Climb Everest in 2016 / 17 / 18 etc with 4 times summiteer Tim Mosedale

Everest Expedition via South Col 2016 / 2017 / 18 / 19 etc

Monday, 14 December 2015

'Supported' - a film by Matt Sharman.

Here's a brilliant film by Matt Sharman about the mega triathlon that I did back in July.

A huge thanks to Matt and the guys at Coldhouse for giving their time and expertise to produce this amazing movie.

Please take some time out to enjoy ... and then spread the word.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Time lapse compilation from Ama Dablam

I've just put together a compilation of time lapses that I captured on the latest Ama Dablam expedition.

I hope that you enjoy the spectacular scenery of moonlit mountains, starry starry nights, a full moon rising behind Ama and clouds scudding by ...


 

Friday, 6 November 2015

The 'Tim Mosedale Tri'

Back in July I undertook a bit of a challenge to raise some funds for some families in Nepal.  When the earthquake struck and caused an avalanche that wiped out most of Everest Base Camp we lost 3 members of our staff. Guys I had worked with for 12 years. They had left behind 9 children and I wanted to do something to help their families.

For some reason, that seemed quite logical at the time, I decided it would be a good idea to cycle the Fred Whitton (having only ever ridden a bike in my teens to go to the pub) and then swim 2 lengths of Derwentwater (having only swum a mile before) and then complete the Bob Graham Round (having previously only ever linked 2 legs together).

I started off with some training where I swam and / or cycled and / or ran every day for 50 days. Realistically this was nowhere near enough training for such a massive venture but I realised that if I didn't get it done by the end of July then I wouldn't be getting it done at all. So 50 days it was. Which actually proved to be a whole lot of fun. It was a great motivator to get out training no matter what the weather and no matter how busy I was with other things that I might have otherwise managed to fill my time with.

Meanwhile there was money coming in and a lot of people offering their support ... which really put the pressure on to make sure that I could complete the crazy venture.

Next thing you know I was meeting a bunch of people in the market square in Keswick and getting ready to set off in to the unknown.

Some of the team ready for the off ...
and I still had the house keys in my pocket.
I was honoured to to meet up with 6 riders who were going to cycle with me for the first 3 passes as well as having 2 support vehicles and some photographers and well wishers. And then we were off. The conditions were perfect and we made good headway down Borrowdale and tackled the first of the passes - Honister. To be honest it's a bit of a bitch low down (around 1 in 4) before easing off to about 1 in 5 until another section of 1 in 4 brings you to the cattlegrid and a sectrion of a kilometre or so of easy cycling until the final haul to the col. Where we were met by Charmian and Steve who were ready and waiting with food and drink. Back in the saddle, down to Buttermere (a brilliant descent but you need to be on the brakes for quite a while otherwise there's a very good chance of being wiped out on the chicane at the bottom when you cross the bridge), along the side of the lake with amazing views over the Red Pike, High Crag and Haystacks and then on to the second pass ... Newlands. It's slightly easier than Honister but it's still a L O N G way and there's a sting in the tail right at the top ... where we were met by Charmian and Steve again for another fuel stop.

Down off Newlands is a seriously fast, fun, descent and then there was some great riding all the way along to the village of Braithwaite before tackling the next pass up to Whinlatter which, compared to the others, is a piece of cake.

More fuel and then 3 riders departed to return to Keswick. Down to Lorton where another 2 went their separate way and that left myself and Stuart Holmes to continue to Fang's Brow (another fuel stop) where we were joined by Les Barker. Bearing in mind that it was soon getting dark Les was a huge asset to have along because his knowledge of the route, the forthcoming dangers and the best line to take was invaluable.

After various other fuel stops Charmian and Steve were relieved of their duties for a couple of passes on account of the fact that their motorhome probably wouldn't make it over Hardknott and Wrynose and in stepped Frances Clark who fueled us over the next 2 passes.

I ought to mention that Carl, Chris and Hannah (who were doing quite a bit of photography as well as taking some excellent drone footage) were also trailing us ... every inch of the way. I'd chosen to take on The Fred first so that a) I wouldn't be going from cycling legs to fell running legs but also b) to do it at night so that the roads would be quieter. But even bearing that in mind it was still very reassuring to have a vehicle along behind us every peddle rotation of the way.

Next thing you know were are at the top of Hardknott (1 in 3!!) and then on to Wrynose either side of midnight. Down to Elterwater and through Clappersgate and then I did the route to Grasmere ... and back again. It's only a few miles but I knew that if I didn't do this bit then someone somewhere would say that I hadn't actually done The Fred (which for the last few years has started and finished in Grasmere).

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, Martin Bell was sat in his car a couple of hundred meters up the road in Grasmere watching us on the tracker and getting ready to join us. But the tracker went round the roundabout and headed back to Ambleside! So he jumped on his bike and started out to catch us up ... but we pulled in to the Ambleside car park for soup and sandwiches and Martin sped past desperately trying to find us. When he got to the top of Kirkstone, and we weren't there, he realised what had possibly happened and waited for us to arrive ... and then he joined us for the rest of the route.

So now we were four (and 2 support vehicles) and whizzed down off Kirkstone (another awesome, fun descent), alongside Brotherswater and on to Ullswater before heading up to Troutbeck via Dockray. It doesn't count as a pass but it still has a substantial amount of climbing and by now I had been on the go for around 9 hours. So it was utterly delightful to be met at the next fuel stop by my wife Ali and our good friends Fiona and Suzanna (as well as Charmian, Steve, Carl, Chris and Hannah).

