Sunday, 31 October 2010

Resting at Base Camp

Phone call from Sandy a couple of minutes ago!

Geoff and Becky, along with two Sherpas, reached Camp 1 at an altitude of 6143 m on 29th Oct The following day they went to Camp 2 at 6450m. They are now back at Base Camp resting.
Kerry and Paul have left the expedition and flew out to Kathmandhu by helicopter on the 30th.

Becky and Geoff will stay at Base Camp today and tomorrow. They plan to make their summit attempt over the next few days. So, 2nd November they will go to Camp 1, on the 3rd to Camp 2, on the 4th to the summit and back down to Camp 1 or 2. They would aim to be back at Base Camp on the 5th November.

The weather broke yesterday and there is about an inch of snow at Base Camp. However, the forecast is good so good luck to all.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Baruntse Base Camp

Phone call relayed through Beckys family, thank you!!!

Team arrived at Baruntse Base Camp on 26th October and have received their Puja blessing. Apparently the camp is strewn with flour and rice and some alcoholic drinks were imbibed before breakfast which helped make the day very jolly!!

Base camp is now well established with luxuries including separate shower and toilet tents!!! There is quite a lot of snow clinging to Baruntse but weather is currently OK.

Today and tomorrow are planned as rest days (except for Sandy and some Sherpas who will aim to establish Camp 1).

The plan...

29th Oct..go to Camp 1
3oth Oct..go to Camp 2
31st Oct/1st Nov..return to Base Camp
2nd Nov..back up to Camp 1
3rd Nov...up to Camp 2
4th Nov..Summit attempt
5th Nov...return to Base Camp
7th Nov...start walk-out to Lukla all looks so easy!!! Best wishes to all!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Mera Summited!

Everyone is well! Just spoke to Sandy on his satellite phone. Mera was summitted on the 24th Oct by everyone except Kerry who made it to within 50 m of the summit but decided not to attempt the last 50 m which involved a very technical climb.

Tonight they are camping at at Honuahola River, beside a lake, Sito Pokhari (I hope these spellings are OK!!) at an altitude of 5080 m.

Tomorrow (26th Oct) they will arrive at Baruntse, presumably base camp, at an altitiude of 5400m. On the 27th they will have a Puja. This is a blessing ceremony. It has been arranged that a Lama will come to the camp and will bless the climbers and the mountain. Prayer flags will be set-up around the camp so that as they blow in the wind the blessings will continually be delivered. Each climber is usually also given a blessed prayer scarf which they will probably wear for the duration of the trip, and in some cases for months!!!

The team will have a rest day on the 28th while Sandy and some Sherpas hope to climb too the West Col (6143m) where they will begin to set-up a camp. They will then descend, perhaps rest and then, the climbing will begin!

Friday, 22 October 2010

Safe and Sound and Base Camp

An answering machine message from Sandy today. Everything going to plan, and all is well!!

The team are back at Mera Peak Base Camp (5395m). They will stay there today and tonight. Tomorrow they start their summit attempt by going up to the High Camp (5800m) where they will stay the night in tents which I assume have been pitched over the last two days and will have some supplies. The following day they hope to make the summit (6476m) and then descend to Tongmagigma (4900 m) where they will camp and have a well deserved rest. This may seem like a lot (and it is!!!) but they will leave very early in the morning and do most of the climbing by the light of the moon, the colder/frozen conditions makes for better (safer) climbing!!! They would hope to summit in the early morning giving ample time to appreciate their situation and descend to the much lower altitude for rest.

Everyone is still doing well though there are a few, I quote "sore heads and coughs". These are obviously minor and typical of the effects of high altitude climbing! Sandy is extremely and extra cautious about altitude sickness. He takes no risks, if any symptoms are seen they would move down to lower altitudes immediately.

The weather has not been good over the last two days but it has cleared today and at the time of the phone call it was very clear and good prospects for the next few days.

Best wishes to all.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Good Progress

Message left on the answering machine today, 19th Oct.

Everyone is healthy and doing really well!!!

The team arrived at Tagmat (at an altitude of 4356m) yesterday so the emphasis is now very much focussed on acclimatisation before they tackle the mountain. Today they walked up to an altitude of 5050 m and are camping again tonight at Tagmat .

Tomorrow they plan to walk up to 5035 m (?Tarek) where they will have a rest day (hopefully their bodies will be working hard making extra red blood cells!). On the 21st they will go up to Mera La and then back to a camp at Kharka, to have a good rest at a lower height. The following day, they will move up to Mera Peak base camp and on the 23rd will aim to go to the high camp which is at 5800 m. If all is well (weather being a major factor!) they hope to make a summit bid on the 24th making their descent towards Baruntse and their next challenge.

