As you can see from my '7 Summits' page...
I NEVER did retire.
Once again - an amazing adventure.
I would survive the greatest challenge of my life and meet some of the most amazing people alone the way.
Every cold, hard, excruciating step would be worth the end result - Base Camp.
Words alone cannot describe the euphoric feeling of standing at the gateway - the entrance to Everest itself.
It is however, the journey that makes the memories. The highs and the lows, the laughter and the tears, the friends and the support...
Lamjura (3500m to Ringmo (2500m)
7.15am start. Everything was frozen including my brain.
By 10.30am it had thawed enough for the tears to run. Deepak was basically running down a mountain of rocks. ahhhhhh
11am arrived in Junbesi for lunch (2675m). Off again at 12 on a nice gentle ascent. Actually - batteries started to kick in and I was off and running after an hour warm up.
I actually kept up! Miracles. Yes - it was downhill. Then straight up after the river. He said it was an hour climb and we should arrive by 5pm. I nearly cried again. Then I nearly killed him when it only took 15min (oh very funny). We arrived at Ringmo at 4.15pm. Another 9hr day. OMG!
Ringmo (2500m) to Kharikhola (2050m)
Yep - up at 5.30am. Dressed and packed. Breakfast at 6.30am. Off on the road at 7am.
I have the routine down pat now.
Up we climb - steep for 1hr. Feeling better now. Laughing. Deepak says 'Enjoy it. It's your present to you'. And... I laugh and laugh hysterically. Oh my God! I will never give myself another present. Anyhow, we then headed down down down through a river of frozen rocks trying not to slide over the edge whilst non stop trains of mules attempted to climb without slipping over the edge. 'Stay on the safe side. Stick to the mountain' shouts Deepak. Oh now he doesn't want to lose me. I am obviously keeping him amused.
10.45am and we have arrived in Nunthala (2200m) OK everyone is starting to lose the plot here
We climbed steeply after lunch for another 6hrs arriving at Kharikhola (2050m) at 4.30pm. Another 9.30hr day. I'm losing my sense of humour! This is INSANE!!!
Enough time to unpack, change before you freeze to death, have dinner and be in bed by 7.30pm TO DO IT ALL AGAIN!!! Mud, ice, rocks, heat, mosquitos, dust and cold. What more could I ask for???!!!
Deepak is doing his best to keep me amused. I'm over this itinerary! 6hr hikes my arse! Maybe for a marathon runner. For a fit person - at least 7hrs. For me 8hrs.
I NEED SLEEP! Heck - a rest day wouldn't go astray.
CLIMBING TEAM - Private Trek
CLIMBING WITH : Mountain Delights Treks and Expedition (highly recommend them)
Owner : Ram Sapkota (Kamal)
Namche (3441) to Phakding (2652m)
Leave early - 7.45am. Not feeling crash hot. 'Is it possible to feel worse on the way down?' I ask 'No' says Deepak. Wrong I think....
Went very very slowly. Trekked to Pakding. 5hrs
I do like this place. Nice hotel with big windows and a lot of sun. Ate macaroni cheese (yummy) and laid in the sun - fell asleep.
One day to go (I will never walk again after that) I swear !!!
Ring has finally fallen off - first time ever.
How to lose 10kg in 3 easy weeks.
Phakding (2652m) - Lukla (2805m)
Only a 3hr trek to Lukla. hmmmm not bad at all. yeeeeha!
Sat in Illy cafe enjoying a real cappuccino and a chocolate cake (oh my God !!!!!!!!!!!) in their sun room. Oh yeah life is good.
A nice way to finish.
Only problem is that there haven't been any flights out of Lukla in 4 days - Holy sh#t!!! everyone is running around organising helicopter flights out.
Fingers crossed maybe there's one tomorrow or the next day - otherwise like everyone else here I will have to take a helicopter out so I don't miss my connecting flights home.
Ahhh better check my insurance. This could get expensive.
Oh well - back to chocolate cake.
A little while later I change cafes and bump into everyone I have been trekking with along the way. It's New Year's Eve they say. So it is.
What the heck - time for a beer. Deepak comes down and we enjoy a couple of beers with everyone. We head back to the hotel, have a few more and dinner. Then I lie in bed wondering why I had those beers - ahhhhh
LUKLA AIRPORT. Flying to Kathmandu
We're up and packed by 6am. Have to be at the airport 6.30am. There might or might not be flights - but we have to be there and wait - just in case.
