Frisbee with the Phortse kids, latest Irish Times article published on the effects of altitude and the people of the Khumbu, and we cross the Renjo La at 5350m.

We had some fun this morning playing Frisbee with the local kids in Phortse.

Since the last post from Thame, we have been off the beaten track and largely without 3G or Wifi (even when advertised otherwise). If you’ve been missing the updates, I hope you’ve seen our map tracker where you can follow our every move. Still was able to get my latest article to the Irish Times by deadline and it was published in print and online today – check it out as I’m trying to avoid repetition. Was able to take the opportunity to talk about all the amazing people of the Khumbu valley we have met over the past week.

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Leaving Thame we dropped by Thameteung to visit painter Pasang Nuru Sherpa. Pasang lost his fingers and toes to frostbite while crossing the Nangpa-la in the mid-70’s and has been painting ever since. We got to meet his children as well and they talked to us about their hopes to go to university in Kathmandu. His son has just completed exams for his final year and waiting for results.

We then moved up the valley to Marulung where we stayed at River view lodge run by And Phurba Sherpa, an eight time Everest summiteer. For more on him, his marathon winging daughters, and Passing Nuru, you’ll need to read the Irish Times article. This is the third of my weekly articles in the Irish Times and really pleased with the feedback thus far.

From Marulung we had our first tough acclimatisation schedule ahead. First we tackled our first 5000m peak, check this video out from the top and cheerful Sami Mansour in particular! Some of the team were really feeling the altitude but everyone pushed through.

We then moved up to Lungde and then had a tough day crossing the Renjo La pass at 5350m and then descending down to Gokyo at 4750 for the night.

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Jo, Michael, myself, Jonathan at the Renjo La – 5350m

From Gokyo, we them descended a thousand meters to Phortse and after a few days pushing it trekking and sleeping at higher altitudes everyone is back to feeling a million dollars. After a few days living in very basic conditions we’re now back on the main tourist trail. For 4 or 5 days we were seeing less than five trekkers a day but this morning between Phortse and Pangboche we encountered our first trekking groups which we needed to pass.

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Jo and me, on our way from Phortse to Pangboche

The lack of crowds this past week against the lines of trekkers we’ve seen on the route today really makes us really appreciate the route that Tim has put together for us getting off the beaten track. Still we’re also happy to have a few creature comforts back.

I expect we’ll have better internet over the coming few days so I’ll provide another update before we leave the main trail again and get out our tents, helmets, and harnesses for the first time before our climb of Pokalde 5800m next week.

Thanks again for your support for our school building project in Makwanpur through Child Rescue Nepal. Our amazing day with Jamuna, her team and the kids in Kathmandu is still fresh in our memory. For details on how to support please check out

virginmoneygiving.com/letsbuildschools

We’ll also provide an update on our corporate sponsors shortly. Till then, stay safe and enjoy it out there.

 

Greetings from Thame at 3794m and second Everest Diary is published yesterday in the Irish Times

It snowed last night and when I woke this morning I hiked up to the nearest pass to get mobile coverage and download some email. The view of Thame covered in snow with the morning light peering in was captivating.

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Access to internet and 3G are widely reported in the media to be fully accessible everywhere in the Khumbu all the way to and including base camp. I always took this with a pinch of salt and this has now been confirmed. From today I expect we’ll be completely out of touch for a few days so feel free to follow us on https://share.garmin.com/roryeverest

Was also delighted to see my latest Everest diary published in the Irish Times. Can’t see it online yet so will circulate the link when I get it but can also check it out here:

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The first Irish Times article is available on:

http://www.irishtimes.com/sport/other-sports/mount-everest-diary-i-ucd-graduate-aims-for-top-of-world-1.3023737

 

Great view of Everest this morning, quick post from our lunch stop at Thamo with Everest marathon winner Ang Chuttin Sherpa

We left the Ama Dablam lodge at kangzuma just after 8 this morning. Tashi had been an incredible host and even welcomed us to visit her amazing prayer room. 


The full team with Tashi outside the lodge before leaving this morning.

The views of Ama Dablam from Tashi’s have been sublime


Ama Dablam from Tashi’s tea house 

We hadn’t been long on the trail when it steepened and our breaths deepened, when it levelled off we were treated to an amazing view of Everest, Lhotse, and Ama Dablam again. 


