Phil's Story

“We are Team MoveiQ: Phil Spencer, Nick Sowerbutts, Richard Billington, Tom Golding and James Orme-Smith – a group of 5 close friends as well as all fathers with young children.

Team MoveiQ are taking on the epic Everest in the Alps challenge to support children living with a brain tumour. We are raising funds to carry out research into treatments and cures for the 26,000 children across the world currently affected by this inoperable disease. 500 children are diagnosed in the UK each year”

Why they are doing this?

Brain tumours are dramatically underfunded – it is the biggest cancer killer of people under the age of 40; it is the biggest cause of preventable and treatable blindness in children; just 19% of adults survive for 5 years after diagnosis. There is currently no cure, and very little is known about the causes….and yet only 2% of cancer research funding goes into this area. Team MoveiQ feel strongly that the maths do not stack up. A difference has to be made!

Everest in the Alps specifically funds a European research centre called The Everest Centre. This was set up 3 years ago by The Brain Tumour Charity to find treatments and cures for paediatric brain tumours. Their objective is simple – to double the survival rates and halve the harm.

The Centre was launched by our friends Rob and Tanya Ritchie whose son Toby was just 5 when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Living with an inoperable disease is Toby’s “Everest”. He faces mountains of challenges every single day. The Everest in the Alps challenge teams have raised an amazing £4.5m over the last 4 years.

The Challenge

Our mission is to climb the 8,848 vertical metres that Mount Everest sits above sea level. This is done “skinning” uphill on skis over 4 days around Verbier in the Swiss Alps. That’s close to 5.5 miles straight up – the cruising height of a jumbo jet. Each day we will climb for 10-12 hours, aiming for a vertical daily gain of 2,000m to 2,500m. We will be reaching altitudes of 3,500m, sleeping in mountain huts and setting out again before dawn in temperatures that can drop as low as -30c. Each of us will burn around 10,000 calories per day for 4 days – that is said to be the equivalent effort of running 3 back-to-back marathons PER DAY.

They say that 100g on your feet is like walking with 1kg on your back. The combined weight of our boots, skis, bindings, crampons, skins comes in around 6kg, therefore the equivalent of 60kg on our backs…with the addition of our actual back packs! Carrying that lot up hill, and at times above 3,000m altitude, leaves us in no doubt this will be no walk in the park!


Here is a short video MoveiQ Team Capt, Phil Spencer, made with young Toby Ritchie to explain a little more about why we are doing what we are doing …

Everest in the Alps removes the death risk of actually climbing Everest, but captures its awesomeness in the scale of the challenge.

Taking part is described as the ultimate winter sport endurance challenge and the hardest possible 4 days on skis. There is a total of 15 people taking part this year in 3 teams. Success or failure in the mountains is often influenced by weather conditions; but the challenge itself manages to combine the physical and the mental; the team and the individual. You can’t complete it without a team around you to give support and drive you through the relentless hours of climbing. But it is hugely individual when it comes to the months of intense training and preparation required to complete it successfully.

We Need You!