We get checked in - make it through security - boarding pass in hand. Deepak says don't get too excited - we may be back at the hotel in 8hrs. what???
BUT - the first flight in 5 days arrives at Lukla and the airport erupts in cheers. Tim hugs the policeman - he says he's hungover (got to bed at 2am) but I think he's still pissed. Very funny.
As the first flight takes off - again the airport erupts in cheers and I realise it's not because planes are flying again but because it didn't crash on take off.
Cody says - guess what we're doing on the first day of the new year. Catching a flight out of the most dangerous airport in the world.
NOT HELPING you know.
OK - we're on board - I pray and pray and pray. Holy crap we're off and we make it - yeahhhhhhh everyone claps - heck it's not like we've landed or anything - are these people crazy. All is going well - and then... a gust of wind tumbles this little piece of tin like a toy and everyone gasps and hangs on. I pray and pray and pray.
The pilot - takes control back and people start laughing. That panicky - we are still alive laugh. I pray and pray and pray.
We finally land and the plane erupts again. This time I smile and breath for the first time. Phew.........
Arrive at the hotel - with a real bath and have my first - bath/shower (OK only warm) but still great.
So here I am - Kathmandu.
Showered, fed and semi warm (actually fingers still frozen as I type).
I feel semi human and it's time to pack as I leave tonight.
Once again - it has been an amazing adventure.
Thank you for the emails and snide comments - yeah yeah very funny... (I know who you are)
It's official - the theory has been proven - I am seriously allergic to the COLD !!!!!!!!
Heck I'm allergic to climbing mountains or any other strenuous physical activity.
From now on - I am RETIRED !!!!! champagne and massages and sun.
Kharikhola (2050m) to Surkey (2400m)
Left Kharikhola at 7am. Yep nothing new.
But this time I was focussed. I was not stopping till I got to the hotel.
Yep 5hrs - steep ascent. Yep - 5hrs non stop up up up. At 12md stopped, bought a coke and started again - steep descent. Down down down - bloody rocks!
Arrived in Surkey at 3.15pm. Yes!! the earliest finish yet. Happy days.
DATES:12th December 2012 - 1st January 2013
Lobuche (4910m) to Gorak Shep (5200m)
Today I rugged up and put on my windproof pants and jacket (I have no idea why I didn't have them on yesterday - lack of oxygen to the brain obviously). I NEVER WANT TO FEEL THAT COLD AGAIN - EVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVER !!!
Today we left at 9am and trekked to Gorak Shep. Only 3.30hrs - but my God they were a long 3.30hrs at snails pace with the wind blowing. Deepak keeps saying he's never seen weather so good in December. Holy Sh#t!!!!! It's -15* and we're heading for -20* at Base Camp.
Inside the rooms is at least -10*. The sleeping bag is frozen on the outside. (Thank God for my trusty sleeping bag - the only thing keeping me alive at night). I know it's not the oxygen (as there is none). Others are waking up gasping for air and having panic attacks. Thank God for Diamox.
The NZ girl that has been travelling all the way from Jiri had to pull out this morning - she got quite sick last night. People are being rescued left, right and centre. The Australian couple I met a few days ago just got rescued from Gorak Shep. I watched the helicopter attempt the first rescue - but too much wind and had to leave. They were out there for 3hrs waiting (I thought they would die from hypothermia instead). It was successful on the second attempt but we watched as it nearly went into the mountain. ahhhh
People are turning back. One day to go - this close and they are all turning back. Fingers crossed. One more day...
There's a Korean guy who just made it - he arrives hugging a Spanish guy 'I love you - I love you - thank you - he saved my life - I nearly died out there - he saved my life - I love you' says the Korean. He's not well - he's clutching his head. He needs to get off the mountain.
'No no - I will go to Kalapattar (5550m) in the morning and take a photo naked. I brought my tripod - that is why I come on this trip'.
Lack of oxygen will do this to you.
'Why don't you go to bed?' I ask. 'It's too cold in the room' he says. Right - and he wants to get naked on a mountain. lol...
'How do I call a helicopter?' he asks Deepak. Yep - he's lost it - we laugh but the next morning he's taken off the mountain half dead.