A welcome stop after 9 hours in the saddle.
Les organised the group and made sure that we whizzed down the A66 getting me to Keswick in good order by creating a bit of drafting for me. And so I said goodbye to Stuart Holmes (who had accompanied me on the entire route), Les and Martin and dropped down to the lake shore to meet up with Paul Weller (not THE Paul Weller) who was on hand to paddle alongside and keep me in a straight line along the length of Derwentwater and back.

Perfect swimming conditions
Another reason why I had chosen to ride through the night was to have flat calm conditions on the lake and get the swim completed before the launch started. And it could not have been better. It was a bit chilly but it was idyllic, and flat, and calm, and the sun rose whilst I was halfway along to the far end. All great stuff.

Really really cold ...
and quite tried already (only 12 hours or so in)
Except ... for the last kilometre or so I was swimming in to cold water where the river was joining the South end of the lake. Consequently when I got out for a breather I was quite literally chattering with the cold and verging on becoming hypothermic.

Ali, Suzanna and Fiona had walked along the lake shore and had food and supplies for me and Paul popped a couple of jackets on me as well as a buoyancy aid to warm me up. 20 minutes later we poured the last of the flask of tea in to my wetsuit and I was back in the water to swim back to Keswick.

Taking on fuel and warming up after the swim.
Some of the runners for Leg 1 of The Bob.
Charmian and Steve were back on duty and gave me breakfast whilst I warmed up in a duvet (not a duvet jacket ... but an actual duvet!) and then I changed in to my fell running gear and mooched up
to The Moot Hall ...

to be met by 9 (!) runners who wanted to be a part of the event and help me along the way. 2 guys had come up from Retford! Tremendous stuff. I've supported a few people when they have been doing their Bob Graham Rounds but I have never realised just how much of a difference having people alongside makes. It's all very well feeding the runner, giving them juice, keeping them on the route, carrying their poles etc but I now know that just being there is possibly the most important psychological aspect.

So we started out in perfect conditions and it stayed that way for the whole day. Up Skiddaw (another chap joined us from half way up), over to Great Calva and along to Blencathra (where another guy joined us as well as a few folk who had made the effort to be on the summit for when I came by). Down to Threlkeld to be met by a veritable posse and a change of runners.

A surprise welcoming committee on Blencathra.
With great views across The Northern Lakes ... but with the dawning realisation that I will need to ascend pretty much every peak on the horizon of this photo. Only 3 down of 42 so far ...

Just finishing Leg 1 of The Bob ...
to be greeted with a whole selection of goodies.
Up to Clough Head and along the Dodds to the Helvellyn range (where we were met by some photographers), down to Grisedale Tarn and then we opted for the direct route up to Fairfield.

Another summit ticked off but many many more to go. 

The steep climb up to Fairfield by the direct route.

It's steep and continuous but I had good climbing legs and we made good progress. All great stuff but I had a toenail issue and had done irreparable damage. However there was the welcome distraction of the fact that the light was absolutely fantastic and we enjoyed a superb sunset as we descended to Dunmail Raise.

And another change of runners as well as a fuel stop and I opted for a cat nap in the van. I was, not surprisingly, feeling a little bit jaded.

Just before my lowest ebb ... about to set off on Leg 3.
Just starting out on Leg 3 of The Bob ... into the night.
Going up Steel Fell was surprisingly ok ... but it wasn't long in to the darkness that I started to feel totally, and utterly, drained. By now I had been on the go for around 30 hours but I hadn't slept for over 42 hours and it was a struggle. I always knew that I would be doing part of The Bob in the dark but I didn't want to be doing it over 2 nights .. again partly why I had opted for the Fred at night to have me doing a day, a night and a day on The Bob ... I definitely didn't want 2 nights on the Bob.

The navigation on Leg 3 is reasonably tricky by day ... but at night when you are working on straight lines with map and compass it is just a slog. Even with a GPS and 2 meters accuracy it is very easy to be just to one side or the other of the trod and be getting wet feet, missing the best footfall and dealing with grassy hummocks and awkward rocky steps. Martin Bergerud was doing most of the navigation and, along with Donald Ferguson, was going to be accompanying me on Legs 3 AND 4. A friend of Martin was along for Leg 3 as far as the Bowfell area and a good friend of mine, Giles Ruck, was keeping by my side throughout the night.

Interestingly Giles was with me on Everest in 2011 and had a really bad time of it for a few days when we went up to Camp 2, on up to 3 (an aborted summit bid because the weather changed) and then back to 2 where we waited for the next weather window. It would have been pointless to expend all our energy dropping to EBC for possibly only one night before returning to C2 so we stayed put at 6,400m and Giles really suffered. Thankfully we were sharing a tent and I was able to chat him through a variety of different options which meant that he then didn't go to EBC for a rest (we both realised that he would have just kept on walking and gone home). Anyway after a bit of supplementary oxygen and a morale boosting chat it turned him around and he went on to summit a couple of days later in fine style. And now the tables were completely and utterly 180° turned around and it was Giles who was talking me through a really dreadful night. I was woozy, tired, hallucinogenic, stumbling (and mumbling) and a liability to myself. And when I just asked for a 5 minute 'power nap' he dutifully sat by my side and allowed me to have ten. This happened a couple of times before we started up Bowfell and then, utterly spent, as the sky was just starting to brighten I needed another lie down. Out for the count.

