As ever we are now busy with the summer season at the B&B with guests a plenty coming and going as well as running various rock climbing and outdoor related courses, putting the finishing touches to the next Ama Dablam expedition (it's full folks - but there's availability for autumn 2013 if you are interested) and starting to put together the next expedition to Everest next Spring (with a new website to boot).
The Ama Dablam group are really well qualified by experience and, having met quite a few of the group now, I have very high hopes that we will not only have a safe, fun trip but that we will have plenty of summit successes as well. Obviously there's a few things that are unknown at this stage but, in reality, the group is made up of people with some very impressive climbing and mountaineering resumes. It's going to be good.
Talking of which I'm busily recruiting the next folk to make up the expedition to Everest next Spring. Thankfully there are no daft phone calls like the one I had last year from people who are not qualified by experience who want to just give it a go. Unbelievably there are people out there who give more thought and ask more questions about the make and model of car they are going to buy than about which side of Everest to climb and which operator to go with.
I'm in talks with people who have excellent mountaineering pedigrees as well as a whole host of other skills and activities that they are involved in - from pro cycling to skiing to the North and South Poles, from prolific climbing and expedition experience to the first female Macedonian (who breezed up Ama Dablam on my trip last autumn). It has the makings of another excellent group with a brilliant pedigree and another superb trip.
Meanwhile I was also lucky enough to receive 6 down suits which I reviewed for their suitability to be used in harsh ever changing conditions and I was somewhat surprised by some of the results. I personally use a Mountain Hardwear jacket and salopette combination which I had been lucky enough for free when I went to Everest in 2005. No two ways about it - it's not because it was free that I am still using it but because it does the job.
So it was with great interest that I was able to compare and contrast the latest suits from Rab, Mountain Hardwear, The North Face, PHD, Marmot and Mountain Equipment. And to my utter amazement there is some gear out there that, if things go pear shaped, will not work and will potentially jeopardise peoples' ability to operate when the going gets real tough with windy, icy, challenging conditions. Have a wee peek at the review to see what I thought.
Meanwhile I have been chatting with folks about our forthcoming trip and, in the process of trying to find some stats for one chap, I stumbled across this very informative page on Alan Arnette's site. It's long been known that The North side of Everest is the harder side (more technical, colder, higher camps respectively, higher mortality rate and much lower success rate) but it was good to see some facts and figures.
Meanwhile what a great Olympic week, eh? Fantastic efforts and results all round and great to see a successful operation of what is a very complex few weeks. And what a fantastic day yesterday with inspirational performances from the ladies at the Velodrome