Archive for October, 2012


Happy Halloween

October 31, 2012   

We stayed in Phakding last night and the Shangri La. On the way down from Namache we ended up sunbathing by the river just after the confluence of two rivers on a very large boulder. The group listened to the roar of the river and I handed out Halloween sweets which were by now well crushed but were still well received.

In the evening Claire had brought a small pumpkin with her so we carved it at the teahouse while the Nepalese looked at us in bewilderment. .

We are now in Lukhla very different scenery from the high mountains with green fields and only small amounts of snow on the mountains. It is sad to leave the mountains and the concept of returning to work not very appealing even though I love my job 🙂 We are all eating cakes and drinking tea and hot chocolate in a coffee shop attempting to get on the slow wifi and start our return to the real world. Hope you had a great Halloween. Looking forward to Thanksgiving.

At Namache

October 30, 2012   

We have descended quickly from the scrub and juniper and today walked through the rhododendrum forests and pine trees to Namache. Yesterday after everyone awoke at base camp after 14 hours of sleep we hit the trail hard.

First of all cricket had to be played at 5100m at the foot of island peak and Lhotse face using an ice axe as a bat. Picture of Gerry by Jon Gupta. I sat on a boulder on the outskirts of the field taking video and watching the reactions of the porters and other trekkers. Many of the porters put down their loads and watched. Many of the teams coming up the hill couldn’t believe our lot were running around at that altitude.

We arrived in Pangboche as the sun fell and looking back it looked like Everest was on fire it was stunning.

It was Jason’s birthday so I had ordered a cake to be delivered to Sonam lodge. It was interesting to say the least – chocolate with apples and cinnamon in the middle. I had asked for an outline of the mountains but instead he got lots of pretty roses!!!

This morning we again moved quickly down the valley stopping for tea at Tengbouche and had a few minutes to go in the monastry then on to Tashi (a very nice nepalese woman) for lunch. I purchased a yak bell from her to put on the outside of my house.

It is very hard to stay disappointed in yourself for not making the summit with the views on the trek out from Island Peak. I will be back to this country for sure it is so very stunning. Every turn in the path is another photo opportunity. For a good hour long point on the trail I was the only person with a porter going up valley every now and again. Four kids came running out of their house yelling Namaste at me so I stopped and they asked me how are you? the extent of their English. I took a photo of them and showed it to them on the screen which they loved. I also showed them a picture taken of Mum, Dad, Daniel and I at a wedding in Tahoe and said my mother, my father, my brother. They giggled.

It was wonderful to just listen to the river in the gorge below and the wind in the trees. Claire and I on the last little bit walked together and came across the most beautiful bird that looks sort of like a peacock.

Tomorrow we will bypass Monjo and stay closer to Lukla we were attempting to change our flights out till the 1st but that isn’t going to happen which I am thankful for. Another day in the mountains and one less day in Katmandu.

Using good judgement…. failure to make summit

October 28, 2012   

Up at midnight breakfast and then departed at 1am. The ascent was up large boulder/scree slope about 900m with the snow fall and bright full moon I didn’t even use my head torch. I started struggling with breathing and forced myself to crampon point to watch the sun rise and wish everyone well on the glacier and fixed lines. I was jealous of them moving out onto the glacier and the summit was looking so close. A quick cry, vomit, coughing fit and then watching the most amazing sunrise. I turned around and headed down with Hermanta one of our sherpa climbing guides.

The view from Island Peak of Ama Dablam which the head guide Jon will be climbing a few weeks later.

I turned around at 6000m and Claire at 6100m the rest of the team made it the last 200m to summit. I failed to reach as I was vomiting and coughing up from another chest infection like Aconcaqua. It was the right decision to turn around but I hate failure it is an emotion I rarely experience. The journey to the mountain has been amazing and this country is stunningly beautiful so two more days to Lukla and I will write more.

Onto base camp

October 27, 2012   

After the hike up Chukkong Ri for acclimatization Claire was pretty sick so we had a slumber party in the room and napped all afternoon. In the morning we left Chukkang for 300m height climb contouring along the valley side the trail led on to the moraine of the Ama glacier. Lots of information coming from Jerry our Geography teacher.A place was spotted by the group for some after summit cricket at 5100m. After about three hours we reached base camp at the foot of Island Peak and had lunch. After lunch we did some more rope training learning how to transfer from jumar to figure of 8 without dropping the figure of eight while wearing large gloves. Early to bed after a 5:30 dinner as we get up at 11:30 to start for the summit.

Aclimatisation day on Chukkung Ri

October 25, 2012   

Tweet from @JCGexpeditions: Day 8 – Aclimatisation day on Chukkung Ri, and the team are all chilling at 5500m! Views are out of this world!

Photo by Rob Nunn

Dingboche to Chukkung


Facebook post from JCG Expeditions: Today (25th October) the team are trekking to Chukkung where we will spend 2 nights. On the 26th we will make an accent of Chukkung Ri to 5550m for acclimatisation and on the 27th trek into Island Peak base camp. At midnight on the 28th we will make our summit attempt on Island Peak. I will have no internet for the next few days but can tweet occasionally so please follow me on @jcgexpeditions – thanks!