Unconscious somewhere along The Langdales
But, miraculously, when I woke (was woken) 10 minutes later not only was I revived but, with the sight of the sun rising and with the clouds below us, I was totally invigorated and didn't need another lie down. There's something about the wave length of the light that just got me going and kept me going. It's not as if the end was in sight because I reckoned I still had another 15 hours or so to go. But something happened that just changed everything.
Martin contemplating the route ... and the view ... and the fact that he had just spent an ENTIRE night on Leg 3 of The Bob
Everything changed after this nap. Dawn really lifted my spirits.
What's there not to like about a sunrise in the hills?
Meanwhile we had now been on the go on Leg 3 for about 8 hours! And still hadn't reached Scafell. Martin and Donald were going to be in for a 20 hour day at this rate. Martin rang home and before he could even ask his wife Lisa whether she could muster some troops she told him that it was all taken care of. Lisa, and Kate Simpson, had pre empted and done it already. They had both been with me on Leg 2, gone home, showered, ate, slept, got up at 5, checked the tracker, realised I had slowed down and had done the necessary ringing around. So when we got down to Wasdale there they were with Ella (from Leg 1), along with Steve and there were 2 others who were due to meet us on the hill. Bloody brilliant.

And the legend that is Joss Naylor came for a chat and a pep talk. Double bloody brilliant.

Words of encouragement from Joss Naylor.
Yewbarrow. It's a steep hard climb straight out of Wasdale and strikes fear in to the hearts of tired Bob Grahamers. It is a crux of the whole route and more people stop at Wasdale (or go part way up Yewbarrow and give up) than at any other part of the whole route. Rather surprisingly I found it to be pretty ok ... but then I didn't have the constraint of trying to get round The Bob in under 24 hours (and indeed I had now been on The Bob for 26 hours!!). The rain was due in at 11 and at 11:05 pitter patter. By 12 we were all fully togged. By 12:30 it was really quite blowy and by 2 in the afternoon it was absolutely dreadful.

Leg 4 has got a lot of BIG hills and ascents - Yewbarrow, over to Steeple, Pillar, Kirk Fell and Great Gable. All credible hills in their own right but linking them all together, along with the various hummocks and bumps along the way, as well as tagging on Green Gable, Brandreth and Grey Knotts on to the end, makes Leg 4 a big day out. And my toe was giving me quite a lot of grief but you just have to get on with it ... and we did. All the way down to Honister to be met by another posse of fresh runners (10 in total!!) as well as the usual road support crew and a whole host of well wishers.

The end was possibly in sight and completion, at long last, seemed feasible. It wasn't in the bag but we had definitely broken the back of it.

It's another stiff climb out of Honister up to Dalehead but with a fresh crew and new banter we pegged it up in good order and, after Hindscarth I was finally approaching the final summit, Robinson.
Gnarly conditions ... just what you don't really want when you have been on the go for more than 48 hours. 
41st top - just one more summit to go. 
It's still a way to go to get back to Keswick but it was (mostly) down hill all the way and then when we were on the road there were more people joining, clapping, meeting and greeting and wishing me well along the way. Utterly, utterly uplifting.

And so, 52 hours after starting out on the Fred Whiten I had cycled over 6 high passes (as well as various other hills and climbs), swam 2 lengths of Derwentwater and made a circuit of 42 Lakeland Peak covering something in the region of 180 or so miles with a cumulative ascent of nearly 12,500m. Now that, I reckon, is a reasonably big day out!

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As well as the memories of my kind Sherpa friends, the company of fellow cyclists, canoeist and runners, my support crew and my friends and family one great aspect that kept me going, and made me realise that this was far FAR bigger than I had ever imagined, was that the donations came in before the event, kept coming in throughout the venture and, indeed, have still been arriving to this day.

So it is with great GREAT thanks that I salute everyone single one of you whether you watched and clapped, got sweaty and wet with me, donated, nodded your head in acknowledgement or posted an uplifting comment at some stage during the whole process. I did it ... but I couldn't have done it without you.

Many many thanks one and all.

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Oh, and by the way, the total now stands at just over £52,000 and is going to make a huge difference.

Indeed I am now sat at Abu Dhabi international waiting for my connecting flight to Kathmandu and I have about my person some of the ££s that have been donated that I will be handing over to the families I have been raising funds for.

The majority of the money won't go to them directly but instead will be used to pay for the childrens' school fees. But hopefully, when I see the families in the next few weeks, they will realise that people out there are helping in a whole variety of different ways and that the future, whilst being bleak at the moment, at least is a future with a glimmer of hope.

Especially for their children and the possibility that they might still be given the opportunity to better themselves.

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Saturday, 3 October 2015

Age, ability and experience - prerequisites being proposed for potential clients on Everest.

Everest would appear to be in the news quite a lot right now.

(If you can't be bothered to read the blog and would prefer a short video taking a light hearted approach to getting round the 'rules' have a look at my interviews with wannabe Everest climbers in Keswick).



If, however, you have the time and inclination for a more serious look in to the subject then please read on ...

