Climb Everest in 2016 / 17 / 18 etc with 4 times summiteer Tim Mosedale

Everest Expedition via South Col 2016 / 2017 / 18 / 19 etc

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Our extended family

I forgot to mention - on the way in and out to and from Ama Dablam my friend Tashi at Ama Dablam Lodge had mentioned that a friend of hers had lost her husband in the 2006 avalanche on Ama. Anyway I agreed to meet Sheeta Putti and she is just such a delightful lady. She has 3 children and the youngest is 4 - so has grown up without a father. The older 2 are 12 and 15 and are at boarding school in Kathmandu.

Anyway it turns out that the company that Mingma Nuru Sherpa had been working for gave a one off payment of Rs40,0000 (around £3,000) as compensation and she hasn't heard from them since. Mingma was obviously the wage earner and guess what, they don't have life assurance policies out there.

So the long and the short of it is that we are now sponsoring her 4 year old. It's pretty cool as I'd been racking my brain trying to think of a scheme or charity to get involved with - particularly something in The Khumbu. But everything is so well set up there already and I don't just want to end up giving a bunch of money to an organisation that is actually doing alright anyway.

Sheeta, Tashi and Tashi's sister.

So there you have it - some proceeds from all future Ama Dablam Expeditions will be going to help and support a family who have lost their husband and father. It so happens that Mingma was also a cousin and brother of Nyamgal and Germi who I have worked with many times on Ama. So it's quite poignant really.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Recent Ama Dablam post

Just back to Kathmandu after a very successful trip to Ama Dablam. Unfortuntaley I wasn't able to keep the Blog updated so I am copying the posts retrospectively.

28th Oct

Free drinks in 1st class may be fantastic, but the train's a little rocky round the corners and I've managed to spill mine all over my trousers. I can now look forward to travelling for the next 19 hours smelling like a well known cheap brand of coffee granules. Hmmm, NICE!

29th Oct

They have stopped giving frequent flyers an extra 10kg baggage allowance. Aaaarrrgghh! Beat a hasty retreat and repacked. Looked rather strange going through security wearing 3 pairs of trousers, 2 pairs of insoles and 3 wicky tops under my shirt. Nearly passed out.

Managed to convince the Xray staff that the reason I had 72 muesli bars in my laptop case is that I get hungry really quickly. Carry on bag now weighs about 18kg. Trying my best to look nonchalant.

30th Oct

Arrived in Kathmandu! Yip yip. Not sure which I need 1st - a proper shave, a bed or a beer. I guess I'll go to Sam's Bar to mull it over.

Kathmandu - it's bonkers out here. Busiest ever but great to be back. A chap asked if I wanted a shoeshine. I'm wearing sandals. What's he going to do, buff my toenails?

31st Oct

Got our Ama Dablam permit in only 30 mins. This has to be some kind of record.

1st Nov

Got 20 mins free and having my first Mocha since Thurs. Flying to Lukla 06.15 tomorrow!

2nd Nov

Arrived Lukla at 06.55 after the smoothest check in EVER. Met a few friends along the trail - it's good to be back.

3rd Nov

Arrived Namche 11.30 for lunch. Met more friends on the way. Looking forward to seeing Tashi at Kyanjuma. After a coffee & chocolate doughnut at Everest Bakery.

4th Nov

Ama Dablam STOP PRESS. Apparently AC have bolted The Yellow Tower. WTF?

5th Nov

Just arrived at Tengboche monastery. Sat outside at the bakery enjoying coffee & choc doughnuts in the sun before we mooch on to Pangboche.

10th Nov

Slept at ABC last night. Went to Camp 1 with Ian this a.m. & I'm now back in BC eating Jelly Belly jelly beans. They're tasty! I can't see them lasting long.

11th Nov

Bad news - my wet wipes have frozen solid. No more washing for me!

12th Nov

Ama Dablam news - Ian Wade summited at 09.11. He and Jabbu Sherpa made it to the summit in an incredible 4hrs 40mins from Camp 2. They'll be back in BC for tea!

My mistake - Ian made it to the summit of Ama Dablam in 4hrs 25!!! He & Jabbu are now back at Base Camp. A 12hr 20mins round trip Camp 2 - summit - BC.

15th Nov

Ama Dablam - Sean, Paul, Claire, Lucy & Adam going for their 4 day summit bid today. Another team head off 2moro. All camps established & every1 in fine fettle.

Ama Dablam - Sean & Co @ Camp 1 tonight. Michael, Frank, Ian, Phil & Kate heading up there 2moro. Remainder following the day after. Busy busy.

17th Nov

Ama Dablam - 3 folk heading for Camp 2.9, 5 heading for C2, 5 heading for C1 and 2 heading for ABC. Busy busy. Everyone well. Summit news to follow as and when.

18th Nov

Ama Dablam 2 on the way to the summit, 5 on the way to Camp 2.9 & 8 at Camp 1. Hoping for summit news in the next 5 to 6 hours.

Sean summited at 15.20. Should be back at Camp 2.9 imminently. Tomorrow 3 going for the summit tomorrow with Jabbu Sherpa & 6 folk heading to C2 with Lakpa.

19th Nov

Ama Dablam update - Phil summited 13.35 with Frank, Ian & Jabbu following at 14.45. Descending to Camp 2.9 tonight and Base Camp tomorrow. Well done guys!

20th Nov

Shaw & Andy @ C2.9 with Dave & Lakpa expected there imminently - hope 2 summit 2moro. Paul & Toby at ABC on their 5 day summit bid. Remainder heading down to BC.

21st Nov

Shaw, Andy & Lakpa summited at 13.45. Well done guys. Paul & Toby heading to Camp 2 tomorrow.

23rd Nov

Left Base Camp this morning & now at Tashi's eating cheese toasties, drinking Coke and waiting for a hot shower. Bliss.

25th Nov

Paul Lewis summited Ama Dablam yesterday and now it's a wrap. 9 (plus 4 Sherpas) climbed Ama & 7 plus 2 climbed Island Peak. A successful trip me thinks.

Hmmm - arrived Lukla & there haven't been any flights today. Could be mayhem trying to get back to Kathmandu tomorrow. We'll see.

26th Nov

Just arrived back in to Kathmandu from Lukla (nearly didn't get out). Off for a shave, a beer and a steak. And then some more beers.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Excess baggage

They have stopped giving frequent flyers an extra 10kg baggage allowance. Aaaaarrrrggh!

Beat a hasty retreat and repacked. Went back and weighed in 36 with a different stewardess without her mentioning a thing.

Looked rather strange going through security wearing 3 pairs of trousers, 2 pairs of insoles and 3 wicky tops under my shirt. Nearly passed out.

Managed to convince the staff that the reason I had 72 muesli bars in my laptop case is that I get hungry really quickly.

Carry on bag weighs about 18kg. Doing my best to look nonchalant. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop


Free drinks on the train when in 1st class is all very well. Unfortunately not the smoothest of journeys so I managed to spill mine on my lap. Now looking forward to the next 19 hours smelling like a brand of well known coffee granules.

Hmmm - NICE! BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Friday, 22 October 2010

It's been a while ...

Well Dear Reader, I have been inundated with a request to update the blog - so you are not the only person out there following the life and musings of Tim Mosedale / Elm Tree Lodge Guest House / Ama Dablam in a week's time / Everest Spring 2011.

So ... a very brief update. We've had a mega busy year in the B&B (only 3 nights in 27 weeks where we haven't had guests in) so it's welcome respite to be approaching the quieter time of year. Max still not sleeping and this adds to the jaded feeling that comes towards the end of the busy period. Well that's strictly not true actually - he has slept through. 3 nights since February.

Having said all that the quieter time of year for the B&B coincides with the busy busy busy lead up to my next Ama Dablam expedition. There's a lot going on this year - with some folk out there trekking in to Island Peak already, some flying next week and then the main party arriving next weekend in KTM. I've been stocking up on food and supplies to take out there (I use a mixture of Western and locally sourced food for the hill) and I've managed to get a few friends and fellow leaders to take some stuff in advance, but I'm now contemplating how to get the remaining 59Kgs of food out on a 40Kg baggage allowance.Managed 89Kgs on a 55Kg allowance a few years back so fingers crossed I'll get everything through without incurring the £27.10/Kg excess.

Best take some clothes too this year - I'll allow myself 3Kg for personal items. I forgot to take anything extra a few years ago - thinking that I had enough supplies in my kit stored at Base Camp. Unfortunately when I opened my barrels the grollies I was anticipating being there weren't, so I had 3 weeks in one pair of undies. Washed them a few times and went commando round Base Camp but even so.

Been clearing out the loft and it's amazing what you find up there. I'd quite forgotten where I'd put all the old useless fleeces and knackered waterproofs I'd accumulated over the years. But the great news is that I have found the 7 pieces of wood with nails hammered in them that I knew I may need some day. Just not quite sure what to do with them - so I guess I;ll keep hold of them for the time being.

Been running quite a bit and had some really great days out - most notably The Fairfield Horseshoe, Grizedale Pike Horseshoe and various other outings up and over Walla / Bleaberry / Blencathra. It's all good training for next year's trip to Everest.

Talking of which we have just booked flights today for The Big E - exciting times.

Hoping to be able to update with news when we are trekking in and again as soon as we leave Base Camp to come home. Watch this space.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Max Mosedale

Just testing the mobile blogging (yet again). Anyone know how to update via text rather than e mail? Just trying to get set up to send updates back from Nepal. We'll see ...

Monday, 13 September 2010

Photos - how do I upload photos?

Any ideas how to get photos from iPhone to the Blogging App?

If only life was easier. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

It Works!

Of course it works. Why am I surprised? I'm not if the truth be told.

Now .... How do I send Blog updates with photos from Ama Dablam Base Camp ...??? BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Mobile Blogging

Just a quick tester to check out the blogger mobile site. Tried online earlier to mo avail but managed to find the handy (and free) iPhone App. Here goes ... BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Another phone conversation

'Hi I'm calling from the Winchester Echo and we're doing a feature on The Lake District and '

'Sorry to interrupt - are you trying to sell me something?'

'No, no. Anyway we are doing this great feature about The Lake District and in particular we are targeting Keswick as a destination market town and '

'Are you trying to sell me advertising or editorial space?'

'No, not at all. Anyway we are going to run the feature next week in time for the August Bank Holiday and '

'Well I'm sorry but it's a bit late as we are full already for the August Bank Holiday. Sorry - but are you trying to sell me something? Advertising or column space?'

'No, no. Anyway we are sure that even if people from our area don't come for the August Bank Holiday that they will remember the piece for any future visits and '

'So how does this affect me? Are you asking me to advertise?'

'No, no. But anyway there is a tremendous circulation of our paper and it not only '

'Sorry to ask again but is this going to cost me money?'

'No, no. And we have a very loyal following and '

'Is this going to cost me money?'

'No, no, not at all. Anyway we are running the feature and have a limited number of spaces available for '

'Sorry to interrupt and ask yet again but is this going to cost me money?'

'Err, yes. But here's the deal there are only '

'Sorry, no thanks.'

'But it's a tremendous offer and you '

'Can I just ask how you found us?'

'Well you are on page one of Google for "Bed and Breakfast in Keswick" and I thought that .... ahh, I see, do you think that maybe I ought to target people on, say, page 3 or 4?'

'That could be a good move.'


'Not at all.'

Friday, 27 August 2010

Phone calls

Well dear reader it has been a busy few weeks and it's all a bit of a blur again - one day rolls inexorably in to the next with no days off and no such thing as a weekend. It's busy busy busy - hence the lack of updates.

But I thought I would let you in on a few of the slightly eclectic phone calls I have had recently.

First there was the chap who called to say that he wasn't a climber, had no experience of mountaineering and had never been in a tent - but he's good in the gym - so was it possible for him to come and climb Everest? Not with my group was the reply. Why not? was the answer. So ... after outlining that it is better suited to people who are independent climbers and mountaineers in their own right and that it is a serious knarly place and that if you are a liability to yourself then you are a liability to everyone around you he proudly went on to tell me that he reckoned that he and a few mates might just rock up in Kathmandu, get a permit and that they'll see us at Base Camp. Jolly good.

Next there was another chap (sorry guys - it is generally men rather than women that I hear these crazy ideas from) who had trekked to Everest Base Camp, had ascended Kala Pattar with no problems and, having seen Ama Dablam, wanted to have a go. Again I refer the honourable gentleman to my previous answer.

A while back I had an enquiry about rock climbing. We chatted for at least 30 minutes and I had his e mail address to send the application form as well as debit card details to confirm the booking. We were just saying our goodbyes when he asked 'does it matter that I only have one arm?'

And lastly I have had numerous calls from people such as 'The No1 SEO Company,' or 'The UK Search Engine Optimization Website,' or other such drivel, telling me that they can get me not only on page one of Google but, in some instances, to number one on Google - in the organic listings. Now this creases me up every time because I generally get straight on to the computer whilst we are chatting, type in 'Web SEO' or 'Search Engine Optimization' in to Google and start searching - for them. Whilst we are chatting I casually drop in that we are already on Page 1 or high on Page 2 (and indeed for some key phrases I am No1) and they answer 'well I typed in Hotels in Cumbria and I haven't found you' (interesting - how come you managed to get my details to call me then?). Anyway having pointed out that we are a) not a hotel and b) we aren't just 'in Cumbria' and that c) a person would probably search for 'B&Bs in Keswick,' or 'Keswick B&B accommodation' or other more relevant Keswick accommodation based search phrases I then ask why I haven't found them ... after 14 pages of searching on Google.

At this point the line usually goes dead.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

The Bob - update

Bob Graham Round update - 8 mins up on Skiddaw and then 10 mins down by the top of Blencathra. Very difficult and slippy going underfoot along with increasingly poor visibility. 25 mins down by Threlkeld with a good bash on the ankle where I managed to pop it straight in to a rocky crevice on the way down. Oops. At this stage eternal optimism seemed to be the way ahead and, rationalising it, I figured if I made the pit stops 5 mins less and kept the pace going I'd still be in with a slim chance. Especially as I was on a 23 1/2 hour schedule - so there was another 30 minutes!

So my fantastic support crew (who had just been running with me for 4 and a half hours in the wet) pandered to my every need for 10 mins and then I set off on Leg 2 in to the ever decreasing visibility and ever wetter weather with a new support team (1 of whom had just joined at 5 that afternoon because my original navigator had tweeked his back).

Anyway, awful conditions - but, well, you just get on with it. Very difficult nav and lost a bit of time here and there with little purchase in places on the muddy terrain. In fact there were a couple of spots where you would have thought we were wading ankle deep across rivers and streams.

Result was I ended up being 1hr 25 mins down by Dunmail. Sore ankle playing up and the prospect of trying to claw back all that time (in what was not a favourable forecast as it happens) meant that it was knocked on the head. A difficult decision but now that I am hobbling around like Kaiser Soze - the right one.

A big up thank you to the folk that ran with me and my apologies to everyone else who had volunteered to help that I didn't end up needing your services.

Great views coming down of Seat Sandal though when the cloud lifted.

Hey ho.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

The Bob

Just been stocking up on pain medication in anticipation of getting very sore knees when attempting The Bob Graham Round starting tomorrow night. Should I really be doing this I ask myself? I'll let you know how it goes on Sunday (or whenever I manage to get out of bed and downstairs). Then again the beauty of WiFi is that I can update from the comfort of my own bed.

Other news - was out on the hill with Pete Sidwell last week for his forthcoming tv series on Channel 4 throughout Sept. Didn't manage to get the B&B mentioned (but maybe slipped in Ama Dablam and Everest - we'll see what the editing team do! Then the kids were being filmed as well for the same series at a tea party.

Guests coming and going and we've been non stop. Last time we didn't have anyone in the B&B was for one night on 8th July and before that was May 26th! One day off in 10 weeks. Hmmm. Tough working for yourself but then it has to be done. And juggled with everything else. Talking of which we will be looking for a member of staff or a couple to run the B&B next April - Jun. Let me know if you are interested.

Apparently the Chubb Fire Extinguisher man only services 15 Bed and Breakast properties in Keswick.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Bob Graham Leg 2 / Filming Channel 4

Tuesday I was out with Stuart Williams and his mate in pretty awful conditions for a pootle along the Helvellyn Range from Threlkeld to Dunmail. Now Stuart certainly knows the route intimately and I'm sure he'll be very successful in his sub 22 hour attempt. I wasn't feeling too good so sat down as the sun came out below Seat Sandal and missed out Fairfield.

Out yesterday on Skiddaw filming with Pete Sidwell for his cookery / travel series which is due to be aired throughout September on Channel 4. It was better than Monday and turned out to give some quite atmospheric and moody conditions - which hopefully will be captured and stitched together to give a half decent show.

Busy busy in the Bed and Breakfast with a full house. Shanee and co leaving mega early tomorrow - but as they are regulars I'll be up to give them breakfast and see them off.

Then 3 rooms to turn around whilst looking after 2 children! Hmmm. A tricky one but I have a cunning plan....

Monday, 26 July 2010

Now - where was I?

Okey dokey - bit of a long time since the last post but then it is officially the silly season. B&B work is now absolutely mad and all time consuming. Juggling it all together with the family and our other jobs is a tough act - especially as we don't want to compromise the B&B, our guests or our quality of life (hence the long time since the last post).

Anyway it looks possible (possible not probable) that our BGR attempt will be next week. Weather looks like it may be ok for next Mon / Tues - we'll see nearer the time. Unfortunately this also coincides with a frantically busy week with lots of room changes at the guesthouse as well as Ali being at work. But we'll get there. Somehow.

Talking of the weather, I was supposed to be out filming with Pete Sidwell today for his Channel 4 series that is being aired in September. Totally and utterly clagged in with virtually zero vis so we've postponed until Wednesday.

Out tomorrow with a chap to do Leg 2 of the BGR. Strangely enough the way we got in touch is when he made a booking at the Bed and Breakfast because of The Bob connection. So we got chatting (and I must say it sounds like he's done a lot more training than me) and he's coming up tomorrow - so we'll share lifts and have a mooch on the hill. I was supposed to be out on Leg 3 last Sunday but contracted man flu (it was a serious bout - lasted over 48 hours) and so decided against it. Not sure which was the worst prospect - making myself a little iller due to the exertion, or sounding croaky for Pete Sidwell's filming episode.

So it's now busy busy with B&B change overs as guests come and go, final preparations for The Bob not to mention the final tweeks and changes for the Ama Dablam trip. With Ali at work for the rest of the week it's going to be a busy one and then out on the hill with a group on Saturday and a slide show on Sunday. Just taken 3 bookings today for guests coming in the next fortnight and have a few climbing bookings coming up over the next few weeks as well.

Still ... I wouldn't have it any other way.

Oh, yes, joined the 21st century with an iPhone 4! Fantastic.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

'The Bob' is a go

Have just announced intentions to have a crack at The Bob Graham Round sometime at the beginning of August. Rather than setting a fixed date now, and being at the mercy of the weather, I've contacted my potential supporters, I'll find out their availability to do various legs according to which day of the week and what commitments they have, and then once I have a better idea about the weather I'll get in touch with everyone and set the date accordingly.

Went out on Blencathra with Stuart (the chap who'll be having a go on the same day as me) and we hoofed it up to the summit in 1hr 10mins. Then we went back along towards Great Calva to suss out the line from the river crossing and then hung a left and dropped across to the Skiddaw House track and back across the top of Latrigg. A good little run out but I realised as I got to the top of Latrigg that all I'd had that day was a left over rasher of bacon for breakfast and a spoonful of baked beans for lunch. It had been a bit of a busy day in the B&B and I'd had Max to look after and, well, I just ran out of time for breakfast and then forgot to have lunch. Nearly, but not quite, bonked - so a very valuable lesson. Good to know that I could still run on empty and took on the importance of keeping the fuel tank topped up.

Just been up Clough Head this afternoon in between and amongst the rain showers. Not sure whether to tackle it up the steeper more direct line or the less steep but longer ascent. The difference amounts to about 300m / 4 minutes - not a lot but if you lose 4 mins here and 4 mins there it could make all the difference between success and failure.

The beauty of mobiles and the internet! Managed to take 3 calls and a booking while out on the hill. Brilliant. Not like the old days where the B&B owner had to be in to get the passing trade. Or when people used to get the tourist brochure, ring the B&B, make a booking, send a letter and a cheque to secure the reservation and get a letter in reply to confirm the booking. Nowadays people can book at any time of the day or night online - which is why we offer a discount for internet bookings.

We have tweeked the B&B website and gone for a brand new, cleaner look with bigger photos and a slightly different layout. Any feedback much appreciated.

Still getting Ama Dablam enquiries but have unfortunately had to close the trip. Not so much because of the number of people that I am looking after but more that there could be a potential logjam if everyone is on the same schedule and trying for the summit round about the same time. The camps are rather bijou to say the least:

Camp 2 on Ama Dablam
Camp 2 on Ama Dablam - just enough room for 5 or 6 tents

Camp 2.9 on Ama Dablam
Camp 2.9 on Ama Dablam - even less room. 3 tents at a push.

The problem comes when trying to get more people than the available tent spaces up and down over a two or three day period - especially when relying on tent spaces being vacated for the next wave of people on their summit push only to find that the people who are already there are perhaps too pooped, or conditions haven't been suitable, for them to descend.

Anyway all being well we'll have a great time out there and hopefully we'll be reporting back with lots of summit successes. Watch this space.

In the meantime I'll be out on the hill in a couple of weeks with Pete Sidwell who is filming with a company called Liberty Bell for a forthcoming series that he's managed to get picked up for showing on Channel 4 throughout the whole of September. Fingers crossed for some good weather. Not sure how the day will pan out, or how it's going to fit in to the structure of the programme, but I'm delighted to be working with him. Apparently he's been doing an awesome job and it will be good to see the end result.

For the time being ... 'That's all Folks.'

Monday, 28 June 2010

Helping someone to get out of the V Diff rut

Nearly overslept having been up most of the night with Max. Sprinted through breakfast prep and got everything sorted in time. Tidied rooms whilst breakfast was on and then met my client for climbing.

He'd e mailed saying that he wanted to get out of the rut of always doing V Diffs. So we had a quick chat and he seemed totally up for an adventure. So...

Started with Troutdale Pinnacle a magnificent 7 pitch route graded Severe. We were back down at the bottom by 11.45 which is pretty impressive really. He was so obviously a very competent second and comfortably followed every pitch without hesitation.

Down to Shepherd's cafe for lunch and then headed up Little Chamonix - a great 3 pitch V Diff which, whilst is still arguably in the V Diff rut, is just such a great route that it's difficult to walk past it without doing it if there isn't a queue.

Over to Ardus - another cracking good route. 3 contrasting pitches at Hard Severe. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Next we cranked it up a tad and did CDM - a very short but reasonably sustained VS. And then we were on Fisher's Folly - a fantastic 2 pitch VS which we just finished as the rain came in. All in all a great day and hopefully a suitably inspiring experience.

Now I just have to empty the dishwasher, process an internet booking for the B&B, arrange an instructor for the weekend when the B&B clients are up for a bit of climbing, catch up with the family, lay the tables, maybe get in a bit of en suite cleaning action, update the website ......

Friday, 25 June 2010

A bit of a blur

Well the season is well under way and it's that time of year when one day virtually merges in to another and it all gets a bit blurred at the edges.

Apart from the usual parental duties of entertaining the kids / taking to and collecting from school / feeding / bathing / reading etc etc this is being delicately juggled together with the B&B / work / getting supplies / climbing courses / e mails / Ama Dablam enquiries / a bit of running and last but not least life in general.

It's been a hectic few weeks with various days out on the hill with walking groups / climbing clients and a navigation course. Also presented a slide show down at The Moot Hall on Sunday straight after breakfast for a group who are off to Everest Base Camp in 2012. The house has been busy busy and most days we are invariably hoovering late afternoon or emptying the dishwashers and laying tables in the evening having been too busy to get them done throughout the day.

I now have 24 people on my Ama Dablam mailing list for 2010 (and over 30 already enquiring about 2011). It's been an incredibly busy year for enquiries and bookings and this is now taking a major chunk of my time. I won't be taking 24 on the hill - but there are at least 4 sub groups with 5 or 6 different itineraries developing. I can see why the big companies don't entertain individuals who want to do their own thing and develop their own agendas. But I guess that's where I am offering something different which is perhaps why this year is proving to be so successful.

Have now got a definite 4 for Everest Spring 2011 and have just gone live with the new website. I've decided to place a small discreet advert just to try and make sure I get a couple more otherwise the trip is in jeopardy if someone cancels. But intrinsically it looks like it's a definite goer. Watch this space.

Have managed to get on to the front page of The Keswick Reminder for the Action for Market Towns Award. Hurrah!

Out on Saturday night to support John Boyle on leg 5 of the BGR.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

A cracking good fortnight

Busy busy busy. A 42.5km / 14 peaks / 8hr 30 mins run the weekend before last (leg 2 of The BGR and then back over the tops to Keswick). Another run this weekend back from Lorton (30km / 9 peaks / 5hr 30mins).

A plethora of bookings coming in for the B&B. Yet another 2 people booked for Ama Dablam this November and a few more enquiries for the expedition (have had to start limiting availability now) but alas a missed opportunity to climb yesterday due to the pants weather (if only I'd been out today).

But then if I'd been out today I wouldn't have been able to attend the Action for Market Towns awards where we received best in the NW for the Fitz Park Play Area.

Saw Jimmy Carr 2 weeks ago and Derren Brown last week at The Sands Centre. Both brilliant acts in their own special and very different ways.

Have had a really busy fortnight in the B&B but have managed to juggle it all together along with the shifts, work, expedition enquiries and kiddie care (along with the usual shopping / getting resupplies / answering e mails / doing laundry / ironing etc). Just about managing to tread water and juggle balls at the same time - although there have been a few en suites being cleaned, or beds made, or tables being laid late in the evenings and early in the mornings just to make sure that it is all kept on top of.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

A cracking good week

Just back from a run over Blencathra - had a great jaunt out and have been reflecting on a great week:

Plenty of bookings coming in for the B&B so the diary is looking quite healthy.

Lots more interest in Ama Dablam - taken 3 bookings and 5 enquiries this week alone, as well as 2 for next year.

Just been told this morning by our guests Mark and Angela that ours is the best breakfast they've ever had in a B&B.

Also received feedback on my Everest summit video "Great video! the best from everest on youtube."

Today is the 5th anniversary of our successful ascent of Everest.

And I've been called a D.I.L.F.

It doesn't get much better than that.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

The Bob - Leg 5

Another frantic day with various e mails and calls to do with Ama Dablam this November, Everest next Spring and bookings for the B&B this summer. Then off to swimming lessons with Grace before popping over to Portinscale to pick up Donald and Kate to support Leg 5 of the BGR.

Drove up to Honister and waited for Chris Scammell who was up on a 20 hour pace. Now for those who aren't in the know it's difficult enough to complete the round in 24 hours let alone shaving 10 or 15% off.

Met a couple of other guys at Honister who'd been seconded in and we got everything ready for Chris' arrival. He looked remarkably chipper considering.

Then the guys who'd just done leg 4 thought that they may as well stay on and so there were 7 of us pegging it up on to Dalehead, over to Hindscarth, across to Robinson and then down off Robinson, through Littletown and back to Keswick. It was a fantastic evening with no need for headtorches until crossing the river. Chris kept up an amazing pace and completed the round in 19hrs 39mins. Even made it to the pub in time for last orders - Hurrah!

Just received a text from him this morning and he can't move!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

B&B, scrambling & Ama Dablam - a busy day

Well ...

up at 06.15 to cook breakfast for our guests who wanted an early start for their mass ascent of Scafell Pike. They have chosen possibly the hottest day of the year so far which is good and bad - great views but a day to get frazzled.

Cleared the dining room, loaded the dishwashers, had a quick breakfast and managed to fit in a coffee with Ali at Good Taste before heading down the valley to meet some clients for scrambling. Mooched in to Langstrath and had a perfect day on Cam Crag Ridge before heading back across Bessy Boot and down Big Stanger Ghyll.

Back home, took 2 bookings for the B&B and answered a couple of e mails to do with rock climbing and the forthcoming expedition to Ama Dablam (the enquiries just keep coming in this year) and then helped sort the kids for bedtime before cracking on with a spot of ironing. Luckily I was saved after about half an hour by Andy and Jon who dropped by to chat about their forthcoming trip to Ama Dablam (thanks for the bottle of wine guys). Talked through a whole load of stuff to do with the trip and put everything in to perspective for them. I think they'll be maxing out the credit cards with a few purchases from Needlesports.

Bed at midnight so an 18 hour day.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

My 15 minutes of fame

Well the Everest summit season is underway and a new record has been set by Bonita Norris who is now the youngest British female to summit. As a consequence of that I was called by Radio Cumbria and asked for my views as well as recollections of our trip in 2005. In actual fact this then made my day quite a bit busier as I felt I ought to do a little research before the broadcast - which meant that I wasn't doing the chores around the house that needed completing. The knock on affect was that it made for a long day and I eventually finished making beds and cleaning en suites at about 11p.m. to then lay the tables ready for brekkers.

They very kindly sent me a copy of the live broadcast - I hope that you enjoy it.

As ever there have been the usual e mail enquiries to answer, bookings to process and calls to take. Also another 2 Ama Dablam enquiries who are following up on their initial interest - so this year's trip is almost full already.

Talking of Ama Dablam we had a couple round last night who had been on last year's trip so it was great to catch up with them. The legend that is Stuart Holmes (he who flew off the summit) was also round so a good night was had by all. It's nice that clients from the expeditions keep in touch as we have generally spent a month or so together and in that time you usually build up quite a rapport. I still hear from over 80% of them from time to time, which I take as a great compliment. I guess that's where the bespoke personal touch really comes in to its own.

Anyway I've also managed to fit in a couple of runs, almost finished off the accounts, tested the fire alarm and emergency lighting, bought supplies and new pillows, ordered a new table, attended a food hygiene course, was out climbing with some clients on Saturday and am off scrambling this coming weekend with another group of folk.

Oh, and I have just heard that play area project was entered in to the regional Action for Market Towns award scheme. And out of the whole Northwest, it won! Hurrah.

Who said running a B&B was a quiet, easy, life???

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Ama Dablam, Everest and The Bob Graham Round (oh and the B&B as well)

Well it's been a pretty busy fortnight. There's been the usual coming and going of guests, various amounts of laundry, tidying, making beds, cleaning rooms, shopping for supplies and keeping up to date with paperwork not to mention attending a Level 2 Food Hygiene Course. But there's been a few other (more interesting?) bits going on as well. In no particular order:

Assisted on leg 4 of the BGR the weekend before last and was suitably impressed with the guy who was doing it as he was 45 minutes up on a 22 hour schedule. Now that is quite a pace and he'd already been going for about 14 hours when we met him and went from Wasdale over to Honister (via Yewbarrow, Red Pike, Steeple, Pillar, Kirk Fell, The Gables, Brandreth and Grey Knotts). And I guess I was suitably chuffed with myself as the pace was reasonable and it all seemed achievable - although I hadn't been going for the previous 14 hours! At the top of Red Pike it started raining a tad and by Steeple it was snowing so the conditions were far from perfect. But great to be on the hill and sussing out the route.

Then ... last weekend I did Leg 1 again with local legend Chris Scammel. Unfortunately I was doped up with Paracetamol having come down with a bout of man flu and not slept at all well that night (and having been up quite a bit throughout the week with Max who just won't go through a whole night without waking at least once and sometimes 3 or 4 times). Anyroadup, we started at quite a lick and legged it up Skiddaw in just over an hour, over to Great Calva, down and up to Blencathra and down to Threlkeld. I felt positively vile for the majority of the route but still came in at 3 hours 30 mins. Chris kept his split times and would have been in at around 3 hours - which is a sub 20 hours schedule! No wonder I felt knackered and went home - he went on to do Leg 2 with Joe Grove in around 3 and 3/4 hours.

And - have received yet more enquiries for Ama Dablam and another 2 bookings (so that is now 12 on the permit). It's all starting to take up more and more of my time with the usual need to get paperwork from folk, arrange their itineraries, start looking at the logistics and tying it all together. Met with the Keswick posse who are coming along and we ended up having a few more beers in The Square Orange than anticipated. 'Twas a good night.

Also - have received my third Everest deposit for Spring 2011. So that confirms that trip too - which I am obviously extremely excited about. We'll be on the Nepal (South side) which is warmer and safer than the Tibet (North side) where I was in 2005 with a bunch of mates. It takes quite a bit longer to get to Base Camp as we'll be in for a 2 or 3 week trek whereas on the North side you drive to Base Camp in a few days. But at least we'll be reasonably well acclimatised when we arrive. All the respective Camps on the South are at lower elevations than on the North which will make for a more comfortable trip (although I doubt many people would describe what we are letting ourselves in for as being any where near comfortable). And another benefit on the South side is that you can easily escape Base Camp and drop down for a rest at a lower altitude whereas on the North you're pretty much stuck on the Tibetan Plateau. So hopefully we'll be able to keep the blog updated and share all our adventures and photos with everyone back home.

Apart from that we have also bought new cutlery, crockery and pillows. I managed to get out for a few runs, finish off some mapping work that I do as another sideline and I'm out rock climbing with some clients this weekend.

That's about all for now ...

Friday, 30 April 2010

Bob Graham Leg 4


Just heard this afty that we are on for supporting leg 4 for a chap who is having a crack at the BGR. By all accounts it is a tricky one to navigate and quite a long leg so a good one to get to grips with. Bit of a tight schedule to fit it in with the B&B / breakfast / rooms / kids bathtime not to mention catching up with Ali.

Coincidentally the first 1/2 of the route tomorrow is the Mosedale Horseshoe - so we're driving over to Wasdale and then legging it up Yewbarrow, over to Steeple, Pillar, Looking Stead, Kirk Fell, Great Gable, Green Gable, Brandreth and Honister. All in around 4 and a half to 5 hours. Hmmm. Best not let the side down. Think I might have one of my own breakfasts for sustenance.

Onwards and upwards

Bit of a busy week really with one thing and another. The B&B bookings have been coming in and we have a reasonably healthy diary for the forthcoming few months. Still have a few gaps to fill but it's nice to know that a) people are finding us b) they like the look of the website and c) that they decide to make a reservation. Some regulars (as we'd hope) but lots of new visitors as well.

Just said goodbye to Brian and Jen who have stayed with us before and we are now full for the bank holiday weekend.

Managed to fit a couple of runs in this week - visiting High Seat and Bleaberry Fell on Tuesday, which I hadn't been to before, so that was cool. Still not quite sure when I'll be ready for the Bob Graham Round - it's all very well going out for a few hours here and there but it's building up the longevity and stamina that will need some attention.

Off out with my brother in law on Sunday for a 4 to 5 hour slog so that should be a good indicator. In fact it was he who sort of got me in to this BGR in the first place. We went for a pootle over Melbreak last year and I asked him how the pace compared with the BGR (he'd just completed it) and unfortunately he said that we were doing round about the pace you'd hope for - which meant that it was within reach. I was rather hoping that he was going to say that we'd need to be going thrice as fast in which case I'd not be where I am now. I was also then suitably inspired by "Feet in The Clouds" which is a fab book all about the BGR and fell running. A real eye opener to some of the very talented and phenominally strong mountain athletes that there are out there.

As ever the play area has been in need of my attention. It is an absolutely fantastic project, and I'm delighted with the result (as are most parents and families), but it does take up a lot of my time. If it's not the website that needs tweeking it's an e mail that needs answering. If it's not a meeting to go to it's chasing the suppliers about a snagging problem that we have discovered. Had 2 meetings this week and a whole raft of e mails. Note to self - don't write to the local paper and therefore volunteer yourself by default for any other community projects! Having said that, something needed to be done and I'm glad that I got involved - but in the great scheme of things you don't get much help from Jo Public (although some people were very kindly suggesting that I take on another project last week - me thinks not. It was a great idea - but it's their turn).

Anyway - another 2 bookings for Ama Dablam (so that is now 10 on the permit) and a variety of rock climbing and scrambling enquiries. Also some great news for the Everest trip next year - the charity that I approached and pitched to in London have agreed in theory that they would like me to organise and run their Everest Base Camp Charity Trek. Can't say who it is just yet as we need to dot some i's and cross some t's but it's going to be an exciting challenge to work with them. More later ...

Friday, 23 April 2010

Another average day really

So ... up and away for the school run. Back to answer e mails (2 bookings for the B&B, 3 enquiries for Ama Dablam, 2 for rock climbing, 1 for navigation and a few other bits and pieces of business). Finalised some paperwork for the sustainability grant for the Fitz Park Play Area.

Tweeked the website and added new photos and some 360 panorama footage - Stu Holmes popped over the other day and took a load of shots and he's done a great job (you be the judge)

Finished off the work around the house ready for our guests who are arriving tonight. Popped the door furniture back on to the front door (I varnished it yesterday) and then twas time to get a quick coffee (my daily fix) before going down to the play area to discuss stuff with our mentor. Looks good and we're hoping for a grant of about £3.5k.

Whizzed down to the shops for supplies for brekkers tomorrow and bought some flowers for the couple in room 3 (it's her birthday and he's very nicely asked for a little surprise for when they arrive so I also bought a bottle of Moet when getting supplies from the cash and carry a couple of days ago).

Just done the final bit of titivating and we're all done. Going to school and then the play area before heading back ready for guests arriving later this afty.

May try and grab a quick run later and hoping to get out Sat or Sun for another leg of the BGR.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

The Bob Graham Round - Leg 1

Brekkers for the guests and managed to get their rooms serviced whilst they were still in the dining room. Cleared tables pronto and then off down to get some final bits and bobs before trying leg one of The Bob Graham Round (it's a 24 hour mountain marathon involving 42 peaks and 74 miles).

Met in Costas! Needed a large Mocha to get me going. Mooched over to the Moot Hall (the start and finish of the BGR) and off we went. We'd only been going 5 minutes when we had to turn around and go to the shops for some nibbles to keep us going. Not a great start.

So tabbed it out towards Latrigg and then walked at a hoof of a pace up to Skiddaw summit. We arrived in the biting wind 8 minutes ahead of schedule. This is good news me thinks. Down and off to Great Calva. Managed to eat away another 5 minutes or so. COME ON! Down to the stream crossing and then purgatorial terrain all the way to the top of Blencathra. By the time we got to the summit we were back on schedule so had lost all the time we'd gained. And then we had to drop all the way down to Threlkeld which is a heck of a long way. Arrived 4 minutes behind schedule.

Walked and ran back to Keswick having completed our first recce of any part of the route thinking a couple of things a) have we bitten off more than we can chew and b) on the day we'd have another 20 hours to go. OMG.

Back home. Emptied the dishwashers, laid the tables, read to Max, updated the Blog and now off to read to Grace. Looking forward to dinner and a bottle of wine with Ali.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Ama Dablam is GO!

Well what I thought was going to be a relatively quiet day yesterday turned out to be another busy one.

As ever I'd been up in the night with Max and then Ali was up for 6 to leave for work at 06.30 taking the Maxster with her.

Our guests Susan and Kevin very kindly agreed to have an early breakfast at 8 so that I could drop Grace off at school for 08.45. Got back to the B&B to clear the tables, strip some rooms and make a few beds. The guests departed with a promise to come back again and then I managed to get a couple of rooms turned around and hoovered throughout.

Meanwhile the e mails and calls were coming in ... 3 Ama Dablam bookings along with 2 rock climbing bookings. So that's now 8 on the Ama Dablam permit and 5 doing Island Peak beforehand. Processed all their deposits and sent confirmations and receipts. 2 of the Ama Dablam guys (Andy and Jon) then sorted their flights and insurance pronto and e mailed me the relevant details - which is very efficient of them. Hopefully this is the summit shot that they will see in November (that's Everest on the left):

Then ... received 3 bookings and a further 5 enquiries for the B&B. Managed to squeeze in a haircut, a quick coffee and a look at the paper and then back to unload the dishwasher, set the tables and leg it off to school to collect Grace. Went home via the play area, which not surprisingly was full again as it has been a glorious day. Had a great hour there and then went out for an hour and half run along the Lake, up and over Lower Falcon and Walla and back to the Guest House.

Grabbed a shower and then tagged Ali so that she could go out up and over Latrigg. Bathed both kids, read to Max, read to Grace, grabbed some tea, answered some more e mails, had a chat with a guy coming on the Everest expedition next year, updated the website, watched Mark Dolan visiting some pretty strange looking folk who are addicted to plastic surgery on telly and then bo bos. Needless to say I was then up in the night giving Max his usual cuddle to get him back over.

This morning - just taken 2 bookings in the B&B for New Year! Now that is forward thinking.

Monday, 12 April 2010

A pretty average day today!

Up in the night with Max (we've tried the controlled crying (and it worked - for a while) but when we have guests it's a bit unfair on them to let him holler - so I've pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I'll be in with him for a few minutes almost every night this year).

Anyway Ali up at 6 for her early shift. I was then in with Max again from about 20 past to stop him waking Grace - alas too late but she settled for a while in our bed. Got Max ready for him to go to Little Monkeys Day Nursery and Ali dropped him off on the way to work. In bed for a while with Grace reading stories until 7.20 and then up to prepare breakfast for the guests.

Grace pretty good now at getting herself ready and then she did a bit of homework and had breakfast whilst I got everything ready for the guests. They were down for 8 and then I was out of the door by half past to take Grace to school. Back by 9 to clear the tables, load the dishwashers, tidy everything away and get the laundry ready for collection ( we used to do our owner laundry but eventually realised that never mind the modest expense it just made our quality of life so much better - more about this another day).

The guests settled up and departed and then I stripped their rooms and managed to pop out for a coffee and a read of the paper.

Back late morning to receive a 5 night booking which I processed and confirmed by e mail and FANTASTIC NEWS - I also received confirmation from 2 chaps that they are both able to join the next expedition to Ama Dablam. E mailed the paperwork to them and updated my websites.

Cleaned and made Room 3 (double en suite) for the guests arriving today. Tidied all the tea trays, hoovered throughout, a wash on and started on the mountain of ironing. Answered various calls and enquiries (including a potential rock climbing session this week which will be great cos the weather is scorchio).

Ali got back and dropped off Max, collected Grace, the guests arrived and then we packed off to the brand new play area in Keswick (a project headed up by yours truly). The kids had a great time there and now I'm just filling in before taking them up for a bath.

After that Ali and I will catch up with each other, have some nosh and maybe a programme on the box. But I still have to unload the dishwashers, lay the tables and get everything ready for breakfast tomorrow.

Busy busy ...

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Thinking about running a B&B??

So ... you think that you want to own a B&B in Keswick (or anywhere else for that matter of fact)? Thought that all you have to do is cook breakfast, clear the tables and go hill walking? Thought that it's great to be able to work from home? Well I'm afraid that you may have to think again.

Yes, it is a great way of life - for those of you who are prepared to make certain sacrifices. Yes, it allows you to live in a great part of the country - but at a price. I'm afraid that the reality is that it is harder work and longer hours than you ever imagined for little or no financial reward.

Ali and I have an AA 4 star 4 room B&B in Keswick that generates just about enough turnover to cover the business costs. So ... to make ends meet we both have to work. Ali is a nurse and I am a climbing instructor and expedition leader (Ama Dablam every November) - AND we have 2 children (Grace is 4 and a half and Max is 22 months).

When you then combine this with the fact that we are invariably up every night at some stage or other with one, if not both, of the children, it suddenly becomes a bit of a big deal. We are working from home, we are on public display, our children can have a direct influence on the quality of the stay for our guests and so we are constantly trying to make sure that we strike a balance between life, family, business and play.

Then there is the quandry about how to get Max to nursery, Grace to school, make the breakfasts, clear the tables, service the rooms, get the supplies, take new bookings, wait for new guests to arrive, pick up Grace and Max, wait for more guests, entertain and feed the kids, bath them and read books whilst receiving the last guests and then emptying the dishwasher and relaying the tables for tomorrow. Phew!

This is a far harder occupation than you ever envisaged and I hope that you'll follow our blog to find out what is involved, the hours that we put in, the great (and, rarely, not so great) people that we meet and the implications of allowing the general public in to your home which, incidentally, is your workplace.

And even if you aren't interested in the B&B side of life perhaps you'd like to follow the lead up to my next expedition to Ama Dablam in November - a 22,ooo ft mountain in Nepal (my eighth time there) or the fact that I am organising an expedition to Everest next Spring with a few private clients. Hopefully there is something for everyone.

Read on .....