Day 49, May 29 – What may be happening right now….

May 29th was the date that Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary climbed Mt Everest in 1953.

There have been no updates from Grant.  I assume he is packing up at ABC and taking the hike down to BC into warmer climes and thicker air. This should take a leisurely 6-8 hours for him in good conditions. Returning after a hard fought campaign without the victory of the summit is always tough, but coming back from Everest with all fingers and toes is a bonus. A rule of thumb which I have lived by can be summed up by the late Roger Baxter-Jones (talking about the most important aspect of climbing):

Come back alive

Come back friends

Get to the top

(in that order of importance)

I will leave all of Axe’s supporters and friends with a last excerpt from my 2nd book, Against Giants: The Life and Climbs of a Disabled Mountaineer – which tells of what I felt like returning to Rongbuk basecamp without the summit.

I will continue update this blog for Grant until he gets back to a more reliable Internet connection where he can truly share, in depth, his adventures. Until then, cheerio!

David Lim



"We rested for a day at ABC before leaving. But not before we
were roused by the clanging of the beating of a saucepan.
Often, this was a celebratory signal by ABC cooks that
someone from their team had summitted. I looked up in the
clear blue sky to see a puff of white appear near the
summit. It got bigger as it glided down slowly, like a
small, white postage stamp. It was the ace team of Bertrand
and Claire Roche making a world record for the highest
paraglider launch next day. Many years previously, a young
Betrand and his father were the first father and son team
to summit Mt Everest, he was just 17 years old. They
descended to the flat saddle of the South Col and then
promptly paraglided their way back to basecamp. Now, I
marvelled at the Gallic flair of doing these sort of
things. It was a beautiful sight watching people doing what
they do best and a sight probably never to be enjoyed ever
again. I do not think that the wind conditions on the
summit of Everest can be timed so perfectly again. And
yet, I felt a stab of disappointment . That morning of May
22nd would have been our summit day – and what a glorious,
perfect day it was.

I endured the 11-hour hike down to basecamp largely alone
except for a lunch stop above Intermediate Camp. Here, I
met a relaxed Roz and good-humoured Gil. They were taking
an easy hike down and would be back hours ahead of me. As I
drained my water bottle, I fantasized about drinking a
cool mug of my favourite grape-flavoured Tang. There had
been only a small packet of it at basecamp and I had not
seen it when I left for the summit push. I kept that
thought going as the sun rose and then sank over the
Thoughts of the summit day filled my hours. Each boulder
and landmark brought be closer to the end of my journey.
The sun began to creep down the horizon as I tried to hurry
my tired legs onwards. As I approached basecamp, I saw only
a few tents left. Many of Eric’s clients had finished their
treks or climbs and had gone home. A small figure loped up
the final stretch. It was Wilfred. Thoughts of our climb on
Aconcagua came back to me and suddenly my vision blurred as
I felt a warm trickle run down my face. 

We walked the last
few metres to my tent where Eric was standing, awaiting my
eventual return. He had a ‘all-is-forgiven’ grin on his
face and a hug signalled the end of my journey to Everest.
Then Tara, the cookboy appeared, offering me a tin mug. I
lifted it to my cracked lips and drank heartily. It was
grape-flavoured Tang and it was heaven to be back safely.

From: " Against Giants" - published by Epigram, 2003

Posted on May 30, 2011, in Everest 2011. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. GREAT BIG CONGRATULATIONS GRANT on a magnificent and hugely courageous attempt. Of course I can imagine how you feel about a missed opportunity, but now you have a massive memory bank of glorious visions, knowledge and feelings apart from knowing you have endured the experience only prevented from completing your task because of the prevailing weather … so often the omnipresent sentanel of this giant, sacred peak. I greatly appreciate the time you spent blogging all us “sycophants” along with David’s interesting tales. Your safe return is no doubt our reward after following your fascinating journey towards the top of the world. With relief, ciao from your buddy, xR.


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