27.9878° N, 86.9250° E
The following is taken from blog posts, text messages and emails sent from the mountain:
Ok, think of a number between one and a hundred?
Now think about how you feel on Christmas Eve.
Now remember that feeling when you wake up and you are going on holiday.
Now imagine the sensation that you have when the calendar is showing the day before your birthday?
Ok, now add all those feelings together, and multiply by the number you first thought of.
That is how I am feeling today!
Landed in Kathmandu, just had a meeting with Russell and the teams about the plan, and introducing everyone. Discovery Channel fans may remember Tim Medvetz who is on our team this year, and finally I fell up the stairs wearing flip flops, fortunately only one witness, and I'm quite glad we wear boots on the hill!
Our team are awesome, lots of laughs already, and a really good atmosphere. Anne the Dutch Doctor is properly mad, and Tim has bought his own Starbucks coffee, which he is sharing with me. Tim is filming a project with Charlie an injured soldier who lost his leg, and they are climbing for their Heroes Project, like our Walking With The Wounded guys, a very cool project. We just climbed from Monjo to Namche Bazaar, and as we finished one stage of the climb a clearing appeared between some trees, and there in front of me stood Mount Everest, my first live sighting, which was extremely powerful, and polarised my focus. We are now having a rest, and then tomorrow head to Khumjung where we are going to see Phurba Tashi the most successful Sherpa ever from our team, and stay at his Lodge. Life is good, Blue Skies
No wifi for a couple of days, but now in the Kumjhung Bakery where you can have apple pie and wifi, which are both yummy. We are staying here for another day acclimatising which is cool. Had a close escape today when we went for an acclimatisation hike up an extremely steep hill, which took about 90 minutes up, and halfway up our guide accidentally dislodged a rock, the size of a brick, which proceeded to fall at great speed down the hill, unfortunately targeting me. Woody our guide shouted out 'rocks falling', which made us all look up, just in time for me to see the rock heading towards me. At the last moment as it sped my way I lifted my right leg, just in time to see it continue down the hill where it crashed into a huge rock, making a sound that reverberated all around the hill. The next five minutes I climbed a little slower, thinking about the consequences had I not reacted how I did when I did, but then rationalised my worries by concluding that I must live in the now, and not worry about what could have been, or in fact what could be, especially with the weeks ahead! The views here are amazing, and it's such a lovely place, if anyone ever gets a chance to trek to Base Camp do it, you will love it. Blue Skies.
We have wifi in Pheriche, so here's a quick update. We've now reached 4200m, which is higher than a lot of mountains in the Alps, and I seem to be handling the altitude ok so far. We have a great team, and everybody seems really strong, and also lots of banter, which is making things a lot of fun. The trekking in has been amazing and the views are jaw dropping, I keep stopping and just staring. We've got another four days before we get to Base Camp, and things then start to get really tough. I'm feeling strong, and am enjoying every moment of this great adventure, and really can't wait to get to see this beautiful mountain again, she has hidden since we saw her the other day. I am 8 days into this 73 day trip, and it is moving pretty quickly, although I am missing everyone back home, but I'm trying to stay focused on what lies ahead, it is probably going to be the toughest thing I've ever done, but really can't wait to see if I can do it, the endorphins increase every day closer we get. That's all for now as coconut biscuits have just arrived, Blue Skies.
