Kathmandu - 30th March - 8th April
Monkey Temple and Garden of Dreams (2 weeks before earthquake)
Update - 29th May 2015
*** Expedition cancelled after earthquake on 25th April. READ below. ***
EARTHQUAKE HIT 25th APRIL - 2.15pm
The full story and update of the trip will follow shortly. I'm still processing everything and coming to terms with it.
Summiting Everest was just not meant to be but everything happens for a reason and I am extremely lucky that I have family and friends that love me. (OK so it takes an earthquake for them to show it - but still.... they love me.)
As you may now be aware an earthquake hit Nepal on 25th April 2015. We were at Advanced Base Camp 6,400m when it hit at 2.15pm. Holding on to a little yellow tent thinking this is it certainly puts life into perspective. We headed down the following day only to experience another life changing moment.
We waited at Base Camp 5,200m for the next 8 days awaiting evacuation - leaving on the 5th of May on the road to Lhasa. We flew out of Lhasa to Kathmandu on the 8th of May.
I was lucky to get a flight home on the same day 8th of May - Dragonair and Qantas were amazing in help organise it.
I spent the first week back in bed recovering physically and the next week evaluating life when Raf said come climb in Bolivia. As crazy as I thought that idea was - I decided climbing and laughing with friends is where I needed to be.
So I head off to Bolivia on 2nd June 2015. Crazy I know - but you only live once. So LIVE !!! You can follow the climb here
27th March 2015
This is it...
I head off on Sunday on a once in a life time journey - to attempt to fulfil a dream and stand on top of the world - to summit Everest. A lot of people think climbing Everest is about climbing a mountain but it's not, it's the ultimate spiritual journey.
As Edmund Hillary said 'It's not the mountain that we conquer but ourselves.'
I don't know what will happen but I know that I will not sit around for the rest of my life and wonder 'what if'. I believe in fate. I will go as far as my mind and body will allow me but in the end what ever is meant to be will be.
EXPEDITION 7th April - 5th June 2015
Summit Climb will be posting daily dispatches from the mountain for anyone interested in seeing if I'm still alive.
I know you care !!! Surely...
CLIMBING WITH : Summit Climb
The highest mountain in ASIA and the WORLD.
North Side - (through Tibet)
1st April 2015
Rooster crowed at 4.35am (getting earlier), followed closely again by pack of dogs. - ahhhhhhhhh
Spent the day walking around, taking in the sights and acclimatising. Yep at a measly height of 1,400m I feel the altitude ! Headache kicking in and stairs are getting harder. God help me when I hit 2,000m (don't worry about 8,000m). ha ha ha
Thurs 2nd April
I finally slept 12hrs straight (this is more like it - feeling much better).
I'm at the Monkey Temple - sitting back at the Roof Top Terrace Restaurant having a hot lemon and honey drink, taking in the sites overlooking all of Kathmandu.
Sometimes it feels like just yesterday I was here. The smells, smoke and noises haven't changed.
I met a guy from Bangalow NSW at breakfast this morning (what a small world indeed).
4pm - relaxing at Pumpkinickel Cafe having a pastry (oops this is becoming a daily ritual). Bought a book on Everest - easy read and written with humour. He says"mediocre climbers have succeeded where expert climbers have failed" - there may be hope for me yet.
Fri 3rd April
5pm - Pouring rain. Storm just started. Thunder. Cleaning streets. Clearing dust.
Spent day by the pool at the Hyatt, so this is a nice finish to the day.
Sat 4th April
I've been walking, walking, walking and now I can run up the stairs to the Penthouse. phew 5days ha ha ha who says it doesn't take time to acclimatise.
Just read that the North side is much harder than the South side but I keep telling myself that the North just kept calling me - so I hope I've made the right decision. I probably could have arrived 2 days later as I'm now ready and eager to meet the rest of the team.
4.30pm - Massive wind storm just hit. it sounds like the windows will smash and roof will cave in (except it's concrete). Bloody hell. Soup weather.
Mon 6th April
THIS IS IT - Moved into Hotel Shakti.
Deha and a sherpa have just come to my room to do a gear check. Shit what a mess. I have gear all over the room. I need more purification tablets. Damn. Apparently there is no boiled water at high camps only warm and hence you need purification tablets. Appears I will take EVERYTHING else I brought with me. hmmmm They say yaks will carry everything to ABC (6,400m) - so bring it all. 3 duffel bags. Of course my hands are my greatest concern. Time to pray. If I think of the enormity of it all - I'll be sick.
CALM the mind... ah better.
Tues 7th April - Official START of the EXPEDITION
Have started meeting most of the team. Everyone seems really nice. Team dinner tonight.
