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.
Arriving in Bishkek the capital of Krygyzstan in a heatwave, 40C.
First stop Ibn Sina Peak popularly known as Pik Lenin, 7134m.
The steep climb to the North Col.
This is the first technical piece of climbing on #everest.
A 400m steep ice and snow slope that finishes at camp 1, #northcol, 7000m.
It is equipped with fixed ropes and requires a #jumar – a mechanical device that fixes from your harness to the rope to stop you slipping.
Large numbers of “climbers” on a single rope can cause delays and getting cold is a serious problem.
Although a part of climbing, many people on Everest are inexperienced in moving up and down fixed lines, relying on their #sherpas to clip them in and manage the change overs at anchors.
A great lengthy article in the Guardian recently tried to describe the current Everest season antics.
On an Everest expedition there is always lots of time free.
Team members find many different ways to amuse themselves: Reading, writing, growing strange facial hair, discussing the Bristol Stool Scale, making rock sculptures, listening to music…
Here ex-headmaster Andy is restimulating his interest in art. Kept company by a local cat, he will have a fine collection by the end of the 2 months.
Even at only 4800m it’s cold and windy.
We will be climbing nearly double that to 8850m in a few weeks.
On our trek out we had to avoid an angry confrontation with teahouse owners who thought they had our booking.
14 western trekkers with dinner and breakfast is a lot of income to miss out on.
The men of the village threatened to beat our Sherpas who called the local police.
Today we arrive back in Kathmandu after our 10 days trekking to acclimatise.
We are 14 people and will say goodbye to 3 before heading to Everest Basecamp in China on the north side.
We reached an altitude of 5600m and as a team have got to know each other.
The barriers have dropped and the initial excitement and questions have died down.
Hopefully there will be less questions and probing -what have you climbed before?” or “how high have you been?”.
The 9 remaining Everest team members, all with varying degrees of experience and none having climbed above 8000m now know what they are up against. The trek was not without its problems and we had to overcome cases of altitude sickness, GI problems, gear breakage and loss.
How many will be there on the summit in the middle of May?
Our day in Kathmandu will be time to collect our thoughts before we head to China where we await our turn to enter the Death Zone and claim our prize for 2 months of hardship.
Great to speak with Mark on The Travel Show at Dubai Eye
Tune in today at 3.30 to catch up on whats been happening
Will be speaking regularly with the guys throughout the next 2 months
Amazing food and restaurant life in Thamel, Kathmandu
Not a good start to the Everest expedition, cracked a tooth on the plane and now waiting a root canal
So impressed with GoSportMe and Millet
The only place in the UAE to get the best clothes and equipment that I need for Everest
Wait til you see the down summit suit !!!