Tweet from @JCGexpeditions: Island Peak sitting at the head of the valley!

Finally we leave the Everest route behind and ascent a 18,191 foot mountain of Chukhung Ri and onto Chukkung where it is time to organize for trekking to base camp of Island Peak. From Dingboche we no longer have a view of Everest as it is hidden by Lhotse but we can see Island Peak for the rest of the approach.

In Dingboche for a few days


Tweet from @JCGexpeditions: Day 6 – Today the team will attempt to reach 5000m on the slopes behind Dingboche before descending back to Dingboche for a 2nd night.

Tweet from @JCGexpeditions: Day 6 – BOOM! Full team now at 5000m enjoying spectacular views of hundreds of big mountains including 2 x 8000m peaks!

Tweet from @JCGexpeditions: Day 6 – We can see: Makalu, Lhotse, Ama, Island Peak, Cholatse, Barrentse & more – what can u see?

The team enjoying there first views of the Kumbu mountains: Ama Dablam, Everest, Lhotse and loads more! Incredible :)
The team enjoying there first views of the Kumbu mountains: Ama Dablam, Everest, Lhotse and loads more! Incredible 🙂

Island Peak from 5000m during our acclimatisation hike yesterday from Dingboche - amazing weather and all the team are doing really well.
Island Peak from 5000m during our acclimatisation hike yesterday from Dingboche – amazing weather and all the team are doing really well.

Pangboche to Dingboche

October 23, 2012   

Facebook post from JCG Expeditions: Day 6 | Hello from Dingboche 4400m!! The past few days have been amazing with trekking from Namche – Kumjuma (Tashi’s) and Kumjuma – Pangboche and today up to Dingboche. This morning we visited the Pangboche Monastery and took a buddest blessing called a Puja. All the team are doing really well and moral is high. We will now spend 2 days here in Dingboche with an acclimatisation hike tomo to reach 5000m! I will also try and get a couple of pictures up for you guys.

ps. I have been updating twitter a few times a day via txt message – check out @jcgexpeditions

Tweet from @JCGexpeditions: Day 5 – The team have enjoyed a buddest ‘Puja’ blessing at the Pangboche monastery and now a leisurely walk to Dingboche.

On up another 3 hours to 4413m at Dingboche with excellent views of Ama Dablam and home of the Sherpas who work on this imposing mountain each post monsoon season. Contouring up the valley side, then recrossing the river and turn up the Imja Valley to reach the picturesque farming village of Dingboche at 14,465ft. We stay a day here to acclimatize further with a quick hike up Nangkar Tshang to 5000m.

The hike to 5000m was hard going personally for me as I have picked up a nasty cold. So am rattling with all the pills I can take! I slept 14 hours in the last 24 and am feeling much better this morning. Snow fell last night and stuck and we woke up to ice on the inside of the windows. So much more luxirious then in a tent. The yaks have now been called into service to carry tents etc up to base camp at Island Peak. From Dingboche we got our first view of the peak. She looks tiny in comparison to her 8000m neighbours but having talked to people who summited in the last few days she is still going to be a hard one. We will work out way up to Chukkung today and do some rope work then on another hike up to 5500m before onto base camp. We are now way above the tree line and the clouds appear from further down the valley in the afternoon. Cold here but still beautiful and if this cold goes away I will start enjoying life a ton more.

Kanjuma to Pangboche

October 22, 2012   

Tweet from @JCGexpeditions: Day 4 – Kumjuma to Pangboche. Beautiful cold crisp morning in the Kumbu, Everest Trail. #islandpeak

Tweet from @JCGexpeditions: Day 4 – Humbling morning in the Kumbu trekking towards Pangboche, but before that…CAKE at ‘the bakery’ 🙂

Tweet from @JCGexpeditions: Day 4 – amazing trekking upto Tengboche for lunch & now off to Pangboche! #IP2012

Tweet from @JCGexpeditions: Day 4 – incredible atmospher as we trek deeper into the Kumbu under the watchful eye of Everest & Ama.

Tweet from @JCGexpeditions: Day 4 – done & dusty. Full team enjoying some well deserved hot lemon and a sit down! Views incredible as always!

On the trek we dropped altitude to cross Dudh Kosi before a steep climb out and up to the beautiful mountain village of Thyangboche which has a bakery and a famous Monastery. Pangbouche is a further hour and half. We had a dog follow us for most of the day I took video.

Namche Bazar to Kumjuma

October 21, 2012   

Tweet from @JCGexpeditions: Day 3 – today we are ascending the hill behind Namche to the Everest View Lodge before dropping down to Kumjuma.

Tweet from @JCGexpeditions: Day 3 – Epic views for the team today: Ama 6812m, Lhotse & Everest 8000m, Nuptse, cholatse & loads more!

We continued on the Everest Trek which contours around the side of the valley high above the Dudh Kosi. Following the path Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Ama Dablam come into view. The trail passes several villages and numerous tea shops.