Saturday, 12 October 2013

Game Over

Picture the scene; we are ascending strongly from camp 3 (6900m). It is a steep slope about 400metres in height. The wind is blowing from left the right and is strong enough to blow you off your feet. We are carrying all of our equipment to survive a few hours in camp 4 before setting out for the summit. The oxygen system was working well and really made a difference.

We got to within about 250 metres from Camp 4 to find the fixed ropes set in ice! There was no going on in such high winds without the fixed ropes so the only sensible decision was to turn around.

The route to camp 4

The views were breathtaking, literally on top of the world.  I felt stronger than ever before on such adventures. My physical preparation((some 7 months) was paying off and that makes the outcome a little harder to take.

To have given so much physically (I for one was at my peak), get so close and not summit may seem cruel but any mountaineer will acknowledge that this is the way it goes in the great outdoors.

Accept fate; it just wasn't meant to be. That we tried at all in such testing conditions is testimony to each and everyone of us. We should be humble enough to allow ourselves that much.

Finally, a tribute to my family for their resolve and ability to just get on with life in my absence. I love you all and long to hold you in my arms.

On route to camp 4

Camp 3

Back down at base camp (with my house on my back)

It has been a great journey from start to finish and I return to the UK a stronger person as a result.
Slanthe! :-)

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Fixed ropes failure just before reaching Camp 4

This is a very short update as I have very limited internet access.

Unfortunately we didn't make the summit.  We were just 250 metres away from reaching Camp 4 when the fixed ropes failed which forced us to retreat down the mountain. The whole team is disappointed as you can expect.

More detail will follow in tomorrows blog, hopefully I will have better access then.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Message to Children, Teachers and Staff of Holy Trinity Junior School in Ripon

Hello everyone,

I hope that this message finds you well. We have been resting in the village of Samagoen (it takes 2 hours to walk down from base camp and 4 hours to walk ack up) for the last few days and I was invited to visit the local school by the Principal Phurbu Lama.

I thought that you might like to see the pictures of my visit. It was very inspiring to see some great education taking place in such a remote location. The children learn in Nepalise, Tibetian and English! 

Perhaps we can form a link with them Mr Bowlas?

The Children and Staff (above) Phurbu Lama (The Principal) and me (below)

Turning the focus back to the mountain, we will start our bid for the summit today. We are hoping to reach the summit on Tuesday 8th October.

That's it for now. Keep working hard everyone. I look forward to seeing you upon my return.

Kind Regards,


Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Back in Samagoen

We have left base camp to spend a couple of days in Samagoen (2 hours down and 4 hours back up to base camp) as the weather has not improved.

A comfortable and clean hostel is our home for a couple of nights and wifi is available when the electricity comes on at 5pm daily.

Our plans at the moment include heading back to base camp on Thursday and then into each camp consecutively over the following days until a summit attempt on 8th Oct.

Very frustrating but we feel rested and reading for a crack at the summit! 

Sunday, 29 September 2013

All change..again!

We are not heading up the mountain today as planned. The weather has, again, played a significant part in our plans. We have had some snow for the last few days at all levels on the mountain and the cumulative effect of this may mean that the slopes high on the mountain are loaded. This could mean that they may avalanche if crossed.

Several teams have departed today in spite of the conditions, which don’t look too bad at Base Camp, for summit attempts on both the 2nd and 3rd October.

Our most recent weather forecast suggests that the 4th October is a better day to summit and after lengthy discussions amongst ourselves and with our Sherpa colleagues we have decided to depart for Camp 1 tomorrow.

We will then stay at each camp in turn before reaching Camp 4 on Thursday from where we will mount our summit attempt on Friday.

Whilst the sitting around is normal for Himalayan mountaineering it is quite frustrating and I, for one, am looking forward to getting underway tomorrow.

The teams that have set off today will clear the path and also alert us to any problems on the mountain which is an advantage.

All white in Base Camp – 28 Sep 13

Discussions with the Sherpa Team

Purba making pork curry for supper which was very nice

Our friends from both HIMEX and Altitude Junkies have now departed and there camps are in the process of being stripped and portered down the hill to Samagoen.  ‘Bon Voyage everyone’.

Interestingly another team has arrived to take their place in base camp which suggests that this mountain is still open for business.

That’s it for the next few days. I look forward to sending an update upon our return from high on the mountain. ;-)

Friday, 27 September 2013

Ready to go - roll on Sunday

We have been in Base Camp for the last few days and our plan is to start out for the summit on Sunday 29th Sep. All being well we will summit on Thursday 3rd Oct.

Our friends from both Himex and Altitude Junkies were successful and are already packing up and heading back to Kathmandu. We enjoyed celebrating with them last night.

The weather forecasts have been inconsistent recently and this has proved to be quite frustrating, however, we are keen to get started on Sunday and have been repacking our equipment to make sure that we have everything we need.

We will be sharing the mountain with a Japanese team who are filming their journey for a children’s programme and a few other teams.

Mt Manaslu from Base Camp captured this evening

Mummy’s little soldier (he knows who he is) is in fine fettle as are the rest of us.  Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Team acclimatised following climb to Camp 3

We are now back in base camp having successfully completed our planned acclimatisation rotation. Everyone is well if a little tired.
Our two nights in camp 2 and walk to camp 3, to drop off high altitude clothing and equipment, will serve us well when the time comes for us to go for the summit. We will now rest in base camp for three or four days and watch the weather which is forecast to bring snow!

We're probably burning round 4000 Kcals per day on the mountain and temperatures (degrees celsius ) are approximately as follows, Camp 3: - 10, Camp 4: -13 and Summit: -21

If we get a lot of snow then we will need to assess the stability of the snow pack, as we go higher, regarding avalanches. If the snow pack is unstable it could be a long wait, however, we have time.
Our friends in the HIMEX and Altitude Junkies are summiting today and all is going well for them at the moment.

Some pictures from our latest trip.

Climbers on the route from Camp 2 to Camp 3. The summit looking ever closer.

Camp 3

Climbers on the route from Camp 3 to Camp 4

Jon, Brad and Chris on the way to Camp 2 (6700 metres)