People don't die on Everest from being too old or too young (although it's only a matter of time). They don't die because of a disability (although it could be a contributory factor). They certainly don't die just because they previously hadn't been on a different mountain that was 6,500m high (previous experience at altitude on one trip doesn't mean that you will perform well on another ... but psychologically it may well help as you have taken away an unknown).

What people die from on Everest are generally (low down) mistakes accidents and mishap and (high up) lack of oxygen, exhaustion or altitude related complications such as HACE / HAPE / AMS.

But the good old Ministry of Tourism are considering imposing an age limit for those wanting to become the youngest / oldest summiters.

I can see where they are coming from but in reality this will only affect one or two people a year.

They are also talking about experience ... but they are placing experience in to the realm of having summited a peak of 6,500m. With all due respect to everyone who has summited, say, Mera Peak (just short of 6,500m but will probably be seen as the benchmark) you can walk / trek up Mera without any previous experience but does that suddenly qualify you for the next expedition to Everest? I, personally, would say no. What about the Uber Alpinist who has over 20 years of hard climbing and mountaineering under their belt who has just forged a new route on Denali? I'm afraid that it is 'only' 6,194m and therefore you DON'T QUALIFY. What?

Experience is hugely subjective and there should be due diligence from the client AND the guides / companies to determine who is suitably experienced. If you are a liability to yourself then you are a liability to everyone around you. And perversely the really inexperienced, if they ask around enough, will eventually manage to get on to Everest with a shoddy outfit where they won't be looked after, their Climbing Sherpas will be as inexperienced as they are, they won't have enough (or spare) oxygen and they will become a problem for not only that team but for everyone else on the mountain. The likes of David Sharp and Shriya Shah-Klorfine spring to mind. They shouldn't have been there in the first place and they died trying.

(Dis)ability though? Pah! There are plenty of (dis)abled mountaineers out there who are far more proficient and experienced than some of the fools I have seen on the mountain. This is a totally subjective area and cannot / should not be regulated. I agree that there are certain conditions and ailments that people may have that mean that they are going to be a potential liability. But, with the right training, a critical eye for what is achievable given the disability, the right guidance, staffing and provision of expertise there is no reason why, say, a blind mountaineer shouldn't be on the mountain (and indeed a few blind mountaineers have now summited along with one legged, no legged, no armed etc etc people have succeeded and are surely pioneers who have shown just what is possible to those that they represent).

But to say that these people, from now on, would be excluded doesn't sit well with me. They are being discriminated against by people who don't understand the nature of the event that they are policing. In Nepal a person who has lost a leg probably can't work and will inevitably end up as a beggar on the street or a person in a village who needs to be looked after by the wider community. To that end people view disability differently in Nepal and they are likely to see what the person CAN'T do as opposed to what they CAN ACHIEVE. They see the wheelchair rather than the person in it. Evidently the officials at the Ministry of Tourism have never heard of, or never watched, the Para Olympics where sportmen and sportwomen are performing almost as hard, fast, long and high as able bodied athletes.

And, for that matter, how can someone who is a disabled person who is a competent mountaineer be discriminated against in favour of the totally inexperienced inept person who wants to tick off Everest? Even if they have summited a 6,500m peak?

As long as they are catered for in the correct manner and are not going to endanger themselves, their staff and other mountaineers around them then why shouldn't partially sighted, hearing impaired, club footed, hair lipped, ginger haired mountaineers be on the big hill?

Obviously I am being slightly flippant in my list but where, exactly, do you draw the line?

The officials at the Ministry of Tourism do not actually understand mountaineering in the slightest.

For a flippant look at the issue read Mark Horrel's update.
For another good write up have a look at Alan Arnette's update.
Have a listen to my radio interview with BBC World Service.
Or to see why people actually fail on Everest have a look at my previous blog post on the subject.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Tracking and updates

I'll have a tracker with my throughout my crazy event so feel free to check in and see how I'm doing. It's at http://maps.opentracking.co.uk/mosedale15.cfm

My FaceBook page will be updated throughout (hopefully) so please look at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Everest-Expedition/343655569085328

Also donations can be made at https://www.justgiving.com/timmosedale or you can text FFBG48 £5 to 70070 (or any other amount should you feel so inclined).

And feel free to spread the word ...

Sorry but got to dash!

Cheers - Tim

Thursday, 23 July 2015

The event is .... imminent

Whilst I might have been out training every day for 50 days and posting daily updates to FB I haven't managed to be quite so conscientious with my Blog. There are only so many hours in the day and whilst I have been trying to get the miles in I have also trying to make sure that I still spend some quality time with my family (as well as manage the B&B).

So ... my first piece of advice is that if you want to know what I have been doing please take a look at my FB page (Everest Expedition) which has been used for the purposes of updating about my training and the donations I have been receiving for the families of the staff who died last month.

I'll be starting out on my mega Lakes triathlon Friday evening 24th July at 18:00 with a cycle round The Fred Whitton route from Keswick and back to Keswick. After that I'll be in Derwentwater for 2 lenghts of the lake followed by the Bob Graham Round. As a few people have said just one of these events is big. 2 together is gruelling but all 3, back to back, is insane. And now, as the time approaches for the event to start, I can whole heartedly agree.

The forthcoming event. Black shows The Fred Whitton (112 miles over 6 Lakeland passes), blue shows the openwater swim (5.5 miles in Derwentwater) and the red shows the Bob Graham Round (66 miles across 42 Lakeland Peaks). I'm aiming to do it ALL, back to back, in under 48 hours!

