The only Manxman to conquer Everest hopes to succeed in his quest to complete the ‘seven summits’ challenge this winter.
Phil Drowley proudly flew the Manx flag from the top of the world’s highest mountain, at 28,320 feet (8,850 metres), in May 2008.
His climb was part of a challenge he’s set himself to become the first person from the island to climb every continent’s highest mountain ranges’ highest peak.
In November, the 46-year-old – an acting chief inspector with the police – sets off for an attempt on Carstenz Pyramid in Papua New Guinea, at 15,629 feet (4,884 metres) the tallest peak in Australasia.
As with other climbs, he’ll be raising money for the Ronald McDonald House Isle of Man Families and Friends.
Phil gained his appetite for mountaineering when, in 2000, he climbed Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain on the African continent, with four police colleagues. Together, they raised £14,500 for the charity.
He has steadily ticked off the continents’ highest points since then.
As well as Everest and Kilimanjaro, he has climbed Vinson Massif in Antarctica (15,670 feet/4897 metres); Aconcagua in South America (22,267 feet/6,959 metres); Denali in North America (19,821 feet/6,194 metres) and Europe’s highest mountain Elbrus in Russia (18,054 feet/5,642 metres).
He said Carstenz Pyramid, or Puncak Jaya, to give it its proper title, was ‘the most exotic mountaineering location on earth’.
He said: ‘The peak is located in the Sudirman range of the Maoke mountains in western Papua. It’s a large limestone escarpment jutting out above the tropical rainforest on the island of New Guinea and is one of the most remote of the seven summits.
‘It is the highest point between the Himalayas and the Andes and the highest island peak in the world.’
Ahead of his 21-day expedition, Phil is training hard at his gym, the Nautilus, and can be seen most evenings on the slopes of Snaefell with a rucksack full of filled water bottles to train for the weight he will have to carry. He is also getting in some practice at the Hot Rocks climbing centre, Braddan.
‘This will be the final leg in a journey that has seen me travel all over the world meeting some great people, some of whom will be lifelong friends as a result of the experiences we have shared,’ Phil said.
If Phil succeeds in his latest challenge, he’ll join an elite group of just 230 climbers who have ascended all seven continents’ highest mountains.
‘I was so proud to become the first person from the Isle of Man to climb Everest, but to become the first to complete the seven summits was always my dream and I hope I achieve it,’ he said.
Ronald McDonald House Isle of Man Families and Friends was founded by Port St Mary family Andy and Alison Kelly in memory of their daughter, Freya, who died of a congenital heart condition aged just under two.
The family stayed at Ronald McDonald House while Freya was a patient at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. Since then the charity, which Andy chairs, has raised almost £350,000 for Ronald McDonald Houses all over the UK.
The houses provide a home from home for families of children being treated at hospitals, alleviating the extra hassle of finding and paying for accommodation at an already stressful time.
The Isle of Man Families and Friends’ most recent donation was £15,000 to the Ronald McDonald House that adjoins the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. The sum sponsored a kitchen where families eat, socialise and store belongings.
Phil has already been handed £20 – by a visitor to the Isle of Man Constabulary’s 150th anniversary exhibition at Castle Rushen.
He hopes to raise several thousand pounds.
Phil, who is married to Lorraine and is a father and grandfather, said: ‘The Manx public are always so generous when it is a worthwhile cause.
‘I have raised money for lots of local charities over the years but it seemed very fitting, as I started my journey raising money for the Ronald McDonald House Isle of Man Families and Friends, that I should complete it by doing so again.’
To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/PhilDrowley or leave a donation at any police station, marked for ‘acting Chief Inspector Drowley’.