Sunday, 30 September 2007

Back in Kathmandu

After an 8 hour walk from Namche Bazzare the girls made it back to Lukla at around 5.30, the last half hour left us drenched as the heavens opened. One of our group members has decided to go at a more leisurely pace and decided to stay at Phatding last night with one of our sherphas Kusam. We are expecting him to arrive in Lukla tonight and then to fly into Kathmandu tomorrow am. Our flight in the tiny craft was as thrilling as ever leaving the 10 degree sloping short runway which ends abruptly with valleys and paddy fields hundreds of feet below.. This afternoon we are making the most of our 5 star hotel facilities as what nicer place to hang out and do a bit of washing have a bath and what TV! Our shopping trip to Thamel is cancelled until tomorrow. As we have been informed that there is a mauist march there this afternoon, so a place to avoid today.
More news tomorrow
Later days Kathy

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Email from Namche

Well, if you are reading this blog you will have seen that Kathy posted news here yesterday from the buzzing Sherpa capital of Namche. They arrived there late last night and were delighted to get good views of Everest etc from Kallipitar and they enjoyed their walk back down to Namche. This morning their plan was to get up early and walk all the way to Lukla, which is quite common for Expedition climbers but quite a long way for trekkers. Nelson was going to get up early with his private Sherpa and porter and leave in good time in the hope that his wee legs will get him to Lukla in one day... I am sure he is quite the gentleman walking along with his private sherpa and porters!
Kathy and the other incredibly fit women on the trip will no doubt get up late, have lots of coffees and cakes in the wonderful Namche bakery's and have a quick tour around the shops before briskly making their way to the airport at Lukla. Apparently there have been a few flight delays with the bad weather, but its often like that at this time of year, and now- a- days there are so many flights flying in and out of Lukla that any back log built up due to weather and flight delays soon clears... so if we are lucky we will hear from them all again soon. Once they reach the easy to access cyber cafes and telephone links in Kathmnadu they will be communicating with their own loved ones and this blog may go quiet for a day or two.The elections are comming up soon so I have heard that there are some marches and things going on in Kathmandu but no trouble is expected.

Friday, 28 September 2007

he h
Well the trekkers are back in Namche Bazarre after two long days. After lots of snow fall and no views our two night stay in Gorak Shep payed off as the clouds lifted on Thursday morning just for a few hours and the views were amazing of Everest, Pumore, Nupsie and the rest of the Kumbu. We took a two hour trek up to the summit of Kalapattare during the morning and the views of Everest were amazing, with the Kumbu icefall in full view and the South col as seen on the left! We could just about see the tiny tents of a Thiland Everest expedition on the glacier. Just as we left the summit the clouds rolled in once again and the mountains dissappeared. We felt like the cats that got the cream! After this we walked all the way back down to Pheriche and stayed the night there so quite a long day and today we had another 8 hour day walking from there back to Namche. The plan now is to head down to Lukla tomorrow and fly back to Kathmandu the following day weather permitting, as there is a lot of rain and low cloud again and there have been no flights for two days. Now its time for a Yak steak and a few beers! Happy days, Kathy:)

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Wonderful views from Kallipitar

Another delightful Sat phone report from Kathy saying that they were all up early and got to the summit of Kallipitar where they enjoyed amazing views of Everest, Nuptse, Pumori and all! They then headed back down to Gorak Shep and on to Pheriche where they will spend the night. They will head down towards Namche in the next day ( or perhaps two) -depending on how the bridge repair work is progressing on the trail below Thangboche.
So, its fantastic that the weather has improved and great views were had by all!
Interesting newspaper article today in our local Highland newspaper informing readers that the Yeti Footprint photo taken in 1951 in the Melung Basin, Himalaya was sold at Christies auction in London for £3.5K...... So please remember, take only photos and leave only footprints!

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Message from Gorak Shep

A Sat phone messge from Kathy today reported:
The visibilty is not so good in the Khumbu today. The group woke up this morning at Gorak Shep to 6"of snow. Most of it burnt off or melted away during the day however they had very poor visibility with limited views. They opted to walk up to Everest base camp keeping the normally outstanding views from Kallipatar for tomorrow. They did the round trip in around four and a half hours which is fast and reflects their fitness but also the lack of wonderful views to stop and look at. Every one are in good spirits but a little bit dissapointed with the lack of views and poor weather. Ever optomistic, they are staying over night at Gorak Shep again, in the hope that tomorrow will dawn clear and cold. Their plan is to wake early and go to the summit of Kallipitar and enjoy the morning views before trekking back down the Khumbu to over-night at Pheriche.

The photo above shows the view from Kallipitar on a good day!

I really wish the group good luck with the weather tomorrow, hope for a clear clear day!

