Monday, October 4

Team Europe Winning Rider Cup captain Colin Montgomerie

"If you enjoy something you are usually quite good at it
If you are confident of doing something, you are half way to achieving it."
14.5: 13.5 was the end result, so even though they were "half way" there, it was no easy task
Something to keep in mind....

Monday, September 13

I can do anything if I believe

...Dean Potter

Monday, May 10

Day 27 – Thank you Shishapangma

... for exposing my inner self to me.
It has been a lonely journey requiring an inner strength and a level of self motivation that I did not know I possessed. Those nights up on the “hill” with the wind blowing and snow icicles searing the surface. Those endless steps uphill. The feeling of lack of control wondering where the energy would come from to lift my leg, boot, foot one more time. The apprehension while trying to launch oneself over the crevasses. The waiting for the immanent collapse of the ground beneath one's feet. The endless waiting out the bad weather at ABC – orange madness. The 2:00am Jetboil sessions heating up water-bottles with constant spindrift falling in the tent. The endless planning to stimulate action and to help motivate myself. The loneliness of not being able to communicate with anyone. That slog up to Camp II – I still don't know how I managed those 13 or so steps at a time. In retrospect that was my summit push. I was mighty proud to get up there.

I had (other) reasons in 2006 & 2007 why I did not summit. This year it was only because of me. I am not strong enough to climb, carry loads and the establish the required camps to climb an 8,000m peak on my own. It was one of my main tests to see if I could do just that. I had not though factored in the loneliness. Although I'm fairly independent, this was a level of “independence” that I had not yet experienced in my life.
I just wanted to experience that thrill (feeling) of standing above 8,000m knowing I had got there on my own – that would probably have last 30 seconds – to put that into perspective its now day 27 and I have only achieved camps to half way!

I have though learned an amazing amount about myself and I thank Claire, my Precious, for allowing me the indulgence. Its the end of these significant “solo/unsupported” mountain expeditions for me. I now have the answers to my questions.

I hope to be able to use what I've learnt above the Tibetan plains to help others - whatever their need.

This blog will from now only be updated with a few of the missing days photos but will remain an insight and record of my endeavours.

Thank you all for your support along the way.
Thank you to all those who have contributed to The Rainbow Trust – as promised for each £50 donated, I will offer my time to them for anything they may want me to do. I'm hoping some T-shirts I have ordered for them to raise more funds will be ready on my return to Kathmandu.

Thank you Claire, I'll be home soonish (pending, yaks, strikes, landslides etc). I look forward to hearing what you have planned for us together.

All the very best
Hoseman & Gromit

Day 26 – Camp I down to ABC

After last night feel that my emotional batteries are completely flat. No matter how much I try to find some emotional energy there is nothing there!
With this platform eroded, there is not much to stimulate any physical energy. But I'm still 750m vertical and some km horizontal from ABC. And I need to get my gear down (and myself). As they say at the top you are only halfway!
Must get down!
Start to pack-up/sort out gear. Once interior done, start to work on digging the tent out. Been here since 25/4 – day 12, so well and truly cemented (iced) in. Gusty spindrift adds some extra challenges but in the end (some tears in outer) its out – fantastic Quasar tent, its been a bomb proof camp.

Eventually ready with a fairly big load – down the hill. Same three climbers before me, so just follow their fresh tracks – spindrift covered over previous trail. Eventually pass the crevasse zones – no incidents thank goodness.

Arrive penitentes camp and decide to also clear it (Gemini tent and mat) and add to existing load. Slowly across penitentes – last icy hurdle. Still an awe inspiring part of the journey. Arrive at good old depot camp. Two hours later down to ABC. Late afternoon sunlight, with some lovely colours, but I don't look back. All fuel gauges on empty, but extremely happy to be safe. Scott & Nicole are very supportive.

Day 25 – Depot Camp to Camp I

Regarding day 24, took 2:15 to get to depot – an average time but not really as expected. Coffee & snickers for dinner – not good sign...