The reason for the event is to raise money to put some children through school. They are the children of my staff who died whilst I was on Everest this year. They were supposedly safe down at Base Camp and the unprecedented happened when the avalanche that was triggered by the earthquake swept away Everest Base Camp. In Nepal there isn't the social security and child benefit that we might qualify for. There is insurance ... but the families will have possibly spent this on the puja for their funerals. The wives probably (almost certainly) haven't got careers of their own. So ... I'm cycling and swimming and running in the hope that you might feel my effort worthy of a donation.

You can easily donate by going to https://www.justgiving.com/timmosedale/

So far I have managed to raise around £35,000 - which I am very humbled by. But to put 6 children who are of school age through classes for an average of 10 years each is going to take at least £50,000 because I don't want to start their education and not be able to finish it. Along with other families who have fallen on hard times and are in need of their house being rebuilt or some financial support I estimate that £100,000 is a healthy, and achievable, target.

The charity that the funds will be going to is http://www.supportingnepalschildren.org.uk/ and they will make sure that 100% of donations received via my cause are passed on to pay for school fees or go to families affected. No commission, no admin fees - just money from you to where it is supposed to go.

Some of the training I did

And here's a whole load of photos of me out and about. Sometimes alone but often I have been lucky to have been out with some great mates. They, and the donations that have come in, have really spurred me on.

All I need to do is put it all together!!!





















Friday, 8 May 2015

50 days of training for 48 hours of suffering to raise money for families in Nepal ...

Folks - if you are contemplating where to go for your trekking holiday in October then I can heartily recommend Nepal. Yes they have just had an epic event of biblical proportions but by the time the next trekking season is upon us they will be well on the road to getting things sorted and back on their collective feet again.

If you are hesitant then please remember that there are 4 and a half months between now and then. The danger from aftershocks will be so diminished by then that it won't even register. The chance of infection won't even be worth considering by then. The clearing up won't have finished but the fact is that life goes on and the locals will be very keen to get back to business as usual.

If people don't go trekking and climbing this autumn then the repercussions are very far reaching. As it is the country gets 95% of it's tourist trade in 4 months (April & May / October & November). May has just been written off. If the tourism takes a dive in Oct and Nov then effectively families will be relying on their recent April income to see them all the way through until next April.

How would you feel if your income stream stopped TODAY and you had to make your funds last until next April?

For those in 'The West' we would undoubtedly have the fall back option of getting unemployment benefit / child benefit / tax credits of some sort as well as free school meals / prescriptions as well as qualifying for free this, that and the other.

In Nepal they don't have state funded benefits and are wholly reliant on income. No work ... no income. Sore leg ... no NHS. Sore leg preventing the ability to work ... no income.

So please, please don't be put off going to Nepal for the next trekking season because your valuable £s will help to kick start the local economy. The local economy won't benefit from the international aid and donations that are pouring in to the country. Yes that money will go to infrastructure / rebuilding / health and welfare but it won't be spent (or donated) to teahouse owners. That money won't be handed to porters. It won't go to the vegetable seller or the stone mason. And the stone mason won't repair the teahouse if the teahouse owner doesn't have cashflow. The entire local economy is in danger of collapsing.

Not only do the trekking regions need tourists to reinvigorate the local economy but the families who have lost loved ones need money too. The families of the 3 staff that we sadly lost recently (Pasang Temba, Kumar and Tenzing) don't have 'Plan B'. The bread winner has gone and no they literally don't have any bread.

I am personally raising money for the families and this will go directly to them. Ideally this will be for the education of the 9 children that have been left behind but the family of Pasang Temba also need to rebuild their house which fell down (no insurance will be covering that).

I am undertaking a personal challenge involving a certain amount of hardship in the hope that you will feel that my venture is worthy of a donation.

I am training for 50 days to attempt the following:

Start at The Moot Hall in Keswick.
Get on a bike
Cycle the Fred Whitton route (approx 112 miles + 6 Lakeland passes & 3,800m of ascent)
Back to The Moot Hall

Change in to swimming gear
Go to the lake and swim the length of Derwentwater
And back again (around 4.5km each way with 0m of ascent)
Back to The Moot Hall.
Change in to fell running gear
Run (walk) The Bob Graham Round (66 miles, 42 peaks, 27,000ft ascent and descent)
Back to The Moot Hall.
Collapse

All in all I will be aiming to do all 3 events, back to back, in under 48 hours.

The training started yesterday with a run up and over Latrigg and continued today with a Baltic cold swim in Derwentwater this morning and another fell run this afternoon, this time up and over Walla Crag. I will be out and about at some stage or other every day for the next 50 days getting ready for this crazy venture. In only a few weeks I will need to be fell running for stretches of between 4 and 6 hours. Soon after that I should be ready to be doing 2 legs of the Bob Graham Round back to back and certainly before the big event I should be doing 3 passes on a bike, 2 legs of The Bob AND a couple of mile's swimming in a day.

Wish me luck!

Please follow my training and progress on my Everest Expedition Page on FaceBook*. If you like the page and sign up for notifications you will get alerted every time I post. I hope that you enjoy the show.

And I hope that you might sponsor me.

But most of all I hope that you will consider trekking in Nepal in October. You will not be disappointed.