Gorak Shep

There has been no Sat phone call from Kathy today and I was not really expecting one as we agreed that she would try and phone every couple of days or so. However I thought I would show you aphoto of Gorak Shep as our intrepid trekkers should be holed up at one of the lodges in this tiny settlement.This photo is taken from Kalipitar last year and shows the tiny hamlet and is looking back down the Khumbu galcier kind of towards Namche!

Monday, 24 September 2007

Phone report from Labouche, Khumbu, Nepal

An additional Sat phone message came from our Everest Base Camp leader this afternoon. They are now at Labouche which is at 4906 meters. The weather is coldish, views obscured with snow falling. Everyone is doing fine and spirts are high. They are enjoying the comforts of the Eco lodge.Tomorrows plans are for them to trek on up the Khumbu to Gorak Shep which is the last settlement before Kalipitar and Everest Base camp.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Satphone report from our Everest base camp trekkers

The Everest base camp leader Kathy left a phone message to say that they are now at Pherichie (4200 meters) and are doing fine. Pherichie is one of the larger villages in the Khumbu surrounded by flat fields, dry stone dykes and grazing yaks. It can be a bit windswept at times but there are no tumble weeds rolling down the main street! Although you are likley to encounter the occasional stray yak and local kids with running noses chasing home-made hoops!
The group have had a wonderful walk from Namche ( Sherpa Capital village) up to Phortse and stayed the night there for acclimatisation purposes. Today they walked from Phortse and stopped at Pangboche for lunch and enjoyed good views of Ama Dablam. They then continued on up the Khumbu to Pheriche where they will spend two days acclimatising. Nelson has decided to wait at Namche Bazzar with his own private Sherpa and porter and do some day walks from there and perhaps continue along the trail towards Everest base camp at his own steady pace. The very fit "Girls" are all doing fine, although some head colds are developing. Those of you who know the Khumbu may be wondering why they have taken the path via Phortse rather than the traditional route via Thangboche monestary. Kathy answered taht by telling me that the himalayan suspension bridge normally bedecked with colourful prayer flags which crosses the turbulent Dhud Kosi (Milk river) at Phunki Kola has been swept away by the monsoon floods and will be repaired eventually.The detour is unavoidable.
Trekking up the Khumbu via Phortse is a wonderful trip and many would argue that it's a more interersting route to take as Phortse is off the regural tourist route and therfore retains more of the original sherpa culture. The trip is going to schedule and I hope to get another telephone brief from Kathy in a day or two.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Acclimatisation walk

We are having another day in Namche Bazzar and to acclimatise a little we took a walk up and over to Khumjung and Khunde. On route a golden eagle soared over our heads just 10 metres above us my camera wasnt quite handy enough! Our high spot today was 3,880m where we stopped for a mango juice at the Everest View Lodge hoping to get a glimpse of Everest but there was too much cloud. The top picture shows part of the West ridge of Ama Dablam with Tehgboche Monastry below. The white scar is where the base camp trail goes. The picture below is looking into Khumjung where we had our lunch at a famous bakery, rumer has it that they do amazing apple pie but I think they sold out when we got there. We also took a walk up to the Khumjung monastry where the famous Yeti skull is kept in a glass case inside the monastry, seen below. Apparently they are 8 feet tall with huge heads, I dont think you would want to come face to face with one. Tommorow we will head to Phortse instead of Tengboche, the reason for this route is because the bridge below Tengboche has washed away. Then we will head for Dingbouche, Lobouche, Gorek Shep, Trek up to Kalapatthar where we will hopefully see Everest close up then Everest Base camp. After that we will begin our descent back down the valley. So wish us all luck more news when we reach the next cy bar which I think will be when we land back in Namche. Sandy may hear from me on route and so this blog site could be updated in the mean time with our progress. Later days everyone. Kathy:)

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

acclimatisation walk

Everyone had a nice bowl of Sherph stew then headed out for a short acclimatisation walk above Namche Bazarr. Great views just before the afternoon mist arrived. There are a few characters in the village one of which claims to have seen Yeti footprints whilst he was sleeping out under a boulder below the slopes of Ama Dablam. Apparently they aren't seen very often as they supposedly live underground. Pull the other one, perhaps a small yeti hunting divertion could be part of our acclimatisation walk on our Ama Dablam expedition next month! More news tomorrow with hopefully a nice picture of Ama Dablam. There is a lot of snow up hight at the moment after the monsoon weather. Happy days. Kathy

Arrived at Namche Bazarre

We were very lucky on Monday to be able to fly up to Lukla due to the poor visibility as there have been no flights for a couple of days! After a safe flight we walked for a few hours and stayed at a very nice tea house in Phatding. Yesterday we carried on up to a small village called Josalaidh and stayed here due to a tiered member of the group this is the last village before the steep 600m climb up to Namche. Today was a 7.30 start to avoid the heat of the day, we saw our first glimps of Everest which was very exciting. The faster members of our group arrived at Namche Bazarre by 10.30 am giving them plenty of time to drink ginger tea and begin our acclimatisation process, as we are now at 3445m and blessed with good weather. We will stay here for two nights to acclimatise and take in a couple of short walks above the village. More news tomorrow.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Industrial Rope Access!