Left to right you can see Everest, Llohtse, and Ama Dablam (ignoring the dark mountain on the left in the foreground)


Then it was on to khum Jung with its mani walls inscribed with Buddhist prayers and where we picked up Mongo the dog. 


A further couple of hours trekking through pine forest with views all over. 

How far with Mongo the dog join us? We’re all keen on a base camp companion but it’s up to him!

And here we now are with Ang Chuttin Sherpa’s Alpine Lodge. Ang Chuttin Sherpa won the Everest marathon on her first attempt despite stopping to chat to friends along the route. She was then discovered and sponsored to race all over the world including Berlin and Singapore.


Left to right: Billy, Ang Chuttin Sherpa, Rory, Jonathan, Laksma

Let the trek begin!

Its been an awesome few days since I last updated from Kathmandu

We left on Tuesday morning on a twin prop 18 seater light aircraft from Kathmandu to Lukla, a tiny airstrip only 500 meters in the foothills of the Himalaya. Was an amazing flight, with a sharp sudden descent into the landing.

Check out the video below of the planes taking off! Cliff edge on one side of the runway and a wall on the other, not much scope for error! No wonder this airport is labelled the most dangerous in the world.

From Lukla we began our trek, first to Monjo for the first night and then on the second day we trekked alongside the Dudh Kosi river to Namche Bazar, crossing wonderful suspension bridges straight out of Indiana Jones and catching our first view of Everest in the distance along the way.

suspension bridges in the khumbu

My bags hadn’t made it from Kathmandu so I used this stop in the largest trading post in the Khumbu to buy some basic essentials and a “dumb” phone for use at base camp. Base camp veterans all believe that simple phones receive better reception higher up the mountain and I’ve also picked up a local SIM card and receiving sporadic 3G now. The wifi connections in the tea houses have however been significantly worse than I had expected from online research pre-trip.

I’ve also managed to get my inreach satellite communicator working so from here on in (and hopefully to the summit!), you can follow our progress through the Garmin Mapshare.

 

 

Great weekend in Kathmandu! Visiting Child Rescue Nepal’s children home and meeting the rest of climbing & trekking team. First of my weekly columns published in the Irish Times.

We arrived in Kathmandu yesterday (Saturday) afternoon. Despite not sleeping on the flight, We’re all feeling a lot more relaxed now that we’ve left home. The final days were actually fairly stressful and for a tired mind the time differences here are initially a struggle. We transited in Delhi which has a 5.5hr time different with London and then we landed in Kathmandu which is a further 15 minutes ahead!

On arriving I was also delighted to see my first column in the Irish Times published on the back page of Saturday sports section and online. This first piece is more of an intro/background to me before we fly out and then from next week I’ll be writing from Himalaya.

 

On arriving in Kathmandu we were met at the hotel Manaslu in Thamel by our expedition leader Tim Mosedale and we also met Blake and Jonathan who are also on the Everest Summit Team. Blake is from Australia and lives in Barcelona while Jonathan and I know each other from climbing in Alaska last year. I’ll introduce the team properly over the coming days.

The highlight of today was visiting the Child Rescue Nepal boys and girls home in the outskirts of Kathmandu. We had a great time meeting Jamuna and her team and of course all the boys and girls who are currently living there and just broke up for holidays today. Jamuna and her team are doing an incredible job and we received a blessing for the trip ahead and well wishing cards and a banner made by the kids! Brilliant day and its reinforced just how much a change our fundraising will make to the communities of Makwanpur.

FullSizeRenderIt’s hard to overstate how impressed we were with the work Jamuna and her team are doing, rescuing children from shocking situations of trafficking and abuse and ensuring they have a positive environment to develop. We are also very grateful for the blessing we received for our trip and for all the beautiful wishes the kids had drawn for us for the trip and a safe and successful summit.

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This evening we met the more arrivals from the trekking and climbing teams: Billy the ex military man from Durham, Laura from Scotland, and Xena from Balham, Ronny Rehn form Dresden who I was training with in Scotland a couple of weeks ago. We all went out for a great meal and a few beers after. Given we’ve now left for the trip, I ended my alcohol ban yesterday and have been enjoying some Everest beers on this trip thus far.

