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.
In January we started our year of travelling, climbing, biking, racing…
The last 3 months have been spent in the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand.
The weather was perfect as was the snow conditions and 6 weeks climbing the mountains of the South Island such as Aspiring and Cook was amazing.
Great to see this email pop into my inbox last week
All details confirmed and I’ll be heading back to North side Everest in 2017
Contact me for a chat if you are interested in 2017 or the future
A lot has happened since we left the Summit Hotel in Kathmandu on the 19th April.
Our flight to Lhasa was delayed 6 hours due to bad weather and no plane being available.
We finally took off and got some views of Everest below us in the clouds before descending to Lhasa airport only to divert to Chengdu because of turbulent conditions. Chengdu is another 90 minutes flight away and we arrived at midnight. The whole plane was bused to a hotel, given 3 hours sleep and picked up again at 04.50 to catch another flight, hopefully to Lhasa. Finally landing at 10.00 the next morning. Only 24 hours delayed.
Our young, friendly and keen Chinese Liason officer apologized profusely for the weather and we spent the next 2 nights exploring Lhasa and the Potala Palace.
The usual general maladies and sicknesses such as colds and GI problems hit the group and will be gone hopefully by the time we hit basecamp. On leaving Lhasa we paid a quick visit to a dentist to cap a tooth broken the night before.
Last night we stayed in Shigatse, 3800m and Tibet’s 2nd city we had a quick walk around the Tashilhunpo Monastery before dinner to stretch the legs. We are now quite high and climbing the stairs of the hotel is testing our lung capacity. Luckily we were presented with disposable oxygen cyclinders.
Tibet has changed a lot since last year and everything is looking very new, tidy and ready for tourists.
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