Artists Impression

Artists Impression

Monday, 20 October 2008

Chatting with Graham Napier

When my mobile rang last Friday afternoon I was at work feeling truly hideous after another night out with the Hillary boys and a few Trektators, so it was perhaps not the ideal time to have a chat with the man who took this years Twenty20 Cup by storm.

At the start of the summer Graham Napier was a promising allrounder at Essex and had toured with England A in 2004, alongside Kevin Pieteren and Matt Prior, but after an astonishing 152* against Sussex in June his career is taking off.

Details of the innings itself can be found all over the place, but that is not what I wanted to talk to him about, I wanted to discuss his trek to Everest Base Camp last winter, and it seems I was not the first.

"It's safe to say the Everest trip has proved a popular topic of conversation, and I enjoy telling everyone about it," he said.

"There were times on the trip when I wondered what the hell I had gotten myself into, it was seriously cold up there, but the altitude was by far the toughest aspect.

"I was OK,but one of our guys, Cameron, had to be helicoptered off the mountain on the penultimate day, which brought home just how difficult it was."

From my point of view perhaps the best line he came out with was to do with fitness: "it seemed to be the fitter guys who struggled more, because they went off too quickly. Nick Compton is one example, he took on a hill pretty fast one morning and paid for it for about two days!"

When the conversation moved on to the cricket match they played at Gorak Shep Graham gave a small chuckle.

"It was no more than beach cricket really, and a useful distraction because we were all feeling pretty terrible by that stage. For us the cricket was a small aside, it was all about reaching Base Camp."

When I told him what we're planning he was supportive in the extreme, and had plenty of advice to give.

"When I played the game I think I was wearing thermals, base layers, a jumper, fleece and a coat, and it was still pretty cold.

"Night was the worst though. One night I couldn't be arsed to get up and go to the toilet so just peed in my water bottle, which then proved to be a great source of warmth! After that I took boiled water to bed with me every night.

Another tip was to wrap up all your batteries to keep them warm: "you'll want a good camera because around every corner there's another amazing view, and the cold sucks all the life out of your electrical gear, so I wrapped my batteries in socks each night."

I coud easily tell how excited Graham was when he began talking, and the fact that we are taking up around 50 people was something he saw as a plus for us, because the camaradarie is so important in getting through the tough times.

I almost began to wonder if he was serious when he said: "if this season hadn't gone so well I would probably be trying to get on the trip with you!" Well Graham, I can tell you now, there's a spot on Team Hillary for you - we need all the help we can get!

I owe a massive thanks to Graham for taking the time out to talk to me, he was incredibly pleasant to speak with, as was his agent Greg Lansdowne - who I hassled for some time.

Despite the season being over he is still a busy man. On Wednesday he was at an awards dinner at Lords to pick up the Walter Lawrence Trophy in recognition of his innings against Sussex, and he will shortly be heading out to Hong Kong to represent England in the Sixes competition, a tournament he won in 2004, before once again playing for Wellington in New Zealand.

Despite all this he was kind enough to offer to write something for us and lend his full support to The Everest Test, hopefully next time he calls I will be slightly less hungover and able to ask some decent questions!


  1. Mate this is an awesome read! But if you use this as a reason to put your feet up from training I will flog you!

  2. Nice one buzzer, sounds like a great guy. Can't see him smashing me over the ropes bowling at 16mph up there, bring him on.


The Everest Test