Garbutt + Elliott is the name, “climbing” Everest is the game.

It all started with naming a meeting room Hinkes, after the great Yorkshire climber Alan Hinkes. Alan was the first (and remains the only), British mountaineer to claim all 14 Himalyan eight thousanders (mountains above 8,000m in height).

Inspired by the Himalayan themed Hinkes room, Nigel Shaw (famously a “non competitive” type) started to dream up his own plans for climbing Mount Everest.

Several weeks later, Nigel was sat day dreaming in our board room as everyone discussed the strategy for 2019, when suddenly he stirred into life with his Eureka moment. “Why don’t we celebrate our new office move by challenging ourselves to climb the stairs a number of times equivalent to Mount Everest?” Not stopping there, he added,  “Let’s do it for charity”.

Silence swept across the room, and colour drained from horrified looking faces. Oh no, we thought, not again. This sounds like the Mount Kilimanjaro partner challenge Nigel had suggested, except this time we don’t have any excuses!

Nigel, alongside his sidekicks Tom Hartley and Jack Turnbull were left to plan the event. As we finished for Christmas without a murmur of teams being picked, we breathed a sigh of relief. Alas, the relief was short lived, as like the Grinch reincarnated, Tom sent out the team list late on Christmas eve. Blaming the delay on a meticulous selection process to ensure no one had a competitive advantage.

Game on.

I looked at my team, a mix of audit, accounts, tax and my Boss! How on earth do I motivate them all? Perhaps I lead from the front, set targets, encourage, follow them up. Weighing on my mind heavily all Christmas, I made up my mind.

Day one arrived with fighting talk commencing, as (The Vat Man) Alex charged up and down the stairs like a man possessed.  My cunning plan was to get the lift down each time for some respite and prevent tendinitis in my knee flaring up, as I didn’t want to miss my up coming skiing trip. However, Nigel was loitering around the stairway watching in horror as he saw his own winning ambitions diminish. As we came back into the office Alex’s face had changed to a funny red colour and he was gasping for any air he get hold of. He was quickly handed a glass of water even though he looked like he could do with a stiff drink.  I pretended it was a breeze, my calves ached, my lungs empty.

Later on that day Alex, ticking the Accountants stereotype box, sent me a spreadsheet to keep a log of our ascending efforts. Climbs were being recorded by placing a jelly bean in a jar, however he was concerned that our purple jelly beans looked too tempting and would be eaten by other competitor’s. In true corporate finance fashion, I added a myriad of formula’s showing averages and forecasts. Now no one had an excuse.

Then a bombshell dropped. After looking at Mount Everest at every angle imaginable using Google Earth, Nigel arrived at the conclusion that Everest did not have any elevators, therefore using them to descend the stairs was banned. My protests and sympathy for tendinitis issues did nothing to persuade Nigel otherwise. However, not to let anything slow my team down, we battled on.

In the second week, as my team threaten to run away with the challenge, Nigel changed the rules yet again, limiting 10 stair climbs per person per day. However, we can practically smell victory and will not let the latest setback knock us down. All the other teams have come alive as we head to the halfway mark.

Nigel and Isca can be seen at lunch times wearing down the carpet alongside other colleagues flying up and down. However, they all regret not having the ultimate accountant’s tool, the spreadsheet, to analyse their performance.

The competition is fierce and finely balanced, and the generous donations have been a brilliant motivator as we try and raise as much money as possible for our two charities, Our Angels and the Wooden Spoon.

All this effort is for a great cause, so please support our charities generously.  uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/GarbuttandElliott1