Glenn Verrall was struck down with bacterial food poisoning while hiking in Nepal on a recent trip.
Glenn Verrall was struck down with bacterial food poisoning while hiking in Nepal on a recent trip. Rob Williams

Food poisoning in Himalayas

MOST people would shudder at the thought of an acute bout of food poisoning.

But imagine if it happened while almost at the top of a 6500m mountain in Nepal – and the only way to get help was to stagger for three days in sub-zero temperatures down the mountain.

That is what happened to Glenn Verrall, a Karalee father of three, but the trooper said he would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

The 54-year-old health and safety inspector was halfway through a two-week trek to Mera Peak in the Hinku Valley, Nepal, when he started to “feel a little bit dodgy”.

“I had just celebrated my birthday and I knew something was really wrong,” Mr Verrall said.

“I needed to get back down the mountain, and fast.

“I was delirious with vomiting and diarrhoea severely dehydrated and could barely function.

“It was minus 10 and really harsh and windy but we needed get below the cloud cover so a chopper could reach us.

“I turned back mid-morning and had to walk for two-and-a-half days back down the mountain.

“I was so sick all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and stay that way, but I had to keep going.”

Mr Verrall eventually reached a safe level and was airlifted to hospital in the capital, Kathmandu, by a mountain rescue helicopter.

He was diagnosed with bacterial food poisoning, suspected from drinking water that hadn’t been boiled properly.

Although his trip was cut short, and he is still a bit worse for wear, Mr Verrall said it was all part of the experience.

He is already planning a trip to Africa next year.

“I’ve trekked in Canada, New Zealand and Tassie, and have done the Kokoda trail,” he said.

“My next goal is Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the highest mountain in Africa.

“Mera Peak was a particularly rugged trek; other hikers said they found it tougher than Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa.

“We were covering 3000m in up and down ridges each day before lunch, but that’s what I love about it.

“It’s all part of the adventure.”

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