British climber who uses colostomy bag to lead Himalayan expedition
A British mountaineer who uses a colostomy bag will lead a high-altitude Himalayan expedition next month.
Mick Fowler, 62, will attempt to scale a 6,000m peak in the mountain range that has not been climbed before.
He was diagnosed with cancer of the anus in 2017 and now uses a colostomy bag after undergoing extensive treatment which included an ostomy – a procedure to redirect the bowel to an exit through an opening in the abdomen wall.
The diagnosis halted plans he had with climbing partner Vic Saunders to attempt a Himalayan expedition that year.
But the pair will now attempt to complete what will be the first major Himalayan expedition that is led by someone who uses a colostomy bag, according to a statement issued ahead of the trip.
Fowler said: “My cancer diagnosis was an unwelcome interruption to plans and there were times during my treatment when I doubted whether I would be able to return to the Himalaya.
“So I am looking forward to this trip with even more anticipation than usual.”
Fowler, who lives in Derbyshire, will also find out how the colostomy bag performs at high altitude and in extreme weather conditions.
He added: “This trip involves the added dimension of me now being an ostomate and I am looking for a solution to the ‘colostomy bag at altitude’ conundrum which will help other mountaineers who need to use this kind of kit to continue their climbing adventures.”
In 2016, the pair completed an ascent of the north face of Sersank, a mountain in the Indian Himalaya, almost 30 years after they last climbed together.
Their latest expedition will take place next month.