EVEREST BASE CAMP - 5400M
WOW WOW WOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I made it ! 10.30am
Amazing, Fantastic, Wonderful.
You would think I just summited Everest itself - ha ha ha
Pete (Singapore), Nick (NZ) and Pete & Emily (Aust) followed Deepak and myself to Base Camp. They didn't have a guide and people were getting lost along the way. Pete had no face covering (MAD!!) so he had to wear a t-shirt over his head. Others got down on the ground to stop the wind from blowing them over as the rocks started to tumble down. INSANE!
I however, crawled my way at snails pace all the way - every inch of my body covered.
The 5 of us made it!!!!!!!!
Pete was screaming like a little child and my face hurt from smiling sooooo much. Ted was also excited - he finally made an appearance from his waterproof sleeping bag to find himself at Base Camp. The Australian flag came out. Of course Pete & Emily borrowed it for their photos too.
The perfect day. It was a great moment. We had been following each other from Jiri and WE MADE IT !!!
We had a group shot taken. Unforgettable.
Worth every hard, cold step.
Sleep in - acclimatisation day. hmmm
Read, eat and sleep.
WOW !!!!! slept 13hrs straight last night (asleep at 6pm and up at 7am)
Deepak just asked if I wanted to climb to the lookout. ha ha ha ha
I'm going back to bed.
Namche (3441m) to Debuche (3750m)
8am start. It was meant to be 5hrs to Tengboche (3860m) but we walked a little further to Debuche.
Nice and warm day. hmmmm
But... it was all up up up all the way. I've only peed once in 9hrs - ahhhhh
I'm trying to drink. Now I will die of dehydration!!!! There is no chance of survival up here !!!!!!!
Kathmandu (1350m) to Jiri (1905m)
We headed off this morning at 7am. They said it would take 9hrs to Jiri and they were right. Little did I know - that is 9hrs to travel 110km. I actually paid extra to take a 4WD and not the 'local bus' as this was certain death. Well - let me tell you - as I hit the roof for the 4th time I was sure I had concussion (I was not sure this was a safer option). No kidding - the guy kept hitting these little speed humps (fair enough they were hard to see) and I kept hitting the roof. Oh my God - we would not make the start of this trek. Little did I realise that Deepak (who was sitting next to me in the middle) had actually flown into the centre and cut his nose and had a massive lump above his eye. Yep we were going to die!!!
But no - we arrived in Jiri at 4pm. It was COLD !!!!
Staying at Sagarmatha Lodge and Restaurant. Clean enough but the windows don't actually seal!! ahhhhh (Did I mention it was cold??)
Deepak came by and asked if I wanted to go for a short walk before dinner. Sure.
Well - we got talking and walking and walking before he said we should turn back. It was dark. Thank God I took my head torch. We laughed that dinner would be cold, the kitchen closed, probably the lodge too with the lights out. We would have to sleep outside. I had sherpa knitted gloves - I should be right. So much for the short walk.
Debuche (3750m) to Dingboche (4350m)
Left at 8.15am. Not so steep but the air was thin and FREEZING. Really FREEZING !!!!!!!!!!
Arrived at 12.20pm.
Met some Kiwis along the way, travelling with a guy from Singapore (Pete) - verrry funny. He asked how many layers I had on. ha ha ha NOT enough!!!! I'm an ice block. He on the other hand is trekking in only shorts 'skins'. what???
He screams 'OK let's do this f#@king sh*t. 1/2hr. We can do it!!!!!'
The Kiwi (Nick) says 'Come on Aussie let's dot it. We have to make Australia Day'
Christ - at this rate I won't even make it to Xmas !!!!!!!! ahhhhh
We arrive - and I've gone all out - thermals and down jacket. hmmmmmm nice hot soup.
We were supposed to trek to Chhukung (4710m) just for fun and to acclimatise. ha ha ha
I decided sleep, water and warmth is what I needed.
Have upt the Diamox to a full tablet. Felt like crap last night. Much better today.
Spend the night laughing with two guys from Denmark. Xmas Eve in Nepal - freezing out butts off trying to hug a fire that isn't even warming our toes, whilst drinking hot water and trying to suck on any bit of oxygen in the air.
hmmm what's everyone else doing Xmas Eve.
Why are we here??
