Taking fine dining to new heights, in the spring of 2018 I ate a meal at 23,149 feet on the North Col of Mount Everest.
Joining eight companions, we feasted on a mouth-watering meal prepared by two-Michelin-star super chef Sat Bains while dressed in black tie and ball gowns.
The Guinness Book of World Records has now officially recognised the charity stunt as the world’s highest dinner party.
MailOnline Travel’s Sadie Whitelocks went on an expedition with former special forces officer Neil Laughton in a bid to smash the world record for the highest dinner party. Above, the team successfully dining at 23,149 feet on Mount Everest. Sadie is seated on the right, nearest the camera
One of the mountain Sherpas stood in as the chef. The food was prepared by two-Michelin star chef Sat Bains at his restaurant in Nottingham before being freeze-dried and flown to Tibet
The dessert created by Sat Bains for the world’s highest dinner featured caramel wrapped in chocolate
Super chef Sat Bains, who has two Michelin stars
It was only possible with a team of local guides who helped carry our rather unusual stash of goods.
For our dinner to be an official record, there had to be a clothed dining table, dining chairs and crockery.
Our expedition leader, former special forces officer Neil Laughton, spruced things up a little with the addition of candlesticks and a bunch of yellow plastic lilies.
On the food front, Sat Bains had concocted a freeze-dried meal, which only required the addition of hot water to prepare.
The menu featured a miso soup starter, a lamb tagine for mains and a chocolate dessert laced with caramel to finish.
The world’s highest dinner party took place at 6am for meteorological reasons. Above from left to right, Sherpa Nima, expedition team member Jane Chynoweth, Sadie Whitelocks and team leader Neil Laughton
For the dinner to be official, there had to be a clothed dining table, dining chairs and crockery. The expedition leader, former special forces officer Neil Laughton, spruced things up a little with the addition of candlesticks and some yellow plastic lilies
The dinner party team sipped on a special cocktail created by Mr Fogg’s bar in London, which contained Metaxa
Sadie writes: ‘The summit of Mount Everest, looming 5,880ft above, was hidden from view and there was not a pinch of blue sky to be seen’
You are advised not to drink alcohol at high altitude but we thought a little nip of something would do no harm.
There was Mumm Champagne, Taylor’s Port and a Metaxa-based cocktail rustled up by London cocktail bar Mr Fogg’s to tickle our fancy.
Putting the Champagne on ice certainly wasn’t a problem. The day we dined, the temperature hovered around minus 25 degrees Celsius.
The visibility was pretty dreadful and a thick mist shrouded our outdoor dining table.
The summit of Mount Everest, looming 5,880ft above, was hidden from view and there was not a pinch of blue sky to be seen.
We had hiked up to the North Col and camped there the night before, and in a bid to make it back down in time, we kicked off our dinner party at 6am on April 30.
A view of Mount Everest from advanced base camp where the team stayed before climbing to the North Col
The weather around Mount Everest can change wildly throughout the day, with sunshine giving way to furious blizzards
To get to the world’s highest dinner party, Sadie and the team had to scale a 1km-high ice wall
It took the dinner party team most of the day to navigate the frigid route by fixed rope and they had to be careful of gaping crevasses as they went
Sitting there with our teeth chattering as the piercing winds whipped around, we swiftly tucked into the fine fodder.
After a couple of weeks of living on expedition food, which included copious volumes of Pringles and Haribo sweets, Sat Bains’ food tasted extra divine. Some went in for thirds.
The tipples also helped warm us up a little, although the Champagne started to freeze within seconds.
‘Ch-ch-cheers!’ we all chattered, toasting our mountain meal and a fellow expedition member who didn’t make it due to altitude sickness.
Dining on Everest was truly a meal to remember.
The world’s highest dinner party expedition raised funds for mountaineering charity Community Action Nepal. To donate further to the cause visit www.justgiving.com.
Mountaineers seen coming down from the North Col of Mount Everest, using fixed rope to help with their descent
To get to advanced base camp from the Tibetan side of Mount Everest, trekkers must navigate this icy corridor known as the ‘magic highway’
Sadie said the food by Sat Bains was a real treat, especially after weeks of living on expedition food, which included ‘copious volumes of Pringles and Haribo sweets’
A yak outside the tents at advanced base camp on Mount Everest
The expedition team had a dress rehearsal dinner at Everest base camp where the weather was much sunnier
The world’s highest dinner party expedition raised funds for mountaineering charity Community Action Nepal
Wear a hat with ear flaps to bed, shower with a saucepan and keep a hip flask handy! A girl’s guide to surviving some of the most extreme camping conditions in the world
Here are some of the key essentials Sadie packed to get her through the extreme mountain weather at over 20,000ft.
When sleeping in temperatures below -20 degrees Celsius, one of things that helped stop my head from freezing was a sheepskin-lined hat from Seattle outfitter Filson, which handily has ear flaps and a string you can tie under your chin to prevent it from falling off in the middle of the night.
Another handy gadget was my Petzl headtorch, which helped me to navigate the interior of the tent and try and sort some of the chaos by nightfall.
Sadie, pictured with her camping companion Jane Chynoweth, said a hat with ear flaps helped to stop her head from freezing in the frigid Everest weather
Sadie said a head torch helped her to navigate the interior of her tent and organise some of the chaos by nightfall
But my ultimate camping companion was my Rab expedition sleeping bag, which I borrowed from an adventurous friend.
The down-filled bag is designed for extreme mountain conditions and temperatures below -30 degrees Celsius. It costs over £800 – but I could see why.
To keep extra toasty in the sleeping bag, I slept fully-dressed and I would also cuddle a bottle filled with hot water. This would generally stay heated until the morning and made a real difference to my quality of sleep.
When things hit a real low, I dipped into my hip flask, which was filled with a delicious whisky. Despite the doctor’s advice not to drink at altitude, the punchy concoction definitely helped warm the cockles!
Out in the elements, top pieces of kit included a pair of ‘hydrotech gloves‘ from outfitter Musto – which prevented my fingers from falling off in the cold – and the Levity 60 backpack from Osprey, which was light to carry and had lots of pockets to store various knickknacks.
When it got really cold, Sadie said she sipped some whisky from her hip flask before going to sleep (left) while a pocket mirror was handy to check on her windburned face (right)
Sadie said going to the toilet in the middle of the night was pretty treacherous – the loo was often housed in a ramshackle tent on the edge of a hill (pictured above) – so she generally resorted to peeing outside the tent by moonlight
The tents often froze over in the night, with the exteriors coated in a layer of frost
When it came to toilet antics, a stock of wet wipes from Boots were a life-saver, as was a squeeze tube of hand sanitizer.
Going to the toilet in the middle of the night was pretty treacherous – the loo was often housed in a ramshackle tent on the edge of a hill – so I generally resorted to peeing outside the tent by moonlight.
While we couldn’t have showers at altitude, I turned to nagging the chefs for a saucepan of warm water. Dunking my head into the silver bowl, I managed to resurrect my steadily-dreadlocking hair a little!
My small pocket mirror helped me to keep check on my peeling, windburned face, while my pocket tweezers were used for a further spot of mountain preening.
Luckily the knife my father sent me before venturing off to chop my arm off should I have fallen into a crevasse and trapped it didn’t come into play. Only to dissect an apple.