Summer in Pakistan – Gasherbrum 2

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I was last in Pakistan in 2006.

Things have changed somewhat and their excitement at having Imran Khan as PM is clear.

The summer season started with a lot of snow which meant great climbing conditions once it had consolidated and we were the first to summit Gasherbrum 2, well ahead of the other groups.

We used no fixed ropes and broke trail til the summit.

Fall 2018

Original plans to spend September in Europe climbing changed quickly and now I’m leading 4 people to Cho Oyu in Tibet.

Sixth highest of the 8000m peaks it is 8201m with stunning views onto Everest, Shishapangma, Makalu, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse and the whole Himalayan range.

This will be my fourth time and this time I’ll be an ambassador for Runderwear.

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Arriving in Bishkek the capital of Krygyzstan in a heatwave, 40C.

First stop Ibn Sina Peak popularly known as Pik Lenin, 7134m.

Everest 18 Roundup


The Numbers Game

After extensive research and data collection during the 2018 Everest season here are the statistics


96% of UK Everest climbers are from public schools

85% of climbers are from the USA and India

52% of climbers have a gofundme profile

3% of climbers will arrive at camp 2 with their crampons on the wrong feet

18% of climbers will take an ice axe past ABC on Everest

0% of climbers will be Afro American

95% of ice axes taken above ABC will be used as tent stakes

26% of climbers will spill their stove in their tent

78% of climbers will be displaying a sponsors badge

23% of climbers tried to sell advertising space on their downsuit for more if it was on their chest than their arm

65% of climbers will have more sponsors badges on their jacket than mountains they’ve climbed

100% of climbers will carry a flag to the summit

46% of climbers will carry a soft toy and give it a name

34% of climbers claimed significant mountain features had changed last year

3% of climbers will claim significant mountain features have changed this year

6% of climbers will try to rescue someone and turn around on summit day

89% of those rescuers will be ready to turn around anyway

100% of rescuers will write an article about it

87% of people who publicly criticize other Everest climbers haven’t summited

84% of people who publicly criticize other Everest climbers  have beards and haven’t climbed 8a

76% of climbers will use a jumar for the first time on Everest

15% of climbers couldn’t tell the west ridge of Everest from the north ridge when they arrived at basecamp

74% of climbers will bring technical hardware they don’t know what they will use it for

72% of climbers have a justgiving profile

90% of British climbers wear black

90% of European climbers wear primary colors

100% of climbers using acetazolamide will not get a TUE

23% of climbers who have been on Everest and used acetazolamide will claim podiums at sporting events

100% of climbers now know the half-life of acetazolamide is between 10 to 15 hours and it usually takes around 5 to 6 half lives for a drug to be eliminated from your system

33% of climbers will post on a blog that their rotation was “a hard day at the office”

88% of bloggers will use the words “super, uber, so, the moment when, blessed, this one”

0% of climbers know that World No 1 Malaysian sportsman and 3 times Olympic medalist was stripped of medals and banned after testing positive for dexamethasone

51% of operators will claim they have redefined climbing strategy and the Everest experience

100% of people who have climbed Everest in the past but are at home will post a photo and a #tbt during the Everest season

10% of climbers will try to convince you that ginseng will help you acclimatize

50% of climbers will try to convince you garlic soup that will help you acclimatize

76% of climbers will try to throw their menthol hot towels back at the kitchen boy at dinner time

100% of climbers that try to throw their menthol hot towels back to the kitchen boy at dinner time will miss

85% of climbers will receive “be safe” posts from their friends and family

87% of male climbers between the ages of 16 and 25 will get AMS

99% of male climbers between the ages of 16 and 25 are fucking hooligans

46% of climbers will turn their non summits into successful learning experiences

0% of climbers who stayed at home didn’t summit Everest

10% of climbers will be giving 110%

100% of these statistics might be true but more than likely are not

100% of Uk guides use sarcasm

90% of American guides wear badges to show they’ve passed a course

87% of American guides look undernourished, are as tall as volleyball players and wear checked shirts, baseball caps and flip flops even at BC