*https://www.facebook.com/pages/Everest-Expedition/343655569085328?ref=hl

Friday, 10 April 2015

Gokyo to Phortse

An awesome day trekking from Gokyo to Phortse today. We deliberately set off early and were rewarded not only with amazing views and a quiet trail but also crisp snow which made for easy progress underfoot.


We followed the main route down towards Machermo and then crossed to the East side of the valley where it becomes a much quieter and less trod route. Having said that we saw a total of 12 trekkers throughout the day - the busiest I've ever known it!


The route meanders in and out of valleys and up and over shoulders so, despite dropping about 600m elevation, it is still a full on day.


We've met up with John (aka my Dad) again, who trekked here from Machermo, and we have all just had some hot orange and enjoyed some doughnuts that we're very kindly given to me by my friends at Gokyo as I left this morning.


We are now poised to venture around the corner to Pangboche tomorrow where we will join the main Khumbu trail for a few days. After a rest at Dingboche we will spend 3 nights under canvas going up and over the Kongma La before dropping down to Lobuche and thence on to EBC where we will arrive on the 18th April.


It sounds like the route through The Khumbu Icefall has been fixed all the way to C2 which is great news. The fact that we are out of the way for the time being is no bad thing so that our Sirdar, Kame, and the Climbing Sherpas can concentrate on the business of getting logistics sorted on the hill.


Very much looking forward to working with the guys again and introducing them to my trusty group.


Photos to follow.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

A belated update ...

I'm sat in a teahouse at Lungde, the last settlement before the Renjo La. We're at 4,350m, it's a long way from anywhere and there's snow gently falling outside. I'm sat here with 3 guys who are hoping that, with my guidance, mentoring and leadership, they will be able to summit Mount Everest sometime in May. There's a lot they need to do for themselves but it's only with my top tips, handy hints, advice and putting everything in to context that they can envisage what it will actually be like high on the mountain. How can people prepare for something like this when it's their first attempt? Yes they all have previous expeditions and mountaineering forays under their collective belts, but none of them have even been close to being this high before. The enormity of the task lies heavily on my conscience because if I fail in my task of providing them with any aspect of the expedition they may fail. Or worse.

8 days ago we flew to Lukla and arrived late (around 11:30), but we were still on the first flight. For the past few days there had been many interruptions to international flights coming in and out of Kathmandu and flights to Lukla had been infrequent. We had boarded the bus and sat on the vehicle tantalisingly close to the aircraft for half an hour or so before we'd been taken back to the departures terminal where we waited again, munching biscuits and drinking tea having forsaken an early breakfast back at the hotel to allow for another half an hour in bed. We'd been collected at 05:15 and the guys from Himalayan Guides, as usual,  had made the transit through to the departures lounge as efficient as can be expected. Later, whilst waiting for our first call, my agent (the legendary Iswari) had shown me the webcam app he had for Lukla and it didn't look entirely promising. Kathmandu was bright and crisp following the rain from the previous afternoon which had cleared the haze, but Lukla was looking cloudy. So we waited.

When we were called for the bus for the second time it was a mad dash and scramble ... to sit on the bus again. And then the call came and we were on the plane. Then the engines fired up and we were taxiing.

Half an hour later we were the first of only 5 or 6 flights that got in that day and, not only that, all our bags were there too.

We popped round to see Dawa Phutti and Ang Pasang at Paradise Lodge where we had a much need brunch before hitting the trail after I'd briefed the group about a few dos and don'ts and how life would be on the trail.

We were aiming for Monjo but the late arrival in to Lukla meant that we were still a bit short when I felt it was time to stop. We'd popped in to see Sonam Sherpa for a coke and chocolate bar (I'd met Phendan at Lukla and he'd phoned ahead) but even though we were full of energy I felt it would be unfair on the porters for us to continue in to the dark.

Having spent a night at Tok Tok (what a great name) we were one of the first teams through the National Park Entrance because we were half an hour ahead of the trekkers at Phak Ding. We had tea with Pasang Dawa in Monjo and then headed gradually up the zig zags to Namche. After lunch, WiFi, coffee & doughnuts in Namche we continued another hour along the trail to stay with my long standing friend Tashi at Ama Dablam Lodge.

(For those who don't know, Tashi and her husband Lakpa, accompanied by their youngest son Karma, came to the UK last year and stayed at my B&B before we all went to London for a private audience with HRH Prince Charles. But I digress.)

In between our 2 night stay at Tashi's we mooched up to the Mong La via an amazing hidden staircase to gain a bit of altitude for a couple of hours before returning to Kyanjuma. After getting back to Tashi's she allowed us to see her private prayer room which is always such an amazing privilege.

The next morning we bade Tashi farewell and she gave us some Kharta scarves as a blessing for our onward journey and we trekked up to Khumjung where we said a temporary goodbye to Loraine and John (aka my Dad). They were off to visit the Everest View Hotel before heading back to Tashi's and then their itinerary was to take them very gradually up the Gokyo valley. In theory we will all be reunited tomorrow!

My trusty Everest wannabes and I went up and over the col to Syangboche where we stopped for tea before pressing on via Thamo (lunch) to Thame where we stayed with my friends Dr Kami and his wife Da Dolma. They have a new addition to the family and are truly delighted to have a grandson (their son married the daughter of my Sirdar, Kame Nuru Sherpa, just over two years ago).