Small amount of snow during the night, but perfectly clear AM. Cross Penitentes – tracks already there which is good.
Quick stop at Penitentes Camp. Two skiers and three climbers ahead. They make it possible for me as lay a really good trail upwards. Move at good pace up the now familiar route. Thick snow off trail and crevasses have been covered over yet again – holding thumbs, as although climbers above me on route, could still easily punch through...

Three quarters of way up notice that one skiers seems to be missing. Have just got on extra layer and thick gloves as wind gusts been stronger and colder. The see partner of skier skiing back down to a big slot in the snow. Skier had been skiing directly over a crevasses and then had fell through. Said later that he had gone down 4m and that there was still plenty of blackness below him. Partner soon arranged system to haul him out. Not the nicest feeling to hear how big the crevasse was. Slight delay at crevasse otherwise arrive at Camp I at approximately 2:15pm (not logged). Rest but again not enough hydration or food...

After much thought agree that I am on the limit with no buffer of reserves. I'm getting more concerned that if weather, crevasse fall, health etc in any way go against me it would be a bad situation to be in. Risk reward balance is wrong, and funnily for the first time in my life feel afraid of dying. I have to-date always said that if I die today I would be “happy” as have led life to the fullest – but now I don't feel that – I need to restore the balance between Claire & myself – things to do together...

Had good sat phone call to Claire. She has been so wonderfully supportive and complimentary of my achievements up to Camp II. I feel very emotional about having not lived up to the expectations of myself and of others, but I now know how far I can go – I have reached that point.

Relief in the decision to go down – amazing how much it had been hanging over my head – just got to “do” the crevasse slopes one more time...

Saturday, May 8

Safe at Camp 1

Mark has arrived safely at Camp 1 after his journey from Depot Camp...about to have a cup of tea and snuggle into his tent. He said his energy levels were not the highest.

He had also seen a climber fall down a crevasse which was not nice to see... his climbing partners helped him get out. He came out covered in snow and ice after falling to a depth of 4 metres with a frightening further 15 metres below!

There has been a lot of snow over the last few days and some bad weather forecast.

I am so proud of him!

Friday, May 7

Depot night

Hose says "all good from Depot Camp. Night night!"

Day 24 ABC to Penitentes Camp - phase one of six on Summit Bid

Firstly must report that we are watching Uwe (Dav Summit) with his Sherpa Nima and Kono (Japan) with her two Sherpas, Rinje & Passang on their summit bid. The are currently approaching the Gendarme which is a large  pyramid shaped black rock

My attempt
Yes it has all come down to this...
Firstly an entry date of the 10th April that was determined by the Chinese Tibet Mountaineering Association
Then a good first session establishing Camps I & II
A week then of poor weather (snow rather than high winds)
And now a day of mixed cloud but a clear mountain!

I'm a little apprehensive to say the least, but must break down the objective into manageable daily tasks. (looking up now at how high Kono & Uwe are is amazing!)

I'll b leaving later this morning for my Penitentes camp - I'm hoping to see a lot of other climbers on the trail - those that have also been waiting for the weather to change.

My plan is as follows:

Fri 7 - Penitentes Camp
Sat 8 - Camp I
Sun 9 - Camp II
Mon 10 - Move Camp II to a half way point up the valley (Camp 2.5)
Tue 11 - Move Camp 2.5 to Camp III
and yes finally a bid to get to 8,000m on Wednesday 12
A LOT has to go in my favour for this all to fall into place...
If I'm at Camp III on Wednesday am then I will start preparations at approx 3:30am Nepal time, leave the tent at approx. 5:00am Nepal time and then who knows...

So from sending this message, I will only be contactable on my Sat phone - do send me messages via the link on my blog page. The characters et cut off so recommend only type half what they say

Thanks for all of your support so far and thank you to all those who have donated so generously to he Rainbow Trust. I feel we have all made a difference...

Hoseman & Gromit (my trusty companion & navigator)

Arriving back at ABC after establishing Camp II at approx. 6,850m

Camp II view - looking along route to Camp II

Thursday, May 6


day 15 & 16 photos added

Day 23 ABC and again – but warmer!