18% of climbers didn’t know which side of Everest they were climbing

100% of weather forecasts are still only forecasts

100% of groups had 1 client who didn’t want to use walking poles

100% of climbers who didn’t use poles slipped over

36% of climbers had fitted their crampons to their boots before arriving in Kathmandu

18% of those who hadn’t fitted their crampons to their boots prior to arriving in Kathmandu had the wrong size crampon bar for their boots

10% of those who needed to buy a longer crampon bar in Kathmandu were able to find it

43% of climbers asked what the weather forecast was for Everest when they arrived in Kathmandu in April

66% of climbers didn’t realize you had to walk uphill from basecamp to the summit

25% of climbers thought training pre-expedition would help them to be stronger going uphill

76% of climbers who reach the summit of Everest change their profile status to keynote speaker

43% of clients asked if they should gain weight prior to an expedition

65% of clients were overweight

86% of clients were able to read and believe far fetched climbing biographies

87% of climbers were not able to read packing lists or instructions

35% of climbers didn’t realize Everest was in a foreign country with foreign food

30% of climbers thought they wouldn’t eat anything for 60 days

2% of climbers were fell runners from Yorkshire

100% of climbers who were fell runners wore shorts and vest at 7000m in a blizzard

90% of Nepali UIAGM guides couldn’t equalize an anchor

100% of life coaches and fitness instructors from Jumeirah said Coca-Cola was empty calories

87% of climbers started seeing visions of Coca-Cola whilst climbing

50% of climbers thought they were faster than their guides

100% of guides were 400% faster than 100% of their climbers

50% of Everest climbers thought “the journey” would be amazing

80% of Everest climbers didn’t imagine cold, altitude or loss of appetite would be part of their “journey”

100% of climbers who summited forgot about “the journey”



This compliation of statistics is sponsored jointly by Lhasa Beer and Everest Beer

Training for the Himalayan season


The best place to be in Europe this February and March was Spain.

I managed to dodge the bad weather and get some great training on the bike, running and of course rock climbing.

The Sierra mountain ranges and parques naturals just north of Malaga were stunning.

The hills and crags in south east Spain around Valencia are a treasure in the winter and full of the pro cycle teams.


Watch for details of pre-Everest / 8000m training camps in January and February 2019 to bring you up to speed and be ready for the Spring season.




High points in Europe 


So we have spent nearly 2 months touring Europe in our newly converted van.

We’ve been ticking the highest mountains of each country as we enjoy these amazing areas; Germany (Zugspitze), Slovakia (Gerlachovsky), Poland (Rysy), Czech (Snezka), Austria (Grossglockner) with more to come.