Note, there was no comments about the weather so I make the assumption that its good!!!

Another wee note! I would not expect to hear any news until the 25th. As Sandy always says, remember that no news is good news!!!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Friday 15th October

An unexpected text this morning - so group are still within the mobile phone network!!!!

A big and memorable day due!! The group are in a Sherpa village called Pangoma which in itself must be a fantastic experience. They will visit a local monastry where they hope to receive a blessing from the lama. I imagine the lama will bless the mountains that they hope to climb to request a safe passage and will offer prayers to everyone. Everyone also usually receives a prayer scarf that has been blessed which they will wear throughout their time on the expedition. They will continue their journey into the snowy mountains today.

14th October

A text this morning. Now on Day 2 of the walk-in, all well. Group are at Thamdada, enjoying the great scenery.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Wednesday 13th October

Hi, this blog is being writtten from Scotland. Its now likely that the "team" will be communicating via satellite phone and blogs will be posted as quickly as possible after any news is received (any times and dates will be based on UK time!!) Have received this group photo emailed via Paul. From Left to right, Sandy, Kerry, Becky, Geoff and Paul.


Here we are at Kathmandu airport yesterday, before we flew to Lukla.
From L to R are Geoff, Kerry, Paul and Becky
I did try to upload other photos but the connection is slooooooooow!. Our baggage arrived early this morning on the first flight so Geof has now got his equipment! We are still waiting for a few bits and bobs, but generally all is good and we are ready to go!
Departing today to for our approach walk, we will loose all mobile phone and Internet connections for a few weeks, so will be updating via Sat phone.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Arrived in Lukla

We have been so lucky today as after three days of no flights getting into Lukla, the weather cleared and we got here. It was an exciting journey with the poilet of our Tara Air Twin Otter dodging clouds and eventually landing us safely at Lukla airstrip. Our original plan was to commence our walk in today, but as we had to spread our luggage and cargo between planes some of our bags are still in Kathmandu. The weather closed in and the later planes had to turn back. So, we are staying overnight here in a nice lodge and will start our approach walk tomorrow. Normally the skys are clear in the morning and our delayed cargo will arrive here tomorrow morning.
I am trying to up load a couple of photos but the internet connection is very slow here so I am waiting patiently to see if I get a result.
But anyway, we are here in Lukla with our Sherpas and porters and everyone is feeling fine and keen to go!
Almost forgot to say, the first plane that landed at Lukla this morning had a slight incident. As it landed on the runway and coasted up the steep runway, it struck a wall with its nose cone, but fortunately nobody was hurt. This led to quite a delay to other flights, but thankfully no one was injured and that we were not onboard!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Baruntse climbing permit has been granted

Two days of meetings in Kathmandu with the officials in Kathmandu and eventually I get the climbing permit.... so our plans are to fly from Kathmandu to Lukla tomorrow. From there we will load up our porters and start our walk towards base camp. We are planing to acclimatise very carefully and then climb Mear Peak which is a relatively easy and non technical peak at 6476m. After that we will go to Baruntse base camp. I had arranged a guided city tour for Becky, Kerry, Paul and Geoff so they enjoyed that and found it all really interesting, meanwhile I have been finalising our arrangements to climb. Our main climbing supplies were flown to Lukla several weeks ago so its only our own luggage, some last minute supplies and ourselves who will hopefully fly tomorrow. The bad news is that due to lots of fog and mist in the mountains the Lukla flights have been cancelled for three days now but today a helicopter got through, so we are hoping that we will get a clear run tomorrow.
We will only be staying in Lukla for a few hours so may not get time to update the blog.After that the villages are all remote and there is no Internet access, but I will be phoning in a Sat. phone report every few days!
All fine this end and no news is good news!

Sunday, 10 October 2010

We are here in Kathmnadu

Well, we are here and it's been a busy day for Sandy, meeting the Ministry to finalise details for our climbing permits for both peaks. Becky has had sleep and I met her out shopping just a few minutes ago! Kerry and Paul arrived later this afternoon off their international flights too and our Sirdar Lhakpa and a driver took them from the airport to their hotel. We all plan to meet up later for a meal together..... may find the energy to get some photos on here tomorrow, long distance flights are exhausting!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Bound for Nepal

Semi excited, heading for Nepal soon, mountain guiding on Mera Peak and Baruntse!