There were whispers; there were rumours; there were whispers of rumours. But now we can confirm that at 14:07 on 15th May 2017, Marmot Marv reached the summit of Mount Everest.
Yes, you read that right. Marmot Marv - Trail's stuffed #EverestAnywhere mascot - has reached the summit of Everest. Wow.
Marv's journey to the highest point on planet earth began at the beginning of the month when Trail reader and one of our new favourite people Vanessa Thirsk offered to take him with her on her journey to Everest Basecamp. Through the trek Vanessa updated us with photos of Marv to let us know how he was getting on and assure us that the furry little fella was being looked after – you can see a selection of these pics in the slideshow below.
Vanessa and Marv made it to Base Camp, and to be honest we'd have been happy if Marmot Marv's great Everest adventure ended there. But it didn't. Going above and beyond the call of duty, Vanessa tracked down a team of climbers aiming to reach the top of Everest this season and managed to blag him a spot on the team. Thus, Marmot Marv became a part of the Jagged Globe Everest 2017 expedition and, more specifically, the personal companion of Pemchhiri Sherpa.
Not only was Pemchhiri Sherpa a key member of the Jagged Globe expedition, he had also been part of the team of Sherpa responsible for fixing the ropes for the start of the 2017 climbing season – a task which was complicated by late dumps of snow on the mountain.
Despite being responsible for this most serious and essential of Everest duties, he was willing to transport Marv to the summit of Sagarmāthā, setting a new record in the process: to the best of our knowledge Marv is the first ever marmot to make it to Everest's summit. Plus, this was just his first ascent of the season. The following day Pemchhiri Sherpa summited again (his 11th successful Evereset summit) with a group of Ghurkas he was guiding. Sir, we salute you.
Perhaps even more importantly, Marmot Marv's successful summit makes him the first ever member of Team Trail to climb the world's highest peak. Not only that, but he did so without supplementary oxygen (or, indeed, oxygen of any kind) putting him in a group of elite mountaineers that includes Reinhold Messner, Ang Rita and Stephen Venables.
Marmot Marv's Everest slideshow
The Everest Anywhere challenge
Marv's ascent of Everest was part of Trail magazine's Everest Anywhere challenge, where participants are challenged to climb the height of Everest in 2017. But you don't have to do it all in one go like Marv. Instead, add up your ascent throughout the year with the aim of hitting that magic 8,848m mark. Spending a weekend in Wales? Clock up some ascent. Hill walking in the Lake District? Clock up some ascent. Walking the dog over particularly undulating ascent? Heck, it all counts - clock up some ascent.
For more information and to sign up to the Everest Anywhere challenge visit www.livefortheoutdoors.com/everestanywhere where you'll also be able to view photos, take part in competitions, and follow Marmot Marv's latest adventures. Plus, there's an exciting new competition/challenge/dose of outdoor fun and games on the near horizon. We don't want to give too much away yet, but we're calling it The Great British Marmot Hunt. SIgn up and you'll be among the first to know more...