Sorrel Wilby - World Expeditions trekking guide
Sorrel Wilby is an award-winning adventurer, becoming the first person ever, with hubby Chris, to traverse the Himalaya (6500km) on foot in 1991. This November she will be leading an adventurous trek through the high passes of Everest! This month we sat down with her as she reveals all on her most exciting adventures, highlights and advice for other adventurous travellers!
In 1985 you travelled 3000km across Tibet, a trip which saw you win an Award of Excellence from Australian Geographic as well as formed the basis from your bestselling book “Tibet, a Woman’s Lone Trek Across a Mysterious Land”. What did you discover about yourself during that journey, and do you have any advice for travellers looking to embark on their own big adventure?
I guess discovered myself - not merely “something about myself”. I had to dig deep on a number of occasions and in so doing, realised what I was capable of. I was vulnerable and alone and the kindness of strangers had a massive impact on my opinion of humanity at large. I try and see the good in everyone.
Advice for other travellers seeking their own adventure? Don’t over-think things… and at the risk of sounding like I’m marketing footwear - JUST DO IT!
You and your husband Christ Ciantar were the first people in the world to traverse the Himalayas, the world’s roughest and highest mountain range. What compelled you to embark on this 6500km journey, and did you have any favourite moments or memories on your adventure?
My passion for the Himalaya has never waned… I really can’t get enough of that part of the world. The mountains; the people; the culture - everything about that region is sublime. So why not walk the whole lot of it? I have many fond memories of that expedition; magnificent sunrises, extraordinary rituals, exotic smells and sounds that swirl in my mind like little beads of coloured glass in a kaleidoscope. But my most enduring memory is just how satisfying the whole experience was, sharing it with my husband Chris.
You’ve also spent a fair bit of time climbing Africa’s highest summits – what is it about exploring the mountains of a country you like so much?
Mountains are more often than not, beyond the reach of the road. They are wild places and incredibly beautiful. And the people you meet among them are more often than not, living in a more honest way; closer to their traditional - often tribal - truths…
Their way of life is sustainable, their belief systems are unshakable and the pleasure they draw from the “simple” things in life is quite profound. We have a lot to learn from them, indeed.
You used to be a television presenter for Getaway, who have you met along your travels that has impacted you the most?
OK… that’s hard. I struggled to keep the ‘list’ down to 100, when I undertook sketching 100 portraits of 100 people I’d met on the road less travelled… next question!
In November 2016 you’re leading a 20 day trip across the high passes of Everest! How do you prepare for such an expedition – mentally and physically?
Well a good 4 months before hand, I start walking a lot… build up my general fitness. It’s hard to train for altitude when you live a few hundred metres above sea level! But trekking is more a matter of attitude anyway… and on that, I’m rock-solid. No training required. Like I said, I don’t overthink the risks/hardships/etc. I get over there to the Himalaya, and I feel like I’ve come home.
What are the highlights on the Summits of Everest expedition to last and what do you think will be some of the biggest challenges of this journey?
Winter poses special challenges in the Himalaya, but it’s anyones guess what that will be like this season, in lieu of climate change. It is nigh on impossible to predict! I’m hoping for blue skies and clear vistas and that some of the waterfalls at higher altitude will be frozen! And I hope that we get at least one day where we trek through fresh snow… ahhhhh I can feel those gentle crystals falling on my face already!
As we’ve touched on, you have an amazing expedition resume that has seen you traverse the Himalaya, cross Tibet and take on some of the Africa’s greatest mountains. Is there still an adventure on your bucket list that you are dreaming about?
Hmmmmmm… I am still a really bad skier, so before I die I would like to master that, for sure. I’m not particular about where I’d like to acquire that skill-set, but New Zealand is nice and close to home…
You’re an exceptional public speaker and touch on topics such as adventure, making your dreams come true, and challenging yourself. What is it about inspiring others that you enjoy?
I do love inspiring people to travel… it is so incredibly rewarding. It puts all manner of things in perspective - including all the stuff we in the west take for granted.
What is your advice to travellers looking at trekking in the Himalaya?
JUST DO IT! LOL
Join adventurer, author, television personality and artist Sorrel Wilby on a once-in-a-lifetime trek through the high passes of Everest in November 2016!
The exciting "Experience Everest High Passes with Sorrel Wilby" trek will take you across the Renjo La with views of Tibet, as well as across the Cho La to Everest Base Camp. Climb Kala Pattar for exceptional views of Everest before making your way back down the mountain. Find out more!