two eyes, knowing you walked there with your own two feet. It makes every single hardship I encountered along the way totally worth it."
Her time on the mountain changed Makenzie, and she's carried her learnings forward into every facet of her life.
"There were days when I was ready to give up due to the altitude sickness or the freezing conditions, but the adrenaline of wanting to get there pushed me past all the obstacles. I now know that if I want something badly enough, it's achievable. Pushing yourself to the absolute edge of your physical limitations is something I highly recommend every person do. It's right there where you actually discover what you're made of."
We're lucky to have such a strong, determined person on our team. Congratulations Makenzie, and thank you for everything you bring to Frizelle Sunshine!