Its changing! Able to charge! Snow melting, signs there is mountain there after all. Spend the day with King Rat – ratting...
Most of Dav Summit team return – talk of too much snow. Kono still up there.
I will check conditions tomorrow and decide.
Its a clear night tonight – good for neve freeze

Wednesday, May 5

Day 22 ABC (yet again)

I have seen much better conditions of the mountain and as I have time want to wait it out. Other teams are still moving up
Dav Summit & Scott & Nicole to Camp II, Kono to Camp 2.5 (its a long way from Camps II to III)
It getting hard to hang around here...
Snowing and mountain completely in cloud

No Shisha

ABC blues

Day 21 ABC (again)

So both Dav Summit & Scott & Nicole go up to Camp I today. Kono is already at Camp I and will be going to Camp II.
I'm very undecided....Same weather everywhere...
Going orange mad

Tuesday, May 4


Day 13 & 14 pics now uploaded

Monday, May 3


Text up to date
Day 11 & 12 now have photos updated

Team Bios - Asian Trekking

We have three ABC support Nepali's providing all requirements for camp life. As I said in my short birthday speech, they have been fantastic. I thought I would give you a little insight into their lives

Sera Sherpa – Chief Cook

Sear is 50 years old and is married to Phurba. They live in Kapan district in Kathmandu and have 2 girls and one boy. Sera has been working for Asian Trekking for 25 years. The highest he has been is 6,500m at ABC on the Tibetan side of Everest.
They have 2 dogs as pets.

Ram Prasad Luitel

Ram is 51 years old and is married to Sabirty. They also live in a suburb of Kathmandu, Kusibu. They have 1 boy and 1 girl. Ram has been working for Asian Trekking for 21 years and also has a altitude record of 6,500m at Everest ABC. They have 1 dog as a pet.

Ang Kami Bhote

Kami is the youngest of the group at 42. He is married to Mitu and they live in a village called Patale which is a 200km bus ride (all day) and a 3 day trek away from Kathmandu. He has been working for Asian Trekking for 19 years. Same altitude record as the others. When asked about pets, he replied: 3 dogs, 6 goats and 7 cows!

What's amazing is that although the have been working for Asian Trekking for such long times, this is the first time that they have worked together.
So we thank them for their hard work, cheerful smiles and consistently helpful manners. When the camp is full, the rate of water consumption is 200 litre per day. This has to be fetched from down in the glacier lake, over half an hour away.

Day 20 ABC

Bank hols in the UK
Big discussions today as whether other teams are going up for their summit bids. Forecast of high winds Friday 7th(ish) The other teams also have earlier exit plans (by about 10 days) than I have, so are starting to feel that “exit” date pressure. Looking at the mountain I am not convinced that I should be going up. Its still in cloud, although no wind. Snowing on the trail is not ideal for me and I had hoped that the overall temperature would be warmer and days clearer. This allows the trail to be easily identified. We have all seasons in one day here at ABC – sunny & hot & snowing and cold.
I think this is all a tussle between the warm wet Indian and the cold dry Tibetan weather patterns. Neither of which are winning
Other teams make a decision to o up tomorrow!

Sunday, May 2

Day 19 ABC

Lightning and thunder last night, Snowed ABC couple of inches. Shishapangma in cloud today. So hence why I say I was lucky in timing! Teams starting to discuss summits plans. Kono going up today to commence her attempt! Hear Spanish lady has arrived and that her Sherpas are already en-route to Camp I
I will be taking into account all information I get over the next few days.
I also have the decision of whether to 1. move Camp II to Camp III – I.e. Follow Major's alpine dash proposal, or 2. carry my Penitentes Camp up to Camp III – more on this later.

Thanks for reading and apologies for poor frequency of updates – ABC is still cold and has limited sunny days, hence my lack of power is the main reason...

Saturday, May 1

Day 18 Camp II to ABC – Its the weekend!

Summing up, it took about 12h 37m to get up from ABC to Camp II over the last few days, well it took 4h 10m to get back - hooray for gravity

Icy tent Camp II interior

Camp II mess..

More mess

cozy, not...

