Goodbye Kathmandu – Hello Tibet!
After 7 days here in wonderful Kathmandu, tomorrow morning we will leave around 9AM to start the drive into Tibet and our final destination, Everest Base Camp at 5300m.
I have had a very relaxing time here. The first 5 days with Stephanie was as an enjoyable time together as we have ever had. It also allowed me to catch up on some much needed rest and sleep which the past few weeks had been lacking.
I am now getting itchy feet and mentally starting to switch into expedition mode. The focus on reaching basecamp is my next priority. Many people have asked me why we don’t drive directly to basecamp in one long day, or fly straight there. Well flying to basecamp in Tibet is not an option – there are no flights! However if there were flights available and I did indeed fly straight up to basecamp(5300m ASL), from Kathmandu (1200m ASL) then I would develop severe altitude sickness and would most probably be dead after around 12 hours.
Hence, the drive in will take us 5 nights, and we will be stopping to allow our bodies time to acclimatise slowly to the ever-increasing changes in altitude as we get higher and higher. This is the start of the acclimatisation process which we will then continue once we reach the mountain and will last for some weeks. Until such time as our bodies have adapted to the point where hopefully we can make a quick dash to the summit of the world and back down again before we shut down completely!
The rest of the climbing team has now assembled in Kathmandu and attached below is a photo of us at dinner last night. A quick introduction of the team as follows:
Jamie McGuinness (45 something) – New Zealander but now based in Kathmandu. Expedition Leader. Jamie is a very seasoned Everest climber having summited 4 times over the last 7 years.
Kenneth Koh (46) – Singaporean. Retired SIA pilot, and freelance writer/photographer. Kenneth is tweeting on his climb and you can follow his progress on: http://twitter.com/adventurenomad
Jim Morrow (60) – New Zealand. Jim is a seasoned tramper and climber from West Auckland in New Zealand.
Luke Smithwick (31) – USA. Luke is a professional mountain guide, making his first attempt on Everest this year. He will be leading a group to the North Col, then will join us for the summit attempt towards the end of the trip.
Ismail Askerov (43) – Azerbaijan. Ismail is a lawyer and has climbed throughout the Tienshan, Pamir’s and Caucasus mountain ranges.
Ether Tan (35) – Singaporean Adventure Racer, Works for Singapore Naval Diving Unit.
As with all commercial expeditions, the team members joining up with is outside of your control. However so far at least, all personalities seem to be relaxed, down to earth and fairly easy going so it is a positive start to the trip. Lets see how things pan out once we get to the mountain and the stress of acclimatising and pushing our bodies hard will affect the team dynamics.
Joining us at basecamp, and only for basecamp support, is the Australian climber Andrew Lock, who has climbed all 14 x 8000m peaks in the world, and will be attempting Everest this year without the use of supplementary oxygen. You can follow his progress on: http://www.andrew-lock.com/
Well one last day to go. I have a busy schedule today of buying some last-minute supplies including wetwipes (which will be my main method of showering for the next 50+ days!), more vitamin C and a Kite to fly at basecamp to help while away the sparetime. I also need to pack my gear into plastic barrels to allow it to be transported safely to basecamp in Tibet (it’s a very strenuous journey!), go to the gym for one last workout and do one last round of laundry.
I cannot use FACEBOOK from China so if you want to send me a message please do so at firstname.lastname@example.org
I will be turning on the SPOT tracker over the next few days so you can click on the below link to follow our progress on google maps as we progress towards basecamp.
Over and out from Kathmandu. Next update to come from Tibet. Lets hope my 3G internet connection will work as planned from China!