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Last Updated: Monday, 10 May, 2004, 12:15 GMT 13:15 UK
Dining climbers reach new heights
The novice climbers sit down to dinner
The novice climbers sat down to dinner in top hats and white ties
A group of friends have completed their bid for a new world record for the highest altitude formal dinner.

The six Britons, most of whom grew up together in Forest Row, East Sussex, and one Australian had a five-course meal 22,000ft up a mountain in Tibet.

The team wore white ties and top hats and carried up tables, chairs, silver cutlery, floral centrepieces, a candelabra and their food and wine.

The meal on 3 May was to raise money for the British Lung Foundation.

It's all wonderfully surreal now, but I can still remember a lot of the pain.
Henry Shelford
The team is awaiting official confirmation from the Guinness Book of Records after climbing Lhakpa Ri mountain.

Although they actually climbed 23,113ft (7,045m), hurricane-strength winds forced them to descend to a more sheltered point at 22,326ft (6,805m) to hold the formal dinner, team leader Henry Shelford said.

The group of novice climbers began their attempt on 10 April - they were joined by three other friends who were later forced to abandon their attempt because of altitude sickness.

The idea came about after Mr Shelford, 30, recovered from a lung tissue disease, and decided he wanted to help others worse off than himself.

The group dressed up for the occasion
More than 25,000 has been raised for the British Lung Foundation
He said the team's success was due to their "arduous training programme of six-course meals in high restaurants without lifts".

"It's all wonderfully surreal now, but I can still remember a lot of the pain.

"It was incredibly difficult. Every effort leaves you panting, struggling for every breath.

"Then you start tucking in to the food and think: 'This is actually very nice'," he explained.

The meal included a starter of caviar and biscuits, followed by duck, couscous and a medley of vegetables.

A third course consisted of a chocolate pudding followed by a cheese board, with a birthday cake to finish.

It was all washed down by a white wine.

The group included Rob Sully, from Tunbridge Wells, who said: "We came, we climbed, we dined."

So far more than 25,000 has been raised for the British Lung Foundation to research into the lung disease Sarcoidosis.

Group set for Everest dinner date
10 Apr 04  |  England

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