What we did and didn’t do on Everest

On 16th May 2017 I stood on the top of Everest. I wasn’t the youngest on the summit. I wasn’t the first Brit. I probably wasn’t even the first from my street in Sheffield. We did have the first Slovenian success from the North side. Ever. We didn’t make a big fuss about it. When we first met we didn’t talk about the mountains we had climbed before. Some of us had climbed mountains before. This was the first time in the Himalaya for some of us. We didn’t take DJs to basecamp. We didn’t use breathing mask trainers while back home at work. We didn’t build 2 meter walls around our tents at basecamp and instruct Sherpas to keep everyone out. We didn’t make a TV series of our experience. We didn’t have 16 bottles of oxygen per client. We didn’t have 2 Sherpas per client. We didn’t have 1 Sherpa per client. We didn’t think of going up the north and down the south. Some of us were polite and humble to our Sherpas and Tibetans. We didn’t care if some grumpy, old bearded Italian who lived in a castle didn’t like what was happening in a time well past his own #killyouridols. We didn’t post statements over inflating the difficulties we were facing. We did sigh when we saw philosophical posts about “reaching your own Everest”. We did use a jumar for the first time. We did learn to put crampons on at Advanced Basecamp. We did start walking and stopped when we got to the top. We did not depict every daily routine as a drama designed to leave lesser mortals hanging by a thread. We didn’t run out of oxygen. When we did we used another bottle our Sherpa was carrying for us. We did have a crampon fall off a boot on summit day on a fixed ladder. We did put it back on. We did continue. We didn’t write stories about crawling to the summit on our knees. We didn’t think it was any more crowded than any other mountain. We didn’t sleep in oxygen tents before arriving. We spent less time on the mountain and summited before teams on a “rapid ascent”. We did walk past dead bodies on summit day. We didn’t take photos. We did meet a family visiting basecamp out of respect for a brother they had lost on the mountain 5 years earlier. We sniggered at but we didn’t suggest people shouldn’t be on the mountain. We drank lots of coffee. We didn’t claim to do it without oxygen only to really be pulled up by a team of Sherpas on oxygen. We did bring most of our equipment down from high camps. We all made it back safely. We didn’t claim innovative diet plans. I did from Camp 1, eat only Jelly babies. We didn’t claim pieces of geography of the mountain had changed to drum up publicity. We didn’t throw our toys out of the pram when the Sherpas couldn’t fix the ropes because it was too cold. We used our own oxygen. We did share our tents and used others tents in mutually agreed cooperation. We talked with other teams about their plans and the weather. Our Sherpas did help everyone. We used drugs that are banned in Olympic competitions to help us get to the top. We didn’t have a western chef at basecamp. We didn’t take awesome summit shots because it was 2am in the morning and pitch black. We did care about getting summit certificates. We did return all the way from the summit to ABC by 4pm on the same day. Some of us got drunk a lot at every opportunity. Some of us didn’t have much experience before this. Some of us didn’t know which side of the mountain we were on. All of us worked together. All of us supported each other. We didn’t pay 80 000$ or more to stay in the same hotels, travel in the same jeeps and climb the same mountain as others. We didn’t walk nose to tail in a group of 10. We drove as far up the mountain as possible before starting to walk. We helped pitch our own tents when possible. We didn’t use helicopters to get down or stock the mountain with supplies. We stroked the stray dogs in Tibetan villages. We stayed healthy. We did have lunch with another climber at basecamp who died a week later on the mountain. Some of us did interviews for TV and radio on returning home. We did eat at Fire and Ice every day in Kathmandu. We didn’t comment on how other people went about their business on the mountain or the methods they were using. We did have a car crash on the way to BC which hospitalized our driver. We didn’t have massive sponsorship. We did have full time careers and work for companies that saw the benefit of what we were doing and supported our efforts. Our Sherpas slept in the tents with broken zips without us knowing. Some of us didn’t complain about the food. Or even when yaks trampled the toilet tent and destroyed our sit down seat forcing us to squat for 5 weeks. We didn’t post step by step accounts on summit day. Our doctor helped everyone. We attended meetings with the Chinese and Tibetan Climbing Association. We posed for photos with their media as trash was brought down the mountain. I did argue with the Chinese when they tried to charge us an extra 200$ per person to fix the last few 100m of rope to the summit. I did get it down to 50$ per head and was quietly happy with that. Don’t tell the Chinese though. We didn’t carry ice axes on summit day. We moaned it was hard sometimes. We didn’t claim it was impossible. We did hang out with Kilian. Some of us went running in Lhasa and lost our credit cards. Some of us were always late. Some of us were fast. Some of us were slow. We all had good and bad days. Some of us had altitude sickness. We did identify our personal limits. We remembered our promises to family and friends. We did claim we would never do it again on the way down. A week later we wanted more.
This is Everest.

one of the steps on summit day

One of the steps on summit day at about 8600m

Another version of what happened in 2017 can be found here.

Some of it may or may not be true.
That is Everest.