What made you decide to take on this expedition?
My aim of this expedition is to raise funds for Walking With The Wounded, which is a charity that is incredibly close to my heart. I’ve been in the army reserves for 14 years now and in 2012 did an operational tour in Afghanistan, so I’ve seen first-hand with colleagues who have been injured, that moving into the civilian world after leaving the forces can be difficult.
Walking With The Wounded is a fantastic charity which helps service men and women to make this transition, giving them training and supporting them through the process. I realise that whilst I’m going for my little walk up a hill in Pakistan, a number of ex-service men and women will be undertaking The Walk of America, a 1000-mile trek from the west to east coast.
How did your relationship start with Bremont?
I first heard from Bremont in 2006, soon after I returned from Everest. Nick and Giles sent me an email asking to meet- I didn’t know who they were and had never heard of Bremont.
The website wasn’t even set up so there was nothing to look up about them. I was hesitant at first as I had just been given my father’s antique 1972 GMT master for my 21st.
I went to Giles’ house to meet the brothers and we sat around his kitchen table looking at the three original prototypes- the ALT1-C, P and Z. I remember thinking that whilst the watches were beautiful, it was Nick and Giles that really sold them and the brand to me. Their passion, their focus, the story of not only their background and their father, but also of how Bremont came about was just infectious, just amazing and I thought; this is a brand I would really love to be involved with.
That was 12 or 13 years ago and I’ve been an ambassador ever since. What I’ve very much come to recognise is that with Bremont it’s not just buying a mechanical timepiece for your wrist, it’s buying into a family and becoming a member of the gang.
What made you decide to attempt K2 for the third time?
For me, K2 has been a 10-year journey. I reached the summit of Everest when I was 21 years old and that was when my life’s ambition came true and I knew K2 was what I wanted to do next. In 2008, I was due to go as part of a team, but at the last minute the expedition fell apart. I was incredibly disappointed, however the horror of what then happened- 11 deaths in 36 hours, made me realise that was certainly not the year I should have been there and I was rather pleased I wasn’t.
In 2009 I was part of a new team and we got to 7700 metres before bad snow conditions stopped us. A couple of members of the team managed to get onto the shoulder at 8000 metres, but the weather just kept going against us. After that, life got on top of me- I got married, had children and did an operational tour of Afghanistan.
Then, in 2016 an opportunity arose to go as part of a British team. I leapt at the chance and we were probably considered as one of the strongest teams on the mountain. In late July, when we went for our summit attempt alongside a few other teams, we got up high and were moving towards camp 3. We had been there before to stash equipment, oxygen, gas, ropes and supplies for the summit attempt when an avalanche swept the camp of the face of the earth. It was incredibly fortunate that the avalanche hadn’t been 6 or 12 hours later as there would have been many deaths and we would certainly have been killed.
I remember leaving and feeling very disappointed as I felt we could have gone back up there for another try. So we were forced down without having actually failed ourselves, so failing without having the chance to fail (read blog here). As I walked away from the mountain, I remember saying to myself I don’t know if I’ll ever see this mountain again. I’m incredibly pleased that on 15
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Before leaving for his adventure, Jake stopped by Bremont HQ in Henley to try his hand at watchmaking. Jake will be putting his S300 to the test while he faces extreme weather and below freezing temperatures on his ascent to the summit.