We stopped at Thame for 2 nights and visited the monastery in the hillside above the village for a private puja and, with more Kharta adorning our shoulders we said goodbye to Thame continued to Marylung to stay with some more friends of mine. Sadly Ang Chutin wasn't present but I was delighted to hear that, following my advice that she contact a friend of mine in KTM who organises running events, she has competed in a variety of different races. One was a 60km trail run up and over various passes and she completed it in 9 hours coming in as fastest female. Presently she is studying in Germany and is set to run the Berlin marathon in the not too distant future. I'm now wondering about getting her across to the UK for a week or so in summer to have a go at The Bob Graham Round - but I'll have to sound her out about that when I get back home in June.

Phurba Sherpa runs the teahouse in Marylung with his wife and they are an amazingly cheerful and resilient couple. Phurba has summited Everest 8 times (once from The North) and was obviously very saddened by the events last year. Not only the disaster that befell the 16 Climbing Sherpas who died but also the way the whole event then unfolded and the ominous twists and turns the tragedy took. Their eldest daughter turned up (she's a teacher at Namche with perfect English) and we chatted away for hours.

Another departure and another Kharta brought us to where we are now. Poised at 4,350m below a 5,350m pass which will give us access to the Gokyo Valley where, all being well, we will meet up with the 2 trekkers we last saw in Khumjung.


Post script:

We went up and over the Renjo La and the conditions were perfect. An early start meant that the mud and, higher up, snow were crisp and easy going underfoot. The view from the pass was absolutely fantastic and we dropped down to Gokyo in time for lunch.

John & Loraine arrived mid afternoon from Machermo so we were all reunited and caught up on each other's gossip. The WiFi wasn't working, hence not sending the update as planned.

Today John (aka my Dad) dropped down to Machermo to break the journey to Phortse which we will be making tomorrow. All the others went to various altitudes on Gokyo Ri and I mooched off to do a panorama.

The WiFi has just come on and naturally enough is pretty slow because everyone, myself included, has started catching up with the outside world.

Monday, 23 March 2015

What does it take to summit Everest? Here are 7 attribute to consider.

Elsewhere I have covered the reasons why people fail on Everest but this article is about what you need to consider to even contemplate attempting it.

Everest from The North.
There are seven keys elements that people require no matter which side of the mountain they are on, no matter which expedition they are with. These attributes have nothing to do with how much the expedition has cost, whether you are rich or poor, male or female. Altitude is the invisible enemy and it doesn't differentiate.

Everest from The South.
So ... other than oxygen, Climbing Sherpas, a Base Camp cook crew, faultless logistics, the ability to get 8 weeks off work, the tricky issue of having sufficient budget to be able to afford it, the support of friends and family, the right amount of fitness etc etc what exactly do you need to be able to climb Everest :

1. 'The Desire' 

There is little point, if any, in attempting Everest unless you really, really want to do it. This should not be a whim of the moment decision. It's not back of a fag packet type stuff*. It's also not something that is on everybody's bucket list and you don't necessarily have to justify to anyone, except yourself, why you want to do it. You may not be able to vocalise how you feel about it. It may well just be something that, for whatever reason, 'flicks your switch'.

But if you don't have that yearning to attempt Everest then there is little point in setting out on it in the first place.

However ... are you being realistic?

* Warning - smoking kills and is extremely bad for your health. Please do not take this an endorsement to start, or continue, smoking. Alternatively you could jot your idea down on the back of a beer mat**.

** Please note that drinking, even in moderation, can also be bad for your health. Perhaps best to just use a note book after all.

2. 'Realistic ambition' 

It's all very well having the desire but is it realistic for you to be undertaking this massive challenge? Do you have what it takes? Should you perhaps be making it a 5 year plan to enable you to get the necessary pre requisite experience and enough time to save the money? Should you maybe have a think about it rather than making a knee jerk reaction having been inspired by a book that you have just read, a film you've just watched or a slide show you have just attended?

Having the desire is all very well but there are many things that we desire in life that we know won't happen ... unless we do something about it. And even then it may well be that the desire is completely unrealistic and even if you do try and do something about it it may well not transpire.

Don't believe the public keynote speaker who uttered the 'if you put your mind to it you can do anything' line - that is utter rubbish. Have you ever noticed that this is a classic line that is banded around by people who have just done something? Yes you need to put your mind to it but don't assume that you will achieve your ambition just because you want to have a go. You can't just do anything that pops in to your head ... or we would all be able to fly, see through walls, run a sub 3 marathon or teleport.

So perhaps you need to park the idea?

Or conversely you need to focus your energy in to getting prepared ... as long as it is something that is actually realistic and potentially achievable.

3. 'Experience and a high quality mountaineering resumé' 

Preferably years and years of it. If you are naturally tuned in to the outdoor recreation environment due to the frequency, quantity and quality of your experiences then life on Everest will be a lot easier for you to tolerate. You shouldn't have to think about whether your hood should be up or down, whether you are too hot or too cold, when to drink, where your gloves are or how the toggles work on your jacket. You should be able to anticipate environmental changes in advance rather than having to deal with them at the time. Preempting the fact that the sun is coming up, and in a quarter of an hour it's going to be quite hot, has got to be better when you are stood in a safe place ... rather than finding that you are boiling hot and needing to shed layers in a dangerous place fifteen minutes later. See the list of skills required elsewhere.