Here we are again, its another IRATA level 1 Assessment, 7 Candidates from Cesar & Fritsch Offshore here in Macae, Brazil. There are various manouvers going on in the above photographs: Alfonso in the blue coveralls is using his cows tails (lanyards) and etries to traverse a high beam and in the same photo Thales is passing a re-belay. The other photos show variious stages of snatch rescue practice where one candidates demonstrates how to rescue his team mate from the ropes. Everyone passed today, many of the guys are active local rock climbers as well as being employed to inspect welds and paint structures both on and offshore! Their Irata qualification will enhance their safety performance and these Industrial Rope Access techniques have been already proven to be extremely safe, usefull and cost effective method for working at height and confined spaces. Developed from Rock Climbing and caving techniques the equipment and procedures have developed over the years to be a safe and very effective work method.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Another Rope Access day in Brazil

Here we are again, another eight well trained candidates all lining up for their IRATA level 1. They all passed. Well done guys and congratulations to the trainer Alcino Faccao for some very good training at Cesar & Fritsch Offshore, Macae.

Macae, Brazil

It a relatively short flight with Air Farnce/Klm from Geneva, via Paris to Rio de Janeiro and if like me you have just tried to take your clients up Mont Blanc, its easy to sleep the flight time away. Here n Macae, which is around a three hour drive north of Rio, I am working for Ceaser and Fritch Offshore and Washington was there at Rio airport to pick me up and drive me to Macae. Rio looked interesting but we drove by in what seemed like a flash. Macae is an interesting oil town and I have had only had a short twety minutes to wlak along the sea shore where it's a bit overcast with a few large oil tankers moored away out to see, There is the occasional sun bather , but its overcast and windy and I chatted to a small group of surfers not making great progress in the turbelent waves. The IRATA rope access assessments are going OK in the well designed trainning centre. I can look forward to several days of assessing here, the people are keen and overflowing with enthuasiam, its ace and so fortunate to be involved with such a vibrant and ever expanding, innovative industry.
Mean while back home, Kathy is in the lake district and plans are all going well for our Everest trek. The group all fly out with Kathy this Friday and I am sure she will be adding some interesting news and photos to this blog as they progress along the Khumbu to Everest Base Camp!

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Blisters win!

Poor Bernard, we arrived at the Cosmiques refuge last night for Bernard to announce ( very bravely) that his blisters were not good and it would not be good idea to get up at 1.00 am and head up over Mont Blanc du Tacul as he was 100 percent certain that he would not make it. Instead this morning we did some ice and rock climbing work on the Point Lachenal and the Arete Laurance.. It was a superb day, however Bernards decision was the correct one. . The above photos show, Bernard climbing on the arete and the second photo shows the trail up Mont Blanc du Tacul. If you enlarge the photo you will also see ice climbers on the Contamine and Cherrie couloirs.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Happy birthday my twin!

Woke up this morning feeling fine! Outside my window mist filled the valley and obscured the mountains,which was of course indications of a temperature inversion. During my first breakfast coffee my concerned cleints phoned to ask what was happening to the weather, but of course it's all burnt away and it's now a brillaint day here in the French Alps. This afternoon Bernard and I go up to the Cosmiques hut and tomorrow we have a one o'clock in the morning wake up call to try and traverse Mont Blanc. Jim has to saty behind as even with the most brillaint and attentive heel bandaging and blister care his rented boots have caused havoc to his feet. Do remember to take well fitting and worn in boots with you for a Sandy Allan Mountain Adventure Holiday please!!
The winds are up at 40 Km/hr today and are due to decrease a little bit tomorrow, I hope they do!The wind is from the north, however it's a bright and clear day and while no doubt it will be a bit chilly at 4000 meters, we should have a fantastic time!
Happy Birthday to my twin brother by the way!

Friday, 7 September 2007

Cold and clear in Chamonix

Here we are again guiding in Chamonix, France. The weather is great but its freezing cold at higher altitudes with high winds, wind slab and all the joys that that can bring. The weather is due to get warmer for this weekend so I hope it does. Here are Jim and Bernard from Ireland having a nice time acclimatising and trainingg for a Mont Blanc Ascent. We hope to be on the Summit this weekend....

Saturday, 1 September 2007


Yesterdy, in Switzerland, this outstanding lady was awarded her Internatonal Mountain Leaders licence. These photos show her at work in Nepal and climbing Ama Dablam... she can now lead walks too! She's ace!
WELL DONE KATHY! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx