On Belay With ... Tom Yeoman

Posted by Jeremy Windsor on Sep 10, 2018

Welcome to "On Belay With..."! This is a series of short interviews with all sorts of folks involved in mountain medicine. If you'd like to take part please get in touch! 

Dr Tom Yeoman is a Clinical Fellow in Anaesthetics, Critical Care and Mountain Medicine at Chesterfield Royal Hospital.  As part of the post, Tom will start the Diploma in Mountain Medicine (DiMM) in December. 

What was the last mountain you climbed?

I managed to get away for an early morning fell run up the beautiful Cadair Idris in southern Snowdonia last month, during a family trip to Wales. I even managed a spot of au naturalle wild swimming in Llyn y Gadair on the way down, thinking I had the place to myself. I'd just got my kit back on when I was joined by four girls on a DofE hike! 

What does the perfect mountain day consist of?

Climbing a challenging route up a long - desired mountain, with good friends, in fair weather. Just below the summit there would be the perfect take off to paraglide back to the valley. We land by a local bar where happy hour just started and its free Raclette all night. Failing that I'd settle for didn't get lost, remembered my sandwiches...

What's been your worst mountain mishap?

If you ignore the various times I've crashlanded unceremoniously on various hillsides while flying, I'm happy to say I've never had any major mishaps. I've been close to hypothermia while fell running with substandard waterfproofs - a 'Decathlon' special! (Other budget, mass-produced skinflint-bargain brands are available). 

I had a headache on summit day on Kili a few years ago and decided to dip into my analgesic supply. In my slightly hypoxic state I managed to find the paracetamol, but failed to appreciate the importance of the 30mg of codeine the tablets came attached to. This made the experience a little more surreal than it needed to be, but worked wonders for the pain.

What's been your best mountain day?

I have fond memories of climbing Mt Pelvoux in the Ecrins, with my dad and brother. I was 20 and it was my first time in the Alps. I couldn't get over the sheer beauty of the spires of rock and ice that towered all around us. It was a pretty easy route up but a great little family adventure. 

Mt Pelvoux

What mountain changed your life?

I would say Kilimanjaro. I was medic for a hike in 2014, and it opened my eyes to the world of expedition medicine. It was just so far removed from the usual NHS grind, and massively rewarding to help get people to the summit. I haven't felt the same since, and have been looking to find a way to combine my career with more mountain adventures. I feel so lucky to have secured this anaesthetic and mountain medicine role, and to be starting the DiMM.

The summit of Kilimanjaro.

What's been your best bit of mountain kit?

I was shocked to see a Wild Country forged friend as a "vintage cam" on their latest T shirt! I have a size 3 on my rack which I use all the time! Perhaps it's time to upgrade...

What makes a great climbing partner? Has anyone come close?

Trust, understanding, the ability to rip the p#$% out of each other. I am lucky to still be climbing with a schoolmate despite us both having young families. It's rarer than it used to be, but his company on the crag is yet to be bettered. 

What's been your biggest mountain disappointment?
See the answer to the next question...

What is your "dream" mountain objective?

One day I would like to climb Stanley peak in the Rwenzori mountains. My grandfather, Guy Yeoman was one of the founding members of the National Park and one of the huts is named after him. My biggest mountain disappointment was during my medical elective in Uganda when I had naively and somewhat arrogantly arrived at the gates of the park unannounced, asking to visit my grandfather's hut. When I was unable to stump up the fairly hefty park admission fee I was denied access. I spent the night drowning my sorrows in Nile beer, and vowed to come back in the future with more planning, funds and humility! 

The Guy Yeoman Hut in the Rwenzori Mountains

Give us a mountain "tip"!

My grandfather always told me: if you want to scare a bear away, you should turn around,bend down and look back at it upside down, through your open legs. Sound advice...

What do Karen GreeneStuart AllanEdi AlbertAbigail ForsythJon MorganTom Yeomanand David Hildebrandt all have in common? The answer? Yes, they've all taken part in "On Belay With..."! If you would like to join them please get in touch!

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