Kinja (1600m) to Lamjura (3500m)
We headed off at 7am this morning - early start.
Up and up and up we climbed. Steadily - up. Never ending. Thank God he paces really well.
We arrived at Sete (2400m) at 10.30am and stopped for lunch. At 11.30am we were off again. Up and up. Not too bad actually. Nice and slow. We laughed and laughed with him telling jokes all the way. I told him about Alex and the crazy things I do for my birthday. 'Is it your birthday?'. oh funny guy! 'No - it's my Xmas present to myself' Although.... he could be right. This is crazy.
Finally arrived in Lamjura (3500m) at 3.30pm. Only an 8.5hr day.
It snows up here and it's bloody FREEZING !!!!! ahhhhhhh
Where's my beach??
Phakding (2652) to Namche (3441m)
Left at 8am - climbed following the river for 3hrs and then 2 more hours straight up. Non stop.
We made it by 1pm - just in time for a nice hot lunch.
This is more like it.
Deurali (2705m) to Kinja (1600m)
We started off at 8.45am after 12hrs sleep. Felt much better. Still tired but ready.
'Look at your ring' he says - 'you need to eat' He's worried that my ring will fall off - ha ha ha I'm more worried that I will wither away in the COLD and DIE!!!
We were meant to be climbing down to Kinja (1600m) for lunch and then straight up to Sete (2400m). A 6hr walk it said. I will kill Ram I swear. It took 5hrs (no kidding) to get to Kinja. Unless I ran down a mountain of rocks there was no way I could go faster.
I just stare at Deepak. 'I do not plan this and I don't write the itinerary. I just follow it' he says.
'So it's Ram I should kill' He just laughs.
Thank God he's smart! 'I really think we should spend the night in Kinja or we will arrive in the night. It's still 4hrs up the mountain. If you push this early into a long trek you will not make the end' says Deepak Like I was going to argue. I was absolutely stuffed after 5hrs. No way I would make a 4hr steep climb.
Ah finally lunch and then a few hours to actually relax before dinner and SLEEP!
'You can go for a short walk if you like' he says 'What???!!!' 'Who me???' "Are you MAD??!!!" A short walk after a 5hr trek - ha ha ha. I swear my feet are bruised.
'How are you at massages then?' he says. ha ha ha
I'm sitting having a very nice cup of hot water when Deepak comes up and says 'OK one last chance' 'What a massage' I said. 'No a short walk" 'NO!!!!!!!!"
He's seriously insane. He just laughs. SO Temba (the very nice, quiet porter) and Deepak head off.
It's 3.45pm. hmmmm time for a little nap I think.
Dingboche (4350m) to Lobuche (4910m)
We're off to Lobuche about 5hrs.
Thermals are on.
Where's SANTA ????
Oh my God !!!
Officially the coldest day of my life. I knew things were bad when I actually couldn't pack - my fingers were frozen (an yep - I had 3 pairs of gloves on). I've never felt such pain. Temba had to help me pack - fingers refused to work. (Others would go on to say they hadn't had feeling in their fingers to 3 days) what????!!!!
Is it possible to get frost bite on your arse (I think I have). Really !!
Seriously - I thought I would die out there. By the time we reached Lobuche all I could do was cry hysterically.
Deepak asked if I was OK - NO!!! (actually I said Yes)
'Why are you crying?' he asked all concerned.
'I thought I was going to DIE!!!!!!' 'why?' he asks what???!!!
"Because I was going to freeze to death' !!!!!!!! He laughs 'Don't worry - I know the details of your will - I know to get your body back'
I will kill him. NOT funny!
The only thing that saved the day was that Santa did come. Through the tears - I managed 'I want my Xmas present please'
He laughed and ran to his bag. He said 'You can't think of anything but you remembered your Xmas present'
Of course I did. It was the only thing that kept me going. Chocolate biscuits and a snickers bar from Deepak. And... a nice cup of tea.
My head was ready to explode. I finally warmed up and slept in my clothes. Too scared to get changed. I knew if air touched my skin I would turn to ICE!
Nest Xmas - definitely prawns, oysters and champagne by the beach - in the SUN!!!
Surkey (2400m) to Phakding (2652m)
Oh my God!!!! I thought the tea house would blow over in the middle of the night. No kidding. It was blowing and I kept bolting upright having a heart attack thinking the roof was caving in. It finally calmed and I fell asleep at 5am. ahhhh Lucky I told Deepak to not even think of waking me before 8am. But... I was up at 7am and happy to escape.