With years and years of experience and lots of expeditions under her belt Jen was very much in her element. Here she is approaching The South Summit. Shortly after this photo she stopped to change her oxygen bottle over and apply sunglasses and sun cream. She had gone a few minutes longer than she would normally after the sun comes up to allow her to get past a queue - but that was a sound decision on the day.

4. 'Technical expertise' 

It's all very well having a great resumé but be honest with yourself - are you an independent mountaineer in your own right or have you been guided on every trip and climb you have ever been on? In essence, if you have an extensive mountaineering cv but have solely been guided, this is not too much of a problem as long as you then sign up for a trip that has the correct level of guidance to cater for the shortfall.

Irrespective of that you still have to ask yourself whether you will ever end up in a situation where you are no longer guided (for whatever reason), high on the mountain and whether the implication of that terrifies you (it should do). Don't bury your head in the sand and say that 'it won't happen to me' because when it does and you are high on the mountain and alone you will feel very helpless and very lonely. It's obviously not ideal but you should be able to cope in this situation.

Better to have a whole host of skills and a thorough understanding of the natural and ever changing environment, and how to adapt to it, than to be a potential liability to yourself and therefore a potential liability to everyone around you - including people on other expeditions. Knowing instinctively how to change your walking gait from one type of snow to another means that you won't compromise yourself when the conditions underfoot change. Having a sixth sense about the weather, conditions, snow etc will mean that you are far less likely to jeopardise yourself and being tuned in will also make it a far more enjoyable experience as well. Knowing that your helmet should be on your head not your rucksack, knowing your routines and having faultless personal admin will all be very relevant when you are high on the hill.

I've said it before and I'll say it again ... this guy should not have been on Everest. Crampons on the wrong feet, a helmet on  his rucksack instead of his head and a few useless quick draws on his harness. He didn't even operate his jumar at each rebelay and his Climbing Sherpa had to do it for him. He was a liability to himself ... and to everyone around him.

5. The ability to Focus ... 

on what needs doing and when to do it. This applies to your years of training, your gear purchases, knowing your equipment intimately, your choice of operator and your own personal commitment. You need to focus on each and every aspect, and leave no stone unturned, whether it be research and preparation for the mountain, your fitness and gaining relevant experience prior to the expedition, or focusing on what is relevant at the right moment during the trip.

It's really important to prioritise and realise that the consequences of your actions, or inactions, may have far reaching consequences. What would be considered to be small issues on lesser peaks become compounded issues on Everest. On lower peaks the fact that you haven't applied or reapplied suncream may have little if any consequence. On Everest, due to the higher elevation and the rarified atmosphere you will frazzle and become sunburnt which is extremely debilitating. In the UK you can perhaps get away without drinking for the whole day (with the intention of topping up when you get home). On Everest you won't be able to get enough fluids to be sufficiently rehydrated if you go in to deficit. A little bit of dehydration on a daily basis will become a massive problem at the end of a 7 or 8 week period and you will be not only debilitated but also much more prone to the effects of high altitude, more susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia as well as having reduced efficiency and depleted brain function.

Look at your expedition as a long term project. It requires lots of preparation and it needs to be conducted in a manner where you are constantly reevaluating the situation. Do your due diligence not only of the company that you are going to sign up with but of yourself as well.

Giles at the top of The Geneva Spur en route to the summit. A few days earlier he had contemplated going home. Thankfully he was able to refocus his energies and turned his feelings of despondency in to drive and determination.
6. Mental tenacity 

You need this by the pound. There will be moments of self doubt. There will be the days when you just don't perform how you hoped. There will be the off days when you should be firing on all cylinders. There will be the days when you are missing your friends and family and questioning this crazy endeavour. And combined with all that ... you will have a headache at some stage, possibly a bout of diarrhoea, your lips may well have cracked because you weren't looking after yourself, you can't sleep properly at night because of sleep apnoea, it's cold and you pee all the time and you will go off your food. Perversely, just when you are burning more energy than you have ever burnt before, you will lose your appetite and won't be able to face a fork full.

How on earth can you attempt to continue unless you have mental tenacity by the bucket load? However, you must temper your resilience with a deep respect for the environment around you and also listen to the inner you. If it doesn't feel right then that 6th sense of yours may well be worth listening to. If you continue because your are tough and resilient, whilst ignoring the very obvious changes that are happening around you, then your mental tenacity may well get you in to trouble.

Mental tenacity has to be balanced with a respect for the conditions around you and a certain feeling of vulnerability.

7. Self belief 

This is a slightly different psychological requirement. Being tough and mentally resilient is one thing but you will need to be able to keep on going, despite how awful you feel, in spite of how lonely you might be, no matter how 'out there' and vulnerable you may feel. You have to put all that to one side and put one foot in front of the other ... incredibly slowly ... believing all the way that you have what it takes. Again, as with mental tenacity, your self belief has to be tempered to the surroundings, and any changes that may be occurring, or it may well get you in to a pickle.

Put it all together and you may, just may, get to the summit.

So there you have it - a variety of key traits that you need to have a chance of being successful on Everest. But remember - just because you have the ambition, the drive, the focus and all the other necessary prerequisites doesn't actually mean that you will achieve your target.

No matter which expedition you sign up for, no matter how much preparation you have done, no matter how good your Climbing Sherpa is you have to remember that only you can put one foot in front of the other - it can't be done for you.

Time to get out on the hill.

(For further related reading have a look at the suggested Skills Required and Why People Don't Summit).