- Hughes' Highest Tea Party Team, Andrew Hughes, Ronan Murphy, Kristin Bennett, Garrett Madison, Sid Pattison, Robert Smith, Art Muir, Helen Cokie Berenyi, Krisli Melesk, Ben Veres, Kevin Walsh, Kristin Harila, Mark Pattison, Rick Irvine, James Walker
- 6496 metres metre(s)
- Nepal (Mt Everest - Camp 2)
The highest tea party is 6496 metres and was achieved by Hughes' Highest Tea Party Team in Mount Everest Camp 2, Nepal, on 5 May 2021.
"Every child grows up browsing the GWR book and wishing one day to be a part of its incredible history and being a part of this inspiring community. I know I definitely was such a child. But it was during the pandemic when the world stopped and the mountains I climbed internationally no longer were available to adventure up and on that I had the time to ponder deeper meanings for what draw me to the mountains. One of the most important reasons is the community. And so after a year apart from one another, I wanted to find a record that would celebrate a return to not just the mountains but a reunion of this mountain family. In so many ways the record became a celebration of persevering through the pandemic and emerging with a greater sense of purpose and appreciation for all that was taken.
Andrew had climbed above 20,000 feet a few times before and had been on Everest in 2019 before falling in ill on his summit attempt. "I knew I could make the altitude if my body and the mountain was willing. So thankful they both were.Tea on the mountain and in Nepal is more than the warmth within each cup but a means which we come together and connect at the lodges along the trek into Everest Base Camp and while on the mountain. The warmth in hand also gives opportunity to warm ones heart and lift ones spirit no matter the conditions outside and which you are facing. It also is an exceptional way remain hydrated avoid hypothermia on a practical level. I chose teas as well that would reduce stress and boost immune systems for my fellow climbers - something so important for the mountain. So to host a tea party felt like something meant for the mountains and especially the mountain of all mountains in Everest."
A lot of research was undertaken into what key components mush be included for a tea party and then determining which had the durability to survive flying around the world, being transported by yak to base camp, then carried on my back through the Khumbu Icefalls all the way up to Camp 2 on Everest.
"Thankfully the training to hold the tea party was already combined in my own training to seek the summit of Everest which I did on the same rotation that we held the record attempt. It was extremely challenging. Climbing and training for Everest was years in the making and with the limited availability to train as I normally would during 2020 and into 2021 it was even more difficult. Knowing I would most likely have to climb and carry everything for my record to 21,500 feet at Camp 2 only meant more weight in order to make this record possible.
As the team prepared for the record a massive storm hit Camp 2. Huge snowfalls began to come down so Andrew made everyone get in their summit suits which they would wear for their summit attempts. "With cold hands I carried everything out to a flat spot in the middle of our tents where a fresh blanket of snow laid. Setting the table with everything as the snow coated everything. However, the joy for a small mental break from the summit days ahead of us to simply celebrate with one another, sip tea, and indulge on treats largely absent from our diet on the mountain made the snow storm just an added unforgettable element to entire record attempt."
Girl Scout cookies were a favourite snack of the attempt. "I brought all the way from Seattle but had ordered from Girl Scout Troop 6000 which has been tailor-made to benefit and contribute to the girls in New York's shelter system."
"The record would mean so much to me because it would mean so much to all who took part in it. The greatest things in life are often those shared. The record will forever immortalize an unforgettable moment and experience in my life and hopefully inspire others to seek their own dreams and perhaps set a record while doing."