We started off at 8.45am.
Not too bad a trail today.
We joined the path from Lukla today- so a couple more trekkers. EASY! Well... anything is easy after the last 6days of torture.
We arrived in Phakding at 12.45pm. Yeeeeha!
And... I had my first shower. A HOT shower!
Feeling semi human again. Definitely need sleep though. We head to Namche tomorrow.
Debuche (3750m) to Namche (3441)
Left at 9am. I refuse to start any earlier.
Absolutely still bloody freezing !!! Deepak says 'You're kidding - you just came from Base Camp'
I'm still bloooooooooody COLD!! I'm sure I will never thaw out in this life time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
5hrs later we arrive in Namche.
tired tired tired
cold cold cold
Bumped into Pete (Singapore) and Nick (NZ) - small world. Pete nearly fell of a glazier and nearly died on his way down. Nick has just stopped throwing up.
Sat around the fire with Cody and Tim. No dinner - no appetite.
Stopped Diamox. hmmmmmmmm maybe not a good idea.
Gorak Shep (5200m) to Debuche (3750m)
We return to insanity !
Tim (the American guy is sick) - Cody, his friend is calling him a baby until he realises he might die. Their guide kicks into action - get him up, take the damn medication, get him off the mountain. Cody would later say he saw the helicopter arriving at their meeting spot and thought - Oh heck what do I tell his mother. However, Tim would recover 2 days later and have a beer. We would continue to follow each other until we got on the same flight home.
Emily and Nick also got sick and woke throwing up. Take the damn Diamox. It would take them 2 days and reaching Namche to recover.
Me??? - ha ha ha I had been on Diamox the whole trip. hee hee hee (no t-shirt to say "I did it without Diamox").
We leave Gorak Shep at 7am wearing everything I own. It's freezing, blowing a gale and we walked and walked and walked. The wind picked up - we were meant to trek to Periche (4250) but we arrived there at 12.30pm (5.30hrs straight). So - we continued trekking for another 4hrs arriving back at Debuche (3750m).
A 10hr day - INSANE !!!!!
OK - so Deepak admits he got greedy and pushed it. Yeah yeah very funny. I told him I would throw rocks at him tomorrow if he went too far. Of course there is no way I could actually catch him. He kept at least 50m in front. He says by 3pm he realised oops pushed it too far - but we can't stop now. 'I know to always keep in front when I've gone too far' Smart guy. Death is upon him I swear.
And so it ends...
A moment in time that will last for ever.
The amazing spirituality of standing on a mountain above the clouds.
To have accomplished a dream is to have lived. So go confidently in the direction of your dreams - plan for a miracle and never, ever give up.
Jiri (1905m) to Deurali (2705m)
5:30hrs walk it said!!! Bloody hell. !!!!!!!!!
We started at 8.30am up the mountain for 2hrs (not too bad) nice and slow and then down for 2hrs for lunch. I estimated we had another 1.5 or 2hrs max left. Yeah right... Up and up we climbed (similar to Mt Warning), except 2hrs later we were nowhere! 3hrs later still climbing. ahhhh
4hrs later we arrived! 5.30pm (I didn't know my own name any more). I couldn't even cry - there were no tears. 8hrs trekking. A 9hr day. 'I must be very slow' I said. 'No, not at all' he replied. 'But look at the itinerary, it says 5.30hrs' 'Oh that's a miss print' WHAT???!!!!!!!
Smart I guess. Had I known the first day would be a 9hr marathon, I would have flown in and taken my chances crashing into the mountain at Lukla.
I didn't fly in so that I could acclimatise but in the first day I had walked up to the same altitude as Lukla. Ahhhhhh
I was absolutely freezing. Really freezing and tired. Dead tired. 'You must eat' says Deepak. NO! 'You must' Ok ½ plate of rice. Seriously couldn't stomach anything. 'Im going to kill Ram when I get back' I told Deepak. 'why?' he asked. 'He told me this was good to acclimatise' I said. 'It is' he replied. 'I"M DYING" !!!!!!!! I shout.
Deepak nearly spat his tea across the table as he laughed. Oh yeah laugh away I'm going to bed to die.