5 months after getting back from Everest in 2015 we had a beautiful baby girl we called Charlie and everything changed! I could not go to Everest in 2016 for obvious reasons which was good that I got to spend time with Charlie in those early months but also disappointing in the fact that I missed out on joining the expedition with my climbing buddies from 2015, Paul and Kim, plus IMG guide Justin and the rest of the IMG gang. When they were on their summit rotation I stayed up all night and watched their SPOT beacons reporting in every 10 minutes as they made their way up from the South Col to the summit of the world. They all got up without issue and they all worked their asses off in the process. Nobody deserved it more. I was elated for them and also now a little more stressed as the pressure is on! 😉
My Everest climbing permit from 2015 was extended two years after the 2015 Nepal Earthquake as all climbing on the mountain was suspended that year. As I did not go in 2016, my last chance to use it is this year in 2017. In hindsight, it is actually going to be WAY more difficult to leave Charlie now than it would have been last year as she is now walking, talking, asking for Daddy all day everyday and way more interactive. It’s going to be tough not being able to see her for two months but this is the way it has to be. Whether I summit or not, come June I will be the happiest man on the planet when I get to see my girls again.
I leave for Kathmandu in 4 days. I have not been training as hard as 2015 due to 6 weeks of flu and other annoying respiratory infections. I have however been maintaining my already fairly good level of fitness by running regularly and doing core work in the gym with my personal trainer. I have managed to get a few mountain bike rides in and a few climbs of a local mountain here in the Pyrenees called Puigmal – non-technical but a good workout at 2913m high and covered in snow this time of year. Here are a couple of vids of my last climb which ended prematurely due to…… well you will see why!
Bit of ‘acclimatisation’
As for gear, I have already sent my main Base Camp bag off to Nepal as I won’t be needing the contents till we arrive there 3 weeks into the expedition. The bag contains things like my summit down suit, big 8000m Olympus Mons boots, crampons, sleeping cot and other bits and pieces. Everything else I will bring with me. I am organising my final bits of gear now and beginning to charge up all my electronics. Before I go I may do a post about all my remaining gear but if you want a comprehensive rundown you can see the equipment posts from my 2015 expedition.
I am going to be climbing with a UK based Guide – Tim Mosedale. This will be my first time joining one of his expeditions but based on friend’s feedback, I will be in good hands. We have been in constant contact over the past few months and I am confident we will have a fun and safe expedition and I reckon we will get to the top.
This time round we are taking a different route to Base Camp and following a slightly different acclimatisation schedule. We arrive into Base Camp later than what we did with IMG in 2015 but when we do arrive we will be staying put (i.e. not leaving after a few days to go camp and climb Mt Lobuche further back down the valley). Once we get to Base Camp we will more or less start our higher camp rotations almost immediately as we would have acclimatised on the way there. The good thing about this is that about half of the first 3 weeks will be new to me as we peel off the beaten track after Namche and go down a valley which is not as popular a the main route. Our higher acclimatisation days will be trekking over high passes and a non-technical climb of a peak called Pokalde which is around 5806m. The total distance of the route from Lukla to Base Camp is around 90 kilometres.
From reading through Tim’s itinerary, I have made a rough diagram of the route we will take in the first three weeks, it looks something like the below:
Well that’s about all there is to say right now. Got a few final bits and pieces to get, pack the bags and get as much quality time in with the family as possible.
Next update from Kathmandu.