Next morning Camp II with flags

Looking up valley wall

Up at 6:00, usual routine for getting stuff organised – nice that this time nothing to take except what is needed at lower Camps. I also always carry certain gear – big puffa etc. Dav Summit skiers flash past at 8:00 after checking all ok with me. They will take 20 mins to get back to Penitentes! Uwe and Nima (their Sherpa) arrive (on time, Germans you know) at 8:04 and offer I join their rope to go down – accepted as saves worrying about those nasty crevasses!

Ropeman Uwe

Ropeman Nima

Uwe on top spot in Penitentes

Quick stop at Camp I (Scott & Nicole on way up to CII) & Depot then back down in time for lunch to ABC – 1.2km descent! As a note, I could have spent another night at CII to assist with later acclimitisation but for some reason changed my plan... Ended up being a lucky move due to adverse weather on the mountain.

Friday, April 30

Day 17 Camp I to Camp II

Good sleep, which included a 2:00am Camomile & Lavender tea – fabulous
Hive of activity as German, US & Spanish groups alos going up to Camp II.
Route full of crevasses – ot so good. At one stage while I'm prodding and procrastinating, Spanish 3 let me hook onto their rope while they hold it firm. Thank you!

Busy Mountain!

Further up some old fix rope just leaves one in the middle of new crevasses- not much fun.
By now I'm utterly exhausted. Having plenty of stops as well as down to 5 steps rest...but makes no difference. At last the views are new when looking down. Weather staying relatively stable so thats a blessing.

Looking upwards

Nearing the ridge line
Think of my Lances – they know the feeling, they carry on...Oh boy – quitting lasts forever...Somehow, and I really don't know how, start to see signs of what looks like the crest...I'm miles behind everybody at this stage. Obviously my body is not ready for two days on the trot at this altitude.


Scott and Nicole appear through the wind driven snow after having just dropped off a load at Camp II location. They encourage me to continue the couple of minutes further...
I stop at the first tent I find (later found out that it's Kono's). Now to find some energy to put up the Gemini.

Arrival at Camp II

Wind just manageable – rush the platform and ram some bamboo stakes in to hold it fast. Climb in with all gear - Break my rule of not sleeping during the day – no choice, just pass out. Never in the field of human endeavour has Hoseman been so stuffed...

6hours 7 mins,max heart rate 138, average heart rate 117 – interestingly how low HR was, must be showing although was ridiculously low in comparison to any other sporting event I would normally do, other factors playing their part (altitude) and the reason why I had absolutely nothing in me...

So here I am- new altitude record for me – approximately 6,800m. But no time to celebrate have to:
(Point A) Squat, scrape snow, warm hands, fill jetboil, change legs, scrape, fill, watch, check, repeat...
Eventually get some boiling water – coffee, hot water bottles then for food. I am eating which is good, not enough liquids though even though getting Major's text's “shouting” at me to do so.

Wake up 2:00ish – tent a real mess now – freezing and full of falling frost. Find the head torch – Gromit sitting there with raised eyebrows wondering what this is all about. Go back to Point A above, repeat for coffee and hot water bottle. Sometimes the “P” bottle can be used as an interim warming measure for hands. Sleep then wake up 6:00ish.

So achieved in carrying all my gear unaided to Camp II and then slept well without any altitude ailments – think even Jamie will be pleased – have come a long way from my first attempt in 2006.
Now can skedaddle back to rest at ABC (in preparation for doing it all again for Camp III) – Gromit now shaking his head!

Have been departing camp around 8:15 ish – always a lot to do before this, but this time including unfreezing my contact lenses...
Thought I had lost my jetboil stove as had been battling with it during the 2:00am session – but thankfully found I had been using it as my pillow – adapt or die

GPS on the blink so can anyone Google (Earth) these Camp II coordinates and tell me (via comment) what height is returned?
N28 22 05.8
E85 45 09.5
Be interesting as actually camp is on a bucket of ice...
Another point re the impact of the altitude is that at this height the relative oxygen level is about 45% (sea level = 100%) - so quite a bit for the body to adapt too

Camp II view left

Camp II view middle

Camp II view right

Thursday, April 29

Competition – ha ha

“We hope you catch the drift...because now is not the time for words...
Now is the time for rest, relaxation and calming down before, during and after a demanding day”

Any ideas of where this quotation comes from – please add your answer here by way of a comment...
First Prize: Abbreviated 1 hour slide show of trip, Second Prize: 2 hour slide show of trip etc...