I can't believe some people have arrived to climb Everest and are today running around trying to get gear (jackets, boots, ice axes etc) really?? Can't understand that people don't have all their gear. This is Everest we're talking about. Team meeting tomorrow 8am
Thurs 9th April - IT BEGINS
The rest of the team left really early this morning. I got up at 4am to wave them good-bye as they headed off by road making their way to Tibet and on to Base Camp.
Diamon, Roland and I have opted to take the optional Lhasa tour. We fly to Lhasa (TIBET) this afternoon.
30th March 2015
Just arrived in Kathmandu - ahhhhhhhhhhh. It's nearly midnight and lucky to make it to the hotel alive. I had forgotten what it was like but it's all come flooding back to me now.
Checked in at hotel (where I've stayed before) BUT... this time they proudly tell me I have the PENTHOUSE on the 6th floor. What the @#%# ??!!!! They do not have lifts and did I mention I have 60kg of luggage. 3 bags and 2 backpacks !!! 6 floors !!! I made it to the 2nd floor before I thought this might take all night. Did they bloody think I needed to train for Everest now?? In the middle of the night?? Thank God for the nice doorman. He made it look easy. ha ha ha
And then... They tell me the place is under renovations and there will be noise but only between 9am and 5pm. In other words - ALL DAY !!!
And just to top it off let me tell you that the penthouse is obviously the only room that has not seen any renovations in the last 40yrs. In fact I'm not sure the sheets have been changed.
WELCOME TO KATHMANDU
Marg & Ted - day 2
31st March 2015
Ah everything looks brighter in the light of day. I woke at 5am sharp to the crowing of a bloody rooster followed exactly at 5.10am by a pack of dogs trying to kill each other. Thank God the penthouse is high. ha ha ha Then I realised it has a roof top terrace. Well roof top anyhow and a view over all of Kathmandu. Although you cant see much because of the smog. lol..
BUT the one thing you can see is the prayer flags on the buildings in front and then that magical feeling hits you. You're in NEPAL - wow. The beginning of another adventure.
I would like to take this opportunity and thank Shihan Grant Ratcliffe whose support and understanding in helping me prepare both physically and mentally has been amazing.
As I said to him 'If I make it - it's because of him. If I don't it's because of him'.
'oh no pressure at all' he says and we laugh.
Lhakpa Tendu Sherpa
Chhonga Karma Sherpa
Ang Dorjee Sherpa
Ngang Nuri Sherpa
DREAM as if you will live forever.
LIVE as if you will die tomorrow.
Finally, I'm posting this photo incase Ted and I are lost on the mountain - frozen in time.
This is our missing person photo you can print out when you come looking for us. Surely, someone will come. Someone... Anyone...
LHASA - TIBET 3,650m
Every now and then I make GREAT decisions. Taking the Lhasa option add on was awesome. Whilst the rest of the team took the cheaper option of travelling by road and staying at cheaper accommodation along the way - Diamon, Roland and I paid an extra $2,500 USD and flew to Lhasa from Kathmandu where we met our private guide Tashi and our driver Pinto.
WOW WOW WOW !!!!
We had the most amazing time. As soon as we arrived at the airport we were taken to this tiny Tibetan Restaurant where we had sweet milk tea (a local specialty) and Tibetan noodles. yum yum yum. Our first real Tibetan experience.
An hour later we arrived in the heart of Lhasa (70km from the airport). All along the way we stayed at 4 star hotels - what a great surprise. I was picturing that we would be staying in little guest houses with no electricity or shower. I had packed sleeping bag and pee bottles. ha ha ha
Now this is the way to travel to Base camp.
25th October, 2015
It's now 6 months since the earthquake on Everest.
A lot has happened in the past 6 months. On one hand it seems like only yesterday and on the other it feels like it was a life time ago and that I wasn't really there - and yet it's only 6 months. The new release of "EVEREST" the movie is out and everyone keeps asking if I've watched it. The answer is - No. The movie is a dramatised version of the 1996 Mt Everest disaster where 8 people died (Into Thin Air was written shortly after in 1997). It's not that it's scary to watch but having been there - a movie just doesn't seem appropriate nor real.
The conversation that took place at the exact time the earthquake hit went like this - I said 'F@ck, f#ck, F*ck ! - what was that?' Harrison replied 'F#ck - earthquake - F@ck' to which I replied 'F#ck !!!' That should give you an idea of what really happens when you think 'shiiiiiiit!!!' and your communications skills and vocabulary disappear.
I'm now at a stage where I think my ability to communicate and type have returned. lol... So below is the update from diary entries at the time of the climb.
