Trevor Johnson travelled to the Himalayas last month

Trevor Johnson travelled to the Himalayas last month

White Rock man reaches new heights

Trevor Johnson crosses Everest, Island Peak off of his to-do list

Ten days after his return from trekking in the Himalayas, Trevor Johnson is hard-pressed to find words to describe the experience.

“Amazing” comes to mind, as does “awe-inspiring.”

But try to paint how it feels to stand at a point 14,000 feet up Mount Everest – the world’s highest mountain – looking up a further 15,000 feet to its peak, to someone who’s never been there…?

“I kind of had a visual of what it would be like, but it was even more impressive than I could ever imagine,” Johnson said.

“You can’t really explain that to anybody who’s only been in Canada or played on our local coastal mountains.”

Johnson, a White Rock father and Richmond fire chief, was among 19 people to travel with Summits of Hope to Nepal to raise money for BC Children’s Hospital.

Travelling along established trade routes, past remote villages – and encountering more than 1,000 yaks –  everyone reached the central goal: Everest base camp, 17,500 feet.

It was at that point that some members of the group ran into trouble. One climber developed high-altitude cerebral edema (swelling of the brain) and “had to be flown out in a helicopter immediately.” Two women who had been “kind of struggling” left at the same time, Johnson said.

Eleven of the 19, however – including Johnson and longtime friend Peter Hunter – continued to the nearby Kala Patar summit, an altitude of 18,200 feet. It is known to offer the best view of Everest from base camp to peak, as well as a 360-degree panorama of several other mountain peaks, including Mount Lhotse.

(The group was not targeting Everest’s summit, a goal Johnson described as “on another level to what I did” – one that only one in four who try survive. Incorrect information appeared in the Nov. 4 Peace Arch News.)

With the Kala Patar notch in their belt, Johnson and Hunter split from the group the following day to head with a guide for even greater heights – the summit of Island Peak.

On the final day of that adventure – after Johnson recovered from nausea that he initially worried would mean cutting the trek short – the pair climbed and hiked a total of 17 hours.

Waking at 1 a.m., they reached their goal – an altitude of 20,300 feet – at 10:30 a.m.

“It was actually more difficult than both of us had expected,” Johnson said. “Probably due to the illness and lack of sleep, it took just about everything we had to make it up there.”

In a brief video marking the occasion, the exertion is evident in both mens’ voices.

“We made it, man, top of the world,” Johnson says, panning the camera to capture the stunning 360-degree view.

The reward was “absolutely” worth all of the challenges, Johnson told PAN.

“We had a perfect day. It was blue sky as far as the eye could see, and we were sitting on the summit right next to Everest.

“It was pretty special.”

The Everest base-camp climb was Johnson’s second trek with Summits of Hope. The first, to Mount Kilimanjaro in 2007, was inspired by the care received at BCCH by Hunter’s infant daughter, Madison, who spent the first two months of her life there after she was born premature.

Johnson estimates he raised “around $10,000” this time around, funds that will benefit the hospital’s burn unit. The grand total from the Summits of Hope group is figured at around $200,000.

Tackling Everest had been on Johnson’s to-do list for more than two decades.

And while reaching the Island Peak summit put him past his personal altitude goal of 20,000 feet, it did anything but diminish his drive for new heights – quite the opposite, in fact.

“It just makes me want to go higher,” he said, noting Mongolia has been mentioned as a potential Summits of Hope destination next year.

He encouraged others interested in reaching such heights to consider Summits of Hope as a way of fulfilling their dreams while helping a cause along the way.

“They welcome anybody and everybody that has a passion for climbing,” he said.

Anyone interested in donating to Johnson’s efforts can still do so through to the end of December, at


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey Fire Service at a garage fire in the 14400-block of 82A Ave on March 22, 2021. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
‘Perfect storm’ of variants, increasing COVID cases are concerning for Surrey fire chief

Between police and fire, Larry Thomas said there are 8 confirmed cases, 18 others isolating

Emergency crews on scene after a small plane crashed in a grassy area on the northeast side of Boundary Bay Airport Saturday morning (April 10). A freelancer said the plane caught fire and one person was transported to hospital by BC Emergency Health Services. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Small plane crashes at Delta’s Boundary Bay Airport

Plane appears to have suffered ‘significant’ damage, says freelancer

Signage on a South Surrey sidewalk reminds pedestrians to respect social-distancing guidelines. (Photo: Tracy Holmes)
Surrey records 4,400 COVID-19 cases in March

New cases almost doubled between February, March

The Rotary Club of South Surrey is planning to host another shredding event on April 17, 2021.(Contributed file photo)
South Surrey Rotarians to host shredding event

April 17 fundraiser to offer secure shredding by donation

Surrey Fire Service is on scene of a fire in the 12300-block of 72A Avenue Saturday morning (April 10). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Surrey crews on scene of house fire

It happened in the 12300-block of 72A Avenue

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Emergency crews on scene after a small plane crashed in a grassy area on the northeast side of Boundary Bay Airport Saturday morning (April 10). A freelancer said the plane caught fire and one person was transported to hospital by BC Emergency Health Services. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
1 taken to hospital after plane crash at Metro Vancouver airport

Plane appears to have suffered ‘significant’ damage, says freelancer

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

Most Read