Thursday, 8 February 2018
I’ll have a tracker with my throughout my crazy event so feel free to check in and see how I’m doing. It’s at http://ift.tt/2nUsQnx
My FaceBook page will be updated throughout (hopefully) so please look at http://ift.tt/2nM6o0y
Also donations can be made at http://ift.tt/2nUfnvX or you can text FFBG48 £5 to 70070 (or any other amount should you feel so inclined).
And feel free to spread the word …
Sorry but got to dash!
Cheers – Tim
Tuesday, 19 April 2016
Clearly Tim has gone off his rocker I hear you say. But this is just one of the aspects of high altitude mountaineering that I thought I’d share with you.
Chris and I are off to Camp 1 tomorrow night and even though we’ve been getting to know each other for the past 4 weeks we are about to be thrust in to a new level of intimacy (perhaps thrust isn’t the best turn of phrase).
What generally happens on the hill is that after we’ve eaten we are tucked up in our down sleeping bags by around 8 because it is just too cold to be sitting around playing cards or standing outside staring at the stars.
So after a few minutes wrestling out of clothes and in to sleeping bags it’s time for a quick read and then slumber. And when sleep comes it can be really really deep. I generally have a fantasticly deep sleep and then wake up bursting for a wee (a side effect of being at altitude is that the body makes you pee more because of a pH imbalance that occurs).
But it’s cold out there and I’m all toasty in my bag. And, hey, I can hang on for a while until it’s time to be getting up. Or can I? I generally doze on and off for ages trying to get back to sleep but the feeling of discomfort is soooo overwhelming that returning to sleep is nigh on impossible. Best check the time to make sure I can make it until breakfast, and it’s then that I discover that it’s only around 11.30p.m. Aaarrrggghhh!
So clearly I’m not going to make it until getting up time, in which case it’s pee time. Now I used to always get up and go outside and admire the view of the stars whilst having a tinkle but that was on lower peaks where the temperature is generally a few degrees warmer. But since having been introduced to the ‘pee bottle’ I have been converted. I won’t go in to the gory details but basically you pee in to a bottle and do the top up. Depending on the time of night depends on whether you are advised to empty it straight away or not. If you empty it straight away then this tends to send a shower of frost crystals from the inside of the tent over your unfortunate tent partner as you open the tent zipper and discharge the contents at full arm stretch outside into the snow. But if you decide not to empty it then the risk is that it freezes, thereby rendering the bottle unusable again that night – which could be a BIG problem if you decided you desperately needed to go again. And when you sometimes have to go three, four or even five times a night this could suddenly become a BIG problem.
Anyway, enough of that, I’ve had a pee in a bottle and emptied it. Back to sleep? Er, no. What happens next can only be described at H.A.T.A.T. (High Altitude Tossing And Turning). You try for all your worth to sleep but it just doesn’t happen. Every time you turn over you get showered with ice crystals. Your tent partner does the pee bottle thing and showers ice over you. You get bouts of sleep apnoea and feel that you are suffocating. You breath freezes on to the inside of your sleeping bag and forms an icy crust around your head and shoulders. Your sleeping bag liner acts like a boa constrictor as it winds around you every time you move. And so it goes on. All the way through the night. Until about 5 in the morning when you eventually doze off only to be woken up at soon after 5 when the tent starts getting very light as the sun come sup. So another hour or so of tossing and turning until it’s time to get the stove on and start preparations for breakfast. And then the frost starts melting and dripping in your ear.
And that just about sums up the average night on the hill.
Now that we have been at Base Camp for a few nights we are generally getting some really deep long sleeps. Until tomorrow night, that is, when we are off to Camp 1 (6,000m) where we will start the whole ‘peeing at night’ process all over again.
It’s all part and parcel of ultra high altitude mountaineering. No one said it was going to be easy!
Friday, 25 March 2016
Initially the word on the street was that no building work was to take place during the monsoon which in actual fact has sound reasoning behind it. However what could have perhaps been done during the monsoon was the delivery of building materials or the completing of paperwork. But, no, that didn't seem to happen either.