EVEREST - Tibet
Tuesday 14th April 2015 Base Camp 5,200m
OMG it's really happening. We've arrived and I have just finished setting up my tent. WOW WOW WOW
I'm so glad I bought 3 skinny mats and 2 mattresses. My tent is like a Palace and I can spread out like a double bed without being cold. Smart Marg ! Basia, the other girl on the team has carpet and lamps in her tent. ha ha ha the girls know how to set up home. Everyone else bought only 1 mat (they were only $10 each). Bargain
Harrison just popped by to see how things are. Impressed with my set up - ha ha ha I'm actually amazed by how well I feel at this altitude. Knock on wood this keeps up. Must stay hydrated.
I'm SO HAPPY I came north side. No matter what happens - so far this has been a dream ride to Base Camp.
Update to follow...
The three of us had only met the day before - but little did we know that we would become friends for life as we bonded on our Lhasa experience. (Roland would unfortunately die 2yrs later whilst attempting Everest Sth side - but he did so LIVING and following his dreams . I'm glad I got to meet him)
Of course only hours into arriving at 3,650m I felt sick - altitude started to really kick in. Normal when you go up 2,400m in one day. ahhhh
Sat 11th April
Much better this morning. Pumped 3.5L of water down last night and another litre this morning. Sure you pee every hour and the diamox gives you the weirdest dreams but you do get good sleep. Today we head to Shigatse @ 3,800m.
So anyhow - I've had a great time so far. Lhasa is amazing, buzzing with colour and people. Buildings a mix of 7th century architecture mixed with modern, flashing fluorescent lights. Colour, colour, colour. However, you definitely need to wear a mask where ever you go and suck on lollies. The air is sooooo dry - not to mention the pollution. Yesterday we went on a tour of Potala Palace which is the winter palace of the Dalai Lama (just like you see in the movies). Where he sat on the throne as a little boy and where he studied. Like having time travelled for a moment in time. Tashi is a great guide and his knowledge is amazing - not to mention he takes us to the best local restaurants. After lunch we visited the Jokhang Temple - the most sacred building in the area. Monks come from all around once a year to gather and pray. Tashi says he saw 10,000 monks gather one year. WOW! Of course I was wiped after such a big morning so I caught a rickshaw back o the hotel where I crashed before getting ready for our dinner and dance show.
Sun 12th April
WOW what a day. What can I say... I thought I was going to DIE !!! First person ever to be airlifted from Shagatze @ 3,800m. The drive was only 5.5hrs but every hour I got progressively worse and worse. Even Tashi said; 'I thought we wold need to take you to a hospital.' ha ha ha I said; 'So did I' Got to love altitude. Without fail it hits me like a freight train every time. (what do you expect from an Aussie living at sea level - lol...) However, we arrived and went straight to a restaurant for lunch. I thought I would pass out right there. Thank God for Roland (did I mention he's a doctor). I was burning up. He went to the bathroom and wet my buff. Soaking wet, put it on my forehead and WOW yes - that is what I needed. A freezing buff on the back of my neck and head. I ordered a coke and nearly, instantly started to feel like a new person. Even managed to go to the Monastery (15th century) and walk around for hours. We walked past the markets where we bought REAL Tibetan flags. Even a blessed good luck charm from a Monk. Roland was buying every bit of good luck he could get. ha ha ha
Standing outside the Temple with Roland when this lady struggles up the stairs to the bell. I look at her and smile. She says; 'hard to breath'. I laugh and say 'YES it is'. Then she says 'aren't you cold??'. I'm standing there in a t-shirt and have a wet buff around my neck to cool off. 'No I'm hot' I say and I look at what she's wearing. She says 'I have 3 coats and a gortex and I'm still cold'. I look at Roland and realise he has 3 layers on too and I laugh. Then as we walk back to the hotel, people stare and start talking. hmmm I say to Roland 'Everyone is so rugged up and I'm wearing a t-shirt. There's something wrong with this picture'. 'Yes there is' he says 'But it's not you is it?' ha ha ha
Mon 13th April - NEW TINGRI 4,300m
We arrived yesterday. A very small town. The rest of the team is in Old Tingri. My watch say 17.5*C but it feels MUCH colder than that. I'm writing with gloves on.
The road here was pretty good until we stopped for lunch in a little town and then we headed off on winding roads (you know how I love bends) OMG !!! I think I have an ulcer from stressing and hanging on for dear life. Pinto (the driver) drives toooooo fast I've decided. ahhhhhh Anyhow - we reached the 'pass' at 5,200m where we stayed for 30min. Much to my amazement I felt pretty good. Now at 4,300m and feeling normal. Happy days.
Woke this morning to snow covered trees. It's still snowing. We were going to do some trekking to a monastery on a mountain for some exercise but Tashi says it's too dangerous - too slippery. Thank God because I'm COLD !!!! So here I am tucked up in bed again. Good place to acclimatise I've decided. Read, sleep, keep warm and hydrate. The guys are going for a drive but not me. I'm petrified. The roads are wet - Pinto and the guys love speed. I would at least like to make it to Base Camp.
Tomorrow it is.