Got some wifi at last, so here's a quick update, tomorrow 15th, we leave to climb a local peak called Lobuche, which is 6400m and will allow us to acclimatise safer than going over the Khumbu Icefall too many times as it is one of the most dangerous parts of the climb. We climb and sleep for about a week, and then back to BC to recover. I have been acclimatising ok apart from the one terrible night where I lost my appetite, started hallucinating, and had a stonking headache, oh the joys of altitude, I'm much better now, but it was the worst I've ever had, so hopefully I'm in the groove now. I think this is day 18 of being away from home, which is very tough, but I knew what I signed up for, so I just need to keep on being strong. We had our Puja religious ceremony yesterday, which was great being blessed, and a super colourful ritual. So tomorrow crampons and climbing gear on, and the next step on this great journey begins. Love to everyone at home, I miss you all, onwards and upwards, Blue Skies, x
We have trekked into Leboche, where we spent our first night in tents, which brought back lots of memories of Manaslu, as the camp setup is very similar, and I didn't realise how happy that trip had made me, I hope this one has the same successful conclusion. The trek in was a hard vertical climb, and I pushed myself to see how my fitness levels were, and I entered camp happy and with no signs of altitude. On our way in we passed some memorials to fallen climbers, and as I ventured up to them there was a very peaceful aura about the place, but not a scary one. We have had a rest day today, and I have done just that, reading, napping, eating, and repeat, I totally do what I'm told! We have had lots of time to get to know each other over meals, and we have a super cool team, including my roomy the ex fighter pilot, a film crew with great credentials, a single leg amputee, as well as a number of others with really interesting stories, which are helping make the trip very interesting. I feel very on track for the climb, and can't wait to get to Base Camp, where we start training, honing our skills walking over ladders across crevasses, using our ascenders and descenders etc. I am eating and drinking as much as possible to avoid any altitude problems, and I think my Twirls are helping significantly, which reminds me, I need one! Blue Skies.
We've climbed half way up Leboche, and now camped on mountain, yay! Sleep here tonight, leave 4am for the summit, touch it then all the way down for lunch. Hard work, some rock and ice scrambling today, but all good. Just about to start boiling water for noodles and chicken jalfrezi boil in a bag, yum yum! Blue skies
Today is Thursday 17th. I'm feeling fine, altitude sickness was horrible, but all fine now, don't worry. We just got back from an acclimatisation walk which was epic, up at 4, summited then back to Lobuche Base Camp, great training but absolutely knackered now, good thing is we're all feeling the same, and we all respect each other.
19th April 2014:
Just an update to let you all know that we are aware of the avalanche on everest. Please do not worry we will let you know as soon as we here from dad. We believe he is on the acclimatisation mountain at the moment so hopefully no where near the affected area. Blue skies xx
Hi baby, just to let you know I'm 100% fine, but there's been an accident in the icefall today, all Himex staff and members are ok, but I didn't want you seeing the press and worrying. I love you millions and will call you later, xxx
Update 22nd : We left the summit of Lobuche yesterday after two days acclimatising, arm wrapping down the fixed lines, and navigating our way over the very precarious rock and ice. Then, taking our crampons and high altitude boots off, we walked all the way back to Everest Base Camp, which would have taken about seven hours, only I got totally lost coming into BC, and eventually got into our mess tent as the last plate of Spag Bol was consumed. Fortunately we have the most amazing chef ever, Bob! This man is a magician with food at over 5000m. Bob served me piping hot pasta, which I really needed to refuel, which was great. Today we have had freshly made fishcakes for lunch with a tomato jous, and thinly sliced potatoes, and tonight I've been told we are having Steak Diane, we all love Bob!
On a more sombre note, this morning all of our Himex team went to a memorial for the 16 fallen Sherpa, which was very sad and moving, and had hundreds of people from BC there, showing their respects. This expedition has been tougher both physically and mentally for me so far, but I am staying calm, resting up now, and waiting for our next instructions. Thanks as always for everyone's support, and hopefully I should have wifi for the rest of the time at BC, so for now I'll be seeing ya, Blue Skies.
Update 25th: It is with regret that I have to announce my dream to climb Everest is over. The mountain is NOT closed to climbers, but due to physical threats made to my team, it's Sherpas, and their families, our team leader Russell has made the decision to cancel the expedition. I will not go into any more detail for fear for my teams safety. Thank you to everybody for your massive support, I am just sorry that this journey had to end this way, I know we could have summited
Apologies for no posts since we found out we weren't climbing, but we've been trekking from Base Camp and getting back to Kathmandu, and my noggin has been full of all kinds of thoughts and emotions. Thanks to everyone for your kind comments , and as I've said all the way along this adventure, you've been with me all the way, so thank you. Also that means you never climbed it either, rubbish feeling ain't it! . I will update more when I return to the UK.
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