TWO local men are about to embark on a journey as ambitious as their final goal.
Anakie resident Stephen Carew and his nephew Adam Carew will leave Emerald on Friday destined for Kathmandu, where they will pick up their 15kg packs and climb the 5364m to the Mount Everest base camp.
Together with a Brisbane-based friend, the Carews will reach the camp, plant a flag bearing the Mastermyne logo, smile for a photo and hope their achievement will help them reach a $25,000 fundraising target for the Mackay Base Hospital.
"Failure is no option," Stephen, 43, said, which is the motto the trio will repeat as they battle freezing minus 14 degree temperatures and a wind chill factor of more than 25kmh.
"We haven't done this before and we're doing it with the sole passion of a good mate," Stephen said.
The idea was borne over a few beers the trio shared in February, after a workmate lost a baby due to delivery problems.
"Back in February, one of our colleagues was expecting a baby, but the baby didn't survive the delivery," Stephen said.
"The equipment involved in the delivery process wasn't state of the art... and we got to thinking about what we could do to raise money."
Tickets booked, the three men have been preparing for the trek by regularly climbing Mt Ball between Clermont and the Gemfields.
"We've got full medivac insurance if we need it, employed a local guide to take us through the trek and basically done everything we can to prepare," Stephen said.
"From there, it is really uncharted waters."
Despite the real risk of death on the mountain, Stephen said it was the flight to Lukla Airport, a 420m airstrip carved into the side of a cliff, that scared him the most.
"It's consistently rated in the top three most dangerous airports in the world," he said. "It's just the landing at this airport - that's the only thing I'm packing myself about."
Reports show 54 people have been killed since May 2004, on flights either landing or taking off from the airport in eastern Nepal.
The trio's trek, sponsored by Mastermyne, will take about 17 days, with the group due to return on December 15. To donate, visit everydayhero.com.au/Mastermyne_Mt_Everest.