In 2019 I will lead an intrepid team setting out to do something that only 4,000 people have ever done – summit the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest.

Almost 300 people have died trying so it’s not something we are taking lightly, and especially now that I’ve eyeballed the mountain up close.

Over the past couple of weeks I was honoured to travel out to Nepal as an ambassador for the Rugby World Cup trophy tour. The tour is taking the Webb Ellis Cup far and wide en route to Japan next year for the first World Cup ever to be played in Asia. It’s a huge time for the sport and its growth and seeing the kids playing the game – many for the first time – was a real thrill.

We played a fair few games of rugby and visited schools and famous landmarks everywhere we went. There aren’t many places you can go, though, where you escape the ominous sight of Everest, which obviously stands as the biggest landmark of them all.

Guinness World Record attempt in 2019

Circling the mountain from a helicopter is one of the most humbling experiences you can have. It’s only when you see it from the air that you realise anyone on it is literally like a speck of dust. In a way that reminded me of taming similar fears sailing around the world with the Clipper Race, and how we’re all at the mercy of the elements.

Former England Sevens captain Ollie Phillips was ambassador for the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour in Nepal, December 2019

Former England Sevens captain Ollie Phillips was ambassador for the Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour in Nepal, December 2019

It also sent a shiver down my spine to think that we’re also trying to set a world record up there next April by playing the highest-ever rugby match. I wonder if a referee has ever had to stop a game with the words: “Altitude stops play”?

Aside from experiencing Everest for the first time, the thing I’ll take away most from my time in Nepal is the warmth of the people and the unspoilt beauty of the place. I simply cannot wait to go back.

Could you benefit from taking yourself or your staff outside of their comfort zone to achieve even greater things?

Contact Ollie and Optimist Performance and let us tailor a session to your needs.