To support Child Rescue Nepal and our school building project in Makwanpur please visit virginmoneygiving.com/letsbuildschools

 

 

Here we go! Heading to Kathmandu tonight and delighted to report we have funded the first school project with Child Rescue Nepal

The excitement has been building for weeks and now I’m writing this already onboard our JetAir Flights as we prepare to fly to Kathmandu through Delhi at 8:50pm tonight.

This last week has been packed with last minute shopping, tearing my flat apart to look for random items, spending time with my family and friends, still working hard on some exciting projects with alternative lenders, and dealing with an unusual finger infection which has me on antibiotics as I try to clear it up before we get going.

Here we all are out at the airport just before check in. Its been a busy few weeks, I’m going to sleep like a baby!

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Left to right: Michael McHugh, Sami Mansour, Jo Tizzard, Rory McHugh, Bernie Angopa. They’re all joining the trip as far as base camp, and we expect to get there just before Easter Sunday.

We’ll be in touch soon from Kathmandu!

The charity fundraising is also going brilliantly and we fully funded our first school this week just before our departure! Your support is hugely appreciated. We’ve had a number of new corporate charity partners join us over the last week, we’ll be unveiling them next week, its never too late!

virginmoneygiving.com/letsbuildschools

 

 

 

10 days to go! Great last day in the mountains with Di and Ronny, back to London.

Time is flying by and was really great to spend time with Di who is leading on Cho Oyu (6th highest mountain) and K2 (second highest mountain). Given that I’m going for Everest and Ronny is going for Llohtse it dawned us today that we are attempting 4 of the 6 highest mountains in the world between us over the coming months!

Everest training in Cairn Gorms

Great also to spend 4 days chatting trip prep, kit, tips and tricks. Di has been absolutely brilliant and has had a wealth of knowledge to share from her two decades taking on the biggest peaks and toughest routes. Di also had Ronny and I alternating lead up some nice gullies today to which was great final prep and day out.

Ronny and I are now sitting in the the pub (I think I’ve had about 20 pints of alcohol free Erdinger this week!) in the Cairngorm hotel waiting for the sleeper to arrive to get back to London and I think I’ll be sleeping well!

Mountaineering in the Cairngorms with K2 bound Di Gilbert and Lhotse’s Ronny Rehn

Been a great few days in Scotland. Arriving by the Caledonian Sleeper was a dream, really enjoyed a great sleep and waking up and opening the blinds in the cabin to see the Scottish highlands rolling by.

On Friday we rented mountain bikes and took them around the area for the day. Hills and Lochs and some nice hilly single track terrain. Hanging out with Ronny is also what I needed at this stage as its great to discuss our final stage planning, kit lists, and expectations for the months ahead. Ronny is planning to climb 8516m Lhotse (4th highest mountain in the world) and will be joining our expedition as far as Camp 3 at 7200m before heading a different direction and taking on the north east ridge. With the exception of the final summit push we’ll be spending the next two months together. He’s also gopro junky and just posted some videos of this trip, check them out as well as his blog here.

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It got even better on Saturday when we were picked up by Di Gilbert, Di has not only climbed the seven summits but was leading a team on K-2 last year when an avalanche took out all the supplies in an otherwise empty camp 3 which ultimately led to cancellation of the expedition. She’s heading out to lead a team on Cho Oyu in April and is also going to be leading a team on K-2 later in the summer (K-2 is in Pakistan and the climbing season is later then Everest and is typically climbed in July/August).

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The thaw in the weather really didn’t help our objectives for the weekend. Mushy snow took out a lot of the routes Di had in mind but we still enjoyed a nice time on one of the gullies under Cairn Gorm yesterday and today we headed to Ben Nevis north face and enjoyed the Ledge route in a constant drizzle.  It looks like we’ll get a good freeze tonight so we’ll be doing something more technically challenging tomorrow for our last mountain day before Nepal. We’ll then be overnighting on the sleeper back to London arriving in Euston at 730am on Tuesday.

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On our way down from Nevis ledge route, north side, rain stopped and sun came out and I took my only picture of the day. That’s Di ahead.

And: yes there will be a chance for Jonathan Guidry to take me on at high altitude frisbee golf – just managed to pick up the exact same frisbee in Aviemore which we used for the 2016 championship match on Denali! Fate.

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