Thursday 29 May 2008

Lukla and Kathmandu

Mark is now approaching Lukla where he, and a few others from the Adventure Peaks team, will jump onto a small plane that will take them to Kathmandu. From there Mark will fly to Singapore on the 31st and end up in Wales sometime in the second week of June. He has gone full circle! He has tons of stories to entertain the troops as and when he meets up with friends and family. TB

Friday 23 May 2008

Decisions, Decisions

Having left Camp 4 at around 8 p.m., Mark felt quite good. Due to a combination of circumstances however, he decided to turn back to Camp 4 at the "Balcony", which is an area at around 8,400 metres. At this point, a few of the team members decided that the situation called for a return to Camp 4. Mark was suffering from lack of feeling in his left foot, a condition which had already surfaced when waiting for others when moving from Camp 3 to 4. This was probably an old cold injury from being benighted near the summit of Mont Blanc a few years back when helping out some stranded climbers. Unfortunately people from other teams died the previous night including Uwe Gianni Goltz, a well known mountaineer. The details are not yet known, but this along with very low temperatures and poor weather conditions provided for less than desirable climbing conditions. TB

Wednesday 21 May 2008

Camp 4 and Beyond

Mark and the Adventure Peaks team arrived at Camp 4 at around 6 p.m. local (Nepal) time. They've made a group decision to stay there overnight and check out the situation tomorrow. If all is go, they'll leave the evening of the 22nd at around 11 p.m. for the journey to the summit, arriving sometime on Friday morning. The six day weather forecast says generally clear skies until Monday, so the window is wide at this point. There is still a slight chance that the team will decide to go up tonight, but with the traffic the way it was today, and a late arrival at Camp 4 (the South Col), it is unlikely. Mark sounds good however, a bit tired, but good on the whole. TB

Monday 19 May 2008

Change of Summit Schedule

Seems that the weather has changed in favour of the Adventure Peaks team! They actually set out yesterday (the 18th) for their summit quest. Leaving early in the morning, the team reached Camp 2 at around 3 p.m. Mark reported that he was feeling good after the days climb. They will have a rest day in Camp 2 today (the 19th), and then up they go to Camp 3 on Tuesday. From there, they hope to go for the summit the evening of Wednesday, May 21st, and reach the summit sometime in the morning on May 22nd. Let's hope for continued good weather! Mark has been up to Camp 3 twice, spending a few hours there each time, and then descending to Camp 2 to sleep. He has felt very good both times. In fact, outside of one day with a bad headache, and other with some stomach upset, Mark has felt strong and healthy the entire trip. TB

Sunday 11 May 2008

On to Camp 3

Now that the Chinese have summitted, all previous restrictions (like satellite telephone use, monitored emails...) have been lifted and all climbers thanked for their cooperation with the Nepalese army. The lines (ropes) have now been fixed between Camps 2 and 3 which means that Mark and the rest of the team can climb up as far as Camp 3 (7162 metres or 23,500ft ). They started up from Base Camp on the 9th and arrived at Camp 2 that same day. After a rest day on the 10th, they started for Camp 3 today, the 11th. After a short break at Camp 3 they were planning to return to Camp 2, rest there on the 12th then hopefully spend a night at Camp 3 on the 13th. It seems that this schedule has Mark and the rest of the Adventure Peaks group out of sync with the rest of the teams which will hopefully make for a less busy day between Camp 3 and the summit. TB

Tuesday 6 May 2008

Life At Base Camp

"Still snowing but temperatures seem to be increasing during the nights. More action on the now "infamous" terrace (photos from various photographers from different teams and a doctor team from Swiss TV) as my tent was uprooted and a new floor put in. The terrace houses three spaces for sun beds (foam mattresses) on the renovated crazy paved balcony which overlooks the path leading up through base camp. We also overlook the "freezer" where Ganu(Base Camp Cook and Manager) sends Mengele to hack out frozen meat from their "freezer store" with an ice axe and cleaver (no joke). Off to the Ecotent this afternoon where apparently there's a bakery (yum yum as Ganu would say) and then back for more 24. Hi to all the well wishers (too many to list - sorry). We should be heading up this week for some acclimatisation to Camp 3 and Lhotse Face then down for a weeks rest before our summit attempts." MB