For many families who live in trekking areas there was no option but to start the work themselves otherwise when the season started they wouldn't be able to accommodate and / or feed the trekkers and get money coming in through the door. Unfortunately it would seem that once they had decided to undertake work themselves that they didn't then qualify for any government aid. Which is perverse. The fact that they felt that they had to build, using money borrowed from the bank, because the government hadn't put a system in place whereby families could be assessed as to what they were going to get is just a shocking travesty. Of course in many Western countries this would be labelled as an 'entitlement' whereas in Nepal it is more of a lottery as to whether a family will qualify or not.
But I digress.
I was in Nepal last November and in to December and it was very refreshing to see that so much had been done to mend the trails and to try and get back to normality (the aforementioned issues not withstanding). The general consensus was to move forward rather than dwell on the past and to try and make sure that future buildings were better prepared to withstand any future earthquakes. Obviously in a country where there is no building control or regulations this is only going to be proven if (when) there is another earthquake some time in the future. I hope for everyone's sake that things are now being built to a higher standard.
But ... for families who had lost loved ones there was no moving forward. There was no brightness on the horizon. There was only the past to be reckoned with and the losses were still very raw. That is the sort of wound that will take an eternity to heal and, indeed, for some will never mend.
Despite all that I was really pleased to be able to take £4,000 to Nepal from donations that had been made early on during my money raising venture last year (before the JustGiving page went live). This was given out to various families as a 'this is for food and clothing' gesture. The mothers were staring the future in the face and although they knew that help was on the way to pay for the schooling for their children they still needed money to clothe and feed the kids. So it was really great that, thanks to the generosity of so many people last year, we were able to ease that burden and take away another unknown.
The dialogue with the families has been quite difficult because they live in quite different areas and, in Kumar's family's case, speak a completely different dialect to the Nepali and Sherpa contacts that I have. But we are getting there and Hazel Grace (from Supporting Nepal's Children) has recently been to the village to meet and greet and chat with the family. The decision from this family is that, for the time being, the kids will stay at the local village school and be at home as a family.
I never wanted to impose any criteria on the families and say that they had to send the children to a particular school - that is not for me to decide. There are a whole host of cultural implications and nuances that I wouldn't be able to fathom no matter how good the interpreter was. Anyway the decision has been made and Debita (13yr old daughter), Hasta (9 yr old son), Jineta (7 yr old daughter) and Saman (3 yr old son) will all be going to Chheskam school which is about a 5 to 10 minute walk from where they live and I am delighted that they have made this decision.
Meanwhile the 2 children of Tenzing (Tashi and Phurpu) are enrolled to go to a boarding school in Kathmandu and are looking forward to starting there imminently. My Sirdar and good friend Kame has been instrumental in helping out with the arrangements in Kathmandu and has even sorted the downpayment of Rs48,380 out of his own pocket.
I am now sat in Doha International Airport with another £4,000 about my person which is for the school fees to get the kids started and on their way and there will also be a few more payments to a couple of other families who we are supporting.
After this round of cash payments things are being a bit more formalised and the JustGiving donations will be sent directly to SNC who give their time in the UK for free. They have appointed one member of staff in Nepal who is then in charge of making sure that there is no duplicity and that fees are paid as appropriate. He's a chap called Nyamgl who I worked with a few times when he was a Climbing Sherpa and I'm really glad that they have chosen him to be their man on the ground because he will be able to direct the ring fenced 'Tim Mosedale' fund to where it needs to go.
In total just shy of £60,000 has been donated and I just want you all to know that it makes such a HUGE difference. I know that a few people have heartily congratulated me on doing the crazy event and for 'raising all that money' but I purely saw myself as a conduit between donors and families in need. Yes I raised the bar to attract your attention in the first place (and it seemed to work) but it is you guys out there who donated who deserve the pat on the back.
And just a reminder that if you haven't seen it there is a short film that Matt Sharman made about the event which kind of tells the tale from beginning to end in a very succinct 30 minute sitting (it's at https://vimeo.com/145796571). Please have a look see and do continue to spread the word.
Many thanks - Tim
Wednesday, 23 March 2016
I'll be mainly updating FaceBook whilst I am in The Khumbu so please have a look across there occasionally to see what we are up to and where we are (my poage is at https://www.facebook.com/Everest-Expedition-343655569085328/?ref=hl if you're interested).
I'll be snapping away and getting as much footage as possible especially now that I have a 12mm lens for some of the panorama shots. One great thing about this set up is that I can get a panorama done in under 10 minutes so there should be plenty of opportunities for me to bring some awesome footage back. It means that there are fewer photos for Thomas to stitch ... but the downside is that you don't get quite the same clarity. So when it comes to the ultra mega views I'll be using the Carl Zeiss 35mm Loxia lens which is utterly incredible.
As a for instance here are a couple of shots taken locally whilst I have been doing some final practicing ...
|Castlerigg Stone Circle - a prehistoric monument just outside Keswick|
|Walla Crag - a classic viewpoint overlooking Derwentwater and Keswick with great views across to the Central and Northen Fells.|
Wednesday, 2 March 2016
|Everest from The North.|
|Everest from The South.|
1. 'The Desire'
There is little point, if any, in attempting Everest unless you really, really want to do it. This should not be a whim of the moment decision. It's not back of a fag packet type stuff*. It's also not something that is on everybody's bucket list and you don't necessarily have to justify to anyone, except yourself, why you want to do it. You may not be able to vocalise how you feel about it. It may well just be something that, for whatever reason, 'flicks your switch'.
But if you don't have that yearning to attempt Everest then there is little point in setting out on it in the first place.
However ... are you being realistic?
* Warning - smoking kills and is extremely bad for your health. Please do not take this an endorsement to start, or continue, smoking. Alternatively you could jot your idea down on the back of a beer mat**.
** Please note that drinking, even in moderation, can also be bad for your health. Perhaps best to just use a note book after all.
2. 'Realistic ambition'
It's all very well having the desire but is it realistic for you to be undertaking this massive challenge? Do you have what it takes? Should you perhaps be making it a 5 year plan to enable you to get the necessary pre requisite experience and enough time to save the money? Should you maybe have a think about it rather than making a knee jerk reaction having been inspired by a book that you have just read, a film you've just watched or a slide show you have just attended?
Having the desire is all very well but there are many things that we desire in life that we know won't happen ... unless we do something about it. And even then it may well be that the desire is completely unrealistic and even if you do try and do something about it it may well not transpire.
Don't believe the public keynote speaker who uttered the 'if you put your mind to it you can do anything' line - that is utter rubbish. Have you ever noticed that this is a classic line that is banded around by people who have just done something? Yes you need to put your mind to it but don't assume that you will achieve your ambition just because you want to have a go. You can't just do anything that pops in to your head ... or we would all be able to fly, see through walls, run a sub 3 marathon or teleport.
So perhaps you need to park the idea?
Or conversely you need to focus your energy in to getting prepared ... as long as it is something that is actually realistic and potentially achievable.
3. 'Experience and a high quality mountaineering resumé'
Preferably years and years of it. If you are naturally tuned in to the outdoor recreation environment due to the frequency, quantity and quality of your experiences then life on Everest will be a lot easier for you to tolerate. You shouldn't have to think about whether your hood should be up or down, whether you are too hot or too cold, when to drink, where your gloves are or how the toggles work on your jacket. You should be able to anticipate environmental changes in advance rather than having to deal with them at the time. Preempting the fact that the sun is coming up, and in a quarter of an hour it's going to be quite hot, has got to be better when you are stood in a safe place ... rather than finding that you are boiling hot and needing to shed layers in a dangerous place fifteen minutes later. See the list of skills required elsewhere.
4. 'Technical expertise'
It's all very well having a great resumé but be honest with yourself - are you an independent mountaineer in your own right or have you been guided on every trip and climb you have ever been on? In essence, if you have an extensive mountaineering cv but have solely been guided, this is not too much of a problem as long as you then sign up for a trip that has the correct level of guidance to cater for the shortfall.
Irrespective of that you still have to ask yourself whether you will ever end up in a situation where you are no longer guided (for whatever reason), high on the mountain and whether the implication of that terrifies you (it should do). Don't bury your head in the sand and say that 'it won't happen to me' because when it does and you are high on the mountain and alone you will feel very helpless and very lonely. It's obviously not ideal but you should be able to cope in this situation.
Better to have a whole host of skills and a thorough understanding of the natural and ever changing environment, and how to adapt to it, than to be a potential liability to yourself and therefore a potential liability to everyone around you - including people on other expeditions. Knowing instinctively how to change your walking gait from one type of snow to another means that you won't compromise yourself when the conditions underfoot change. Having a sixth sense about the weather, conditions, snow etc will mean that you are far less likely to jeopardise yourself and being tuned in will also make it a far more enjoyable experience as well. Knowing that your helmet should be on your head not your rucksack, knowing your routines and having faultless personal admin will all be very relevant when you are high on the hill.
5. The ability to Focus ...
on what needs doing and when to do it. This applies to your years of training, your gear purchases, knowing your equipment intimately, your choice of operator and your own personal commitment. You need to focus on each and every aspect, and leave no stone unturned, whether it be research and preparation for the mountain, your fitness and gaining relevant experience prior to the expedition, or focusing on what is relevant at the right moment during the trip.
It's really important to prioritise and realise that the consequences of your actions, or inactions, may have far reaching consequences. What would be considered to be small issues on lesser peaks become compounded issues on Everest. On lower peaks the fact that you haven't applied or reapplied suncream may have little if any consequence. On Everest, due to the higher elevation and the rarified atmosphere you will frazzle and become sunburnt which is extremely debilitating. In the UK you can perhaps get away without drinking for the whole day (with the intention of topping up when you get home). On Everest you won't be able to get enough fluids to be sufficiently rehydrated if you go in to deficit. A little bit of dehydration on a daily basis will become a massive problem at the end of a 7 or 8 week period and you will be not only debilitated but also much more prone to the effects of high altitude, more susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia as well as having reduced efficiency and depleted brain function.
Look at your expedition as a long term project. It requires lots of preparation and it needs to be conducted in a manner where you are constantly reevaluating the situation. Do your due diligence not only of the company that you are going to sign up with but of yourself as well.
|Giles at the top of The Geneva Spur en route to the summit. A few days earlier he had contemplated going home. Thankfully he was able to refocus his energies and turned his feelings of despondency in to drive and determination.|
You need this by the pound. There will be moments of self doubt. There will be the days when you just don't perform how you hoped. There will be the off days when you should be firing on all cylinders. There will be the days when you are missing your friends and family and questioning this crazy endeavour. And combined with all that ... you will have a headache at some stage, possibly a bout of diarrhoea, your lips may well have cracked because you weren't looking after yourself, you can't sleep properly at night because of sleep apnoea, it's cold and you pee all the time and you will go off your food. Perversely, just when you are burning more energy than you have ever burnt before, you will lose your appetite and won't be able to face a fork full.
How on earth can you attempt to continue unless you have mental tenacity by the bucket load? However, you must temper your resilience with a deep respect for the environment around you and also listen to the inner you. If it doesn't feel right then that 6th sense of yours may well be worth listening to. If you continue because your are tough and resilient, whilst ignoring the very obvious changes that are happening around you, then your mental tenacity may well get you in to trouble.
Mental tenacity has to be balanced with a respect for the conditions around you and a certain feeling of vulnerability.
7. Self belief
This is a slightly different psychological requirement. Being tough and mentally resilient is one thing but you will need to be able to keep on going, despite how awful you feel, in spite of how lonely you might be, no matter how 'out there' and vulnerable you may feel. You have to put all that to one side and put one foot in front of the other ... incredibly slowly ... believing all the way that you have what it takes. Again, as with mental tenacity, your self belief has to be tempered to the surroundings, and any changes that may be occurring, or it may well get you in to a pickle.
|Put it all together and you may, just may, get to the summit.|
So there you have it - a variety of key traits that you need to have a chance of being successful on Everest. But remember - just because you have the ambition, the drive, the focus and all the other necessary prerequisites doesn't actually mean that you will achieve your target.
No matter which expedition you sign up for, no matter how much preparation you have done, no matter how good your Climbing Sherpa is you have to remember that only you can put one foot in front of the other - it can't be done for you.
Time to get out on the hill.
(For further related reading have a look at the suggested Skills Required and Why People Don't Summit).
Wednesday, 24 February 2016
Entry is only £15 and includes a glass of wine or beer and a curry supper.
Proceeds are going to 'Supporting Nepal's Children' (registered charity No 1160929) for the education of children who lost their fathers who perished in in the avalanche at Everest Base Camp caused by the earthquake in April 2015.
Tickets can be ordered by calling 01325 254321. Entry on the night subject to availability.
We look forward to seeing you there.