Everest Troupe Returns

Members of The Alarm, Squeeze, The Fixx and The Stray Cats have returned from the mountaintop and are rejoicing.

The group climbed Mt. Everest and played a record-setting concert October 21st. With the help of a group of nearly 50 people, Mike Peters, Glen Tillbrook, Cy Curnin, Slim Jim Phantom and others played 45 minutes of tunes at 18,600 feet for the benefit of cancer research.

The trip was inspired by cancer survivors Peters and CSI Entertainment Insurance prexy James Chippendale, whose friendship developed into the Love Hope Strength Foundation, which is dedicated to raising awareness and funds for cancer research.

"It was much more demanding than I thought it would be," Chippendale told Pollstar. He had just returned to the States and was catching up on returning phone calls.

"Logistically, what we pulled off is quite an amazing achievement, to be honest. The way we were able to beam back podcasts and photos every night and journal entries was amazing. You’re talking about the top of 16,000 feet."

The group didn’t have electricity for the last few nights of the trip and used solar panels to broadcast.

"The beauty on the mountain is amazing but just getting from place to place is a challenge. In addition to all the trekkers we had 42 sherpas and porters carrying all our gear. We had amps, we had all the technical equipment from the solar panels to the computers to three high-definition cameras to the guitars plus all of our gear. But of all the things that could have gone wrong, the weather, it went off without a hitch."

Thirty-two of the 38 trekkers got sick from food poisoning, but it apparently is a rite of initiation.

"They say usually half get some kind of illness, like a chest infection. The conditions up there aren’t the most sterile, putting it lightly," Chippendale said. "You’re hiking in yak dung seven hours a day. Everything they have, cook, and eat comes on the back of a porter or yak from Lukla [Nepal]. The health department would definitely close down every place on the mountain.

"When we got to Kala Pattar, which is 18,600 feet, the final two hours was probably, physically, the most brutal thing I’ve ever gone through in my life to get up to that point. The winds were 50 mph, it was about 20 degrees, and then the guys had to play. But it was all about adrenaline at that point."

Artists included Glenn Tilbrook from Squeeze, Cy Curnin of The Fixx, Slim Jim Phantom from Stray Cats and singer/songwriter Nick Harper. They exited the mountain to play another concert to 15,000 people in Durbar Square, Katmandu, which was broadcast live on Nepalese television. Not only were they the "tallest" concert performers in the world, but also were the first Western act to play Durbar Square.

The result of the trek was a $700,000 donation for a Nepal hospital in Bhaktapur. According to Chippendale, rich people will leave for Singapore or Thailand for cancer treatment but the rest cannot afford what is offered in Nepal. Leukemia treatment is $3,000 and if a child is diagnosed, it is common for the parents to forgo the treatment, and watch the child die, to afford food for the other siblings, Chippendale said.

Next year, the foundation treks to Machu Picchu, Peru, for a charity concert. There are offers to visit Austria, Switzerland, Canada, Australia and Denver, Chippendale said.

Robert Plant and Eddie Vedder couldn’t make this last trip but hope to join in on a future endeavor, he added.