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.