Saturday, 20 November 2010

Back in Scotland

Arriving on the West Col, 6143m on the 3rd November. Splendid Makalu ahead!

Pasang, an important member of our kitchen team drawing water from the lake by base camp.

At base camp on the 7th Nov . From left to right, back row~ Geoff, Pasang, Sandy, Becky and Lhapka J and kneeling in front is Lhakpa R our Sirdar.Our climbing sherpas including the Sirdar were outstanding, grateful thanks to them all.

Hi, got back yesterday afternoon to this small village in the Highlands of Scotland. There is fresh snow on the hills and a few of my friends have been out winter climbing.One big avalanche reported on the head wall of the Cas and Cairngorm Mountain has been open for piste skiing! Its been an interesting time in Nepal but its always so great to get back home. As my sister Eunice reported we got delayed at Lukla for five days which has knocked a bit of a hole in all our plans, so my apologies to all, especially to those waiting for me to reply to your emails. Many thanks for the many congratulations and good wishes.
Eventually Geoff got an expensive seat in a chopper back to Kathmandu and managed to catch up with his parents who had flown in for a few days to meet up. Becky and I got out on the 16th Nov, and after one night in Kathmandu where we managed to catch up with Geoff and his parents over dinner, we then flew back to the UK the following day. Our international flights also suffered some long delays . Our flight from Lukla was pretty exciting as it was a last minute call and Becky and I were rushed to the airport, lead quickly through security and found ourselves sitting on board with the engines revving. The flight was then held for over an hour and we sat patiently in the plane watching the mist and fog swirl around as we waited for air traffic control to let us fly.Lukal is an exciting place to fly from on a calm sunny day, so the conditions added to the anticipation. Eventually we took off and spent a long time circling over Kathmandu before we could land.
Its been a good but tough trip with Mera peak and Baruntse both climbed. Sadly we had to say an early good bye to two of our team as they had to be medi-vaced on the 30th October.The whispy high cloud gave me a clue that a weather change was on its way and true to form we then got a huge snow fall and woke up to 10 inches of fresh snow so we were so lucky to get the hellicopter in. There after Sandy was asked to assist a Chec team, one of whom had soloed to the Brauntse summit and the other had severe frost damage to his foot. We had to advise them on care and drug doses then assisted getting another helicopter for them. A day later another chopper came to evacuate a member of the international team. So, as it has done in the past, high altitude climbing take its toll on mountain climbers but fortunately as far as we know everyone has recovered well at lower altitudes. These days the helicopter services are amazingly efficient and of course a sat phone invaluable. Just over the past couple of weeks it has been reported that the Nepalese have erected another mobile phone mast near Everest base camp so now it should be possible to use your mobile all the way up the Khumbu which is great news for all although the sight of Yak herder texting for his next transport contract takes a bit of getting used to!

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