Day 16 Penitentes Camp – Camp I

Beautiful clear calm morning. Pack up load (CII) for Camp I. Load a little big! I'm going to be first up, but some trail visible. Have to prod a lot to find these freshly hidden crevasses – from recent wind...
Slowly surely ascend, but energy and concentration levels drop – 15 steps, rest...

Route upwards

Miss seeing a clearly visible wide crevasse
Drive my axe into thankfully firm snow (holds me firm as attached to harness I'm wearing)
...again that feeling of calm control...
Even take a photo...

By using Leki stick and ice axe, slowly lever myself out and swing legs back onto firm ground...
Its at least a meter wide, don't want to get too close to see how deep!

Looking over shoulder

Crime scene....

Looking left, crevasse clearly visible

Onwards and upwards, hey Major....

Looking below see Dav Summit group through Penitentes – they seem late

Last section a grind, but soon see Camp I. First up today, this section of the mountain was mine. Magic weather all morning...but changing ....again...

Camp I in sight

Chuffed to be here

Settle in, all required comforts here – windy 1:00 to 5:00pm – bit of a snooze...
Wind stops in night – two fabulous days in a row, both completely different.

It's certinly worth pushing through!

Wednesday, April 28

Day 15 ABC – Penitentes Camp

Great sleep, up early to try sort out bloging – get content but no pics
Prepare for Camp II carry. Only bamboo stakes a little short as some fell off yak that was bringing them up from BC. Take about 1h 48mins to ABC so fitness at his height improving.

Contrast of Penitentes

Camp I visible from "Birdie" rock

Snow starts at Depot, so rest to see what happens. Stops so get ready to cross Penitentes. Really enjoyed the “crossing” - its about trusting your crampons, ice screws and ice axe. Weather gets worse, but I'm in such a good mood does not really matter. I'm alone in the crossing and having to follow faint trail underneath the fresh snow. What an amazing world! Gromit says that I'm experiencing another paradigm shift!. Then out we pop and there is my Gemini tent waiting for me. All gear is in the tent – tad full but cozy. Dinner have spag bol and then custard – never eaten so well on the mountain. Still windy at 7:30, but less snow. Hopefully I won't need to make trail to Camp I.Very good chat to Mrs H – she is my star – keeps telling me about big rocks on other side of the Penitentes. I love her to bits - “simple”...

My Penitentes Camp & load to Camp I

Tuesday, April 27

Matured, Camp I, Crevasse pop (on day 13!) & Aged

Updates to follow subject to power – no the power outage is not due to incompetence (note rulers of Nepal & South Africa), but due to nature - clouds

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday – Those Magical Middle Ages! After a Lifetime of Learning, finding a Way, searching for a Purpose and gaining in Experience, finally you can afford to Expand yourself to cover the whole Canvas, fill the Voids and enrich your Personal Relationships – and enjoy life without the need to push more Boundaries! We love you.

Day 14 ABC – Rest

Slept well, Kono (Chizuko) spills the beans re my birthday – had dates from Chinese visa's
Rest, charge, treat, clean, write, update plan, rest...
See on Explorers Web that Miss Oh Eun-Sun (Korean) becomes first lady to complete all 14 8,000m peaks, having just climbed Annapurna.. Also see that unfortunately Abbey Sunderland has to put in for repairs and hence end her solo quest to sail around the world.

Sera & team “baked” me a cake – fabulous and the entire group sang happy birthday.

Discussed some climbs in Bolivia and Peru with Scott & Nicole – will be taking Claire to a few of their spots. If Scott & Nicole read this, I've just taken the “breakfast shot” for them – sorry Scott that we had to exclude you – just a bad hair day.

So resting over for the time being, will be going back up to Penitentes camp on Wednesday. Objective of this trip to establish camp II as high as possible – some tents have already been set up at approximately 6,850m, so likely that I will follow suit there...

THANK YOU for your messages and DONATIONS
I will respond individually on my return!

Monday, April 26

Day 13 Camp I to ABC - Slurp

Tempted to go up, but nothing with me for Camp II, therefore down I go. Also legs have definitely timed-out. Could also stay at 6,350m and soak up the altitude, but as I'm feeling so good better to get back down to ABC to rest, build and collect last load (from there). It was a key point for me to get here – is that hill too much for me? So very chuffed as now just have to repeat it twice more – that's the simplified version!

So first down – not the greatest idea. Follow wind blown boot/crampon scaring's. A little tentative, but no choice that I'm now up here. Feel that the steepness of the slope will allow me to fall forward enough to allow me to get my ice axe into the other side. Then the exit from the crevasses can be planned a little more leisurely. I move down in the ready position. What are the odds? I'm in the game already. I have a small chance to be ok...

SLURP, I'm in. Just up to my waste. Everything stops. Is there more? Will the bit holding me up collapse? It feels sticky.. I'm surprisingly calm and relaxed. My ice axe is pegged into the ice – a good sign, as at least that came naturally. I think of Claire, Keep Calm & Carry On. Has become a sort of mantra for me on this trip. No wonder it was so successful in the war. Well as easily as I went in, I got out. I had only pushed through half the width, it was quite stable and compact around me. Legs were dangling, how does that work – empty pack providing support. I just pulled myself out – again as Claire's meercat says “Simple” - will also adopt that expression for the trip – keep it simple, uncomplicated, basic, as nature intended. Its very easy to overcomplicate everything...
So now its Crevasses 1 – Hoseman 0. Not ever sure how I can change those statistics to go in my favour – start filling up the crevasses...? Perhaps 1 hour counting my Lama beads.

But I'm only halfway down, it does though get better lower down. Again no choice (reminder due to my objectives!) Are the odds better now?

... There's my red Penitentes Camp tent. Not sure if my legs are tired from the “slurp” or from yesterdays carry, but I'm glad to be down!

Cross Penitentes, rest for a short while at Depot camp (warm, no wind) and then back down to ABC. Meet a very nice Basque guy on the trail – new Jamie and Inaki. Another lady Basque friend of his is trying to become the first female to complete all 14 8,000m peaks. She will be on her way here soon. So there will definitely be someone going for the true summit this season. Everyone else intentions remain unclear or guarded at this stage.

Some of you will know that 13 is one of my lucky numbers – in-fact any combination of 1 or 3 is good for me. Today is day 13!

Sunday, April 25

Day 12 Penitentes Camp - Camp I (Important target achieved)

3h 53 slog up to Camp I.

Approximately 6,000m looking back

Looking upwards (glacier) towards Camp I

Crevasse fields start...

Crumbling ice walls to the right

Looking down - slowly but surely gaining height

Last grind up to Camp I

My icy view from Camp I

My Camp I - really chuffed to have chased the negatives away

Location: 6,352m N28 22 57.8 E85 44 57.6
Very happy, as this is the first time in a long time that I've been up at 6,300m with a full load. Approach: 20 steps rest, if steeper 10 steps then rest.....for about 500m vertical. See many crevasses and luckily no punch thru's! Conditions have been difficult so this years camp I is lower than when I was here in 2007. Camp III is in a fixed location on the North ridge, so one really needs to spread the height and distances gained (Camp I & II) out as equally as possible.
Conditions are just ok to get tent up, but very changeable. Good to be back and to have beaten the negatives...
3 sets of sleeps during the night. Temp drops to -15 Celsius. The inside of tent has its own “environment” of snow/frost forming from my breathing. Boil water for hot water bottle during each awake “session”. Plan for summit night/day. Notice soon that no wind! Look outside – would be a perfect pre-summit night! Start to build a checklist for the occasion!
On forth awakening, find a beautiful day.

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