Thursday, 29 November 2007

Winter Climbing today

Good quantities of snow in the Cairngorms. Here we are climbing in Coire an T-Snechda. The climb featured is"The Runnel", it was first climbed on Easter1946 by a EUMC party. Conditions were quite good really for the time of year. There was a strong wind blowing up the couloir ( Northerley), and there is some neve around, turf remains far from frozen, but one can get an exciting day out. Some of the stepper routes are probably quite Ok, although they are bound to be scartchy as there is nothing really frozen solid, so foot and axe placements have to be taken with care! Most of the gulies have adequate snow cover. Patches of wind slabs and this cracks a bit as you step on it, but reasonably obvious, Cat 2 on the Cairngorms avalanche scale!
Great adventures!

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Cairngorm snow

So, it's raining in Aviemore although there is snow in the hills. However its clear day forecast for tomorrow, so the freezing level will be lower tonight! Climb on, all be it a bit scratchy! Click on the photos and they enlarge!

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Yaks, bells and yak herders

Here's some yaks coming down from Ama Dablam base camp!

Friday, 9 November 2007

Island peak summiteers

Here are photos of the group on the summit of Island Peak.... unfortunalely the only one of us who does not feature is Kambiz who got to 6000m but had to turn back as he was sufferng from the effects of his intense cold. However Kambiz and Nada one of the climbing sherpas got back to base camp safely and we all celebrated at base camp later .

Back in Kathmandu

Hi, we are all safely back in Kathmandu... arrived here yesterday from Lukla, we were very fortunate to get our flights out as we have heard that today there has been no flights to or from Lukla and its certainly raining here in Kathmandu so it must be snowing at higher altitudes.

It's deepwali festival in Nepal and its like Christmas with millions of fairey lights everywhere, there are also lots of candles burning on every house doorstep and mandalas being drawn out along the streets. There is a photo of one such mandala here. The other photo shows Ed Woolaston abseiling above camp 2 on Ama Dablam.

All our expedition members are doing OK and we are packing and getting reday for our international flights home tomorrow afternoon. We have jsut had big fairwell meal with all our sherpa staff at the Ying Yang Thai restaraunt and are now about to head back to our hotel for the night!
Ed had tried to get a standby flight out today, but after waiting at the airport for ages, there were no seats available, but he is orgnised and has flight back to the UK with the rest of us tomorrow night.
While we have all enjoyed our time here in Nepal we still have tons to do back home so we are ready for that.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Back in Namche

Hello! We packed up our 15 yaks and left Ama Dablam base camp yesterday. From the sat phone reports presented on the blog you would have ascertained that we got up both Island Peak and Ama Dablam. We have experienced many colds and the khumbu cough has been particulary bad this year. Now all the mountains are obscured with mist and last night during our overnight stay near Phunki Tanga it rained a lot which must mean that it is snowing on the mountains. We arrived here in Namche this morning and have time to put some photos on the blog. We are resting here briefly as this afternoon we are walking on, heading for the village of Benkar tonight and then Lukla on Wedensday night where we have our flight booked to Kathmandu for the 8th. Everyone is doing fine. Poor Ewan has been on three courses of Anti-biotics over the part weeks but is quite upbeat. John is ace, Kathy loving every minute of the trek and happy to have climbed Island Peak.. Ed is talking about his girlfriend all the time so he is obviously doing OK. We also had news that Kambiz is back in the Uk so we all hope that his high altitude breathing hassles have gone away! Our Sherpas are doing great job and the yak drivers have been very reliable with all our loads. We are all fine and enjoying the last days of our trek. I would like to thank Eunice, Hannah and Cara for updating the blog with our Sat phone reports, well done and thanks, you have done an excellent job!

The above photo shows Ed, Lakpa, Kusam and Pasang( our climbing Sherpas) on the summit of Ama dablam, we arrived there at 0830am on the 2nd November and then got back down to Camp 1 by 5.30 pm the same day and the other photo shows Ed on the Mushroom Ridge!

Monday, 5 November 2007

Leaving Base Camp

Received a call from base camp today, where it was 8am and everyone was finished cleaning up and ready to leave to head back to Namche Bazaar. The group had a rest day yesterday at base camp and everyone is well although there are a still a couple of colds going about.
Once back at Namche, Sandy and Kathy will be able to update the blog themselves if all goes to plan. They are then flying from Lukla to Kathmandu on the 8th November and back to the UK a couple of days later.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Happy at Base Camp!

Relaxed phone message received at 2.21pm UK time today (Sat 3rd Nov.) A beautiful night at base camp with clear starry skies (so Sandy is in poetic , euphoric mood!). Ed, Sandy and the three sherpas had left Camp 3 at 3.30am yesterday and summitted Ama Dablam at 8.30am. They went down the mountain quickly and got back to Camp 1 (bet they slept well!). They had an early start today, cleared Camp 1 and arrived back at base camp at 5.30pm tonight. Everyone there is "fine", Ewans sinus cold had developed and he is taking antibiotics, John also has a cold. Shame they didn't get a go at the summit, though it seems they still have had a good mountain experience. Kathy has been enjoying herself taking walks and doing watercolours.

So, the plan! Tomorrow will be a rest and sort out day. Yaks will arrive in the evening. After clearing/cleaning up base camp they will take 3 days to walk to Namche Bazaar and the flight out of Lukla is on the 8th November, with flights back to the UK on the 9th (or 10th).

Congratulations everyone! From here in Dunblane, this journey sounds like a fascinating one which will hopefully develop into many more encounters, some perhaps in the mountains of the world and others in some cosy armchair in the company of friends. Well done and good luck!

Friday, 2 November 2007

Summit of Ama Dablam

Just got a short but sweet phonecall from Sandy from the summit of Ama Dablam. Now I dont know the exact time differences but its 11pm in New York, so about 3am UK time.
He was with Ed and said it was a beautiful morning but very cold, which really isn't hard to imagine at 6856m.
So, Congratulations to them and hope they get down safely!

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Camp 3, High on Ama Dablam

Satphone Report 8

Call received from Sandy 10.30a.m. (UK Time). All is well. Ed and Sandy have successfully reached Camp 3 (they made good time having arrived at 1.30am local time). They have pitched their tent and are still in the company of their three Sherpas who are in another tent about 20 m below. The weather remains good and they hope to rise early and make a summit attempt tomorrow. The plan would then be to get down the mountain as quickly as possible, hopefully to Camp 2 (and perhaps Camp 1) on the same day (lower altitude, better air and presumably extra food supplies). Sandy has spoken to Kathy at base camp and everyone there is well. Conditions remain good so lets wish them well.

PS I don't understand the time of posting shown on this blog..maybe its a US website..suffice to say its just passed 11.30am here in the UK. This was an answering machine message. Great to hear the voices. Ed in background reminding him of the day! Can tell the air is thin by the throaty voice and deep breaths!

PPS Yes, there are now three Sherpas...the magic of Halloween???!!!