Everest Training in Scotland
Just had the most amazing week in Scotland with my team for Everest. We had fantastic weather, awesome snow and ice conditions and a great group. Mountain days, climbing days, crampon and ice axe work, jumaring, ladder training and walking around with masks on - not to mention generally getting to know one another and building the all important team dynamics.
The essence of the Scottish training week was to be far better prepared as a group, and as individuals, for the forthcoming expedition. We achieved far more than we could have hoped for - partly due to the most amazing snow and ice conditions.
Doesn't look as cold and windy as it was - MWIS reckoned on -25 windchill
Thankfully we had reasonably knarly weather when we were on mountain days and excellent conditions on the climbing days.
Sun and fat ice on Lurchers
Lurchers was a particularly great day with big fat ice and sunshine for the whole of the ascent followed by a great descent back down to the car. When we were on the Mess of Pottage (on quite a busy day (well it was a Saturday)) we managed to avoid the crowds by picking our way up between Hidden Chimney and Jacob's Left Edge.
Towards the end of the week we changed the emphasis entirely to Everest specific training (although everything we did throughout the week was essential training for the job) and transferred our thoughts to jumaring up ropes, crossing ladders and wearing gas masks. I'd realised that whilst it was good to have the group analyse the Top Out masks we will be using (identifying pros and cons and suggesting modifications) that unless they are attached to the oxygen supply they don't really offer the feeling of restricted airflow and noise that we will be experiencing. So ... I managed to procure 8 army respirators from eBay and other sources and we donned them, under the cover of darkness, to wander around in the snow at night. Thankfully we weren't seen by anyone on the hill otherwise we might have sparked some kind of security scare - mind you the people just settling down to sleep in their car at The Sugar Bowl car park did give us some very strange looks.
Jumar practice with big gloves on
Ladder work - a very useful session
Walking round with army gas masks on.
Slightly bizarre but perhaps the best bit of the week for
taking away yet another unknown factor of the expedition.
All in all a week that far surpassed everyone's expectations and has undoubtedly made us a better prepared and far more professional looking outfit.
Meanwhile I also received 9 bookings for the B&B, 2 deposits for Ama Dablam 2011, 3 enquiries for Ama Dablam 2012, a summer climbing booking, 2 deposits for Island Peak in Spring and 2 enquiries for Island Peak in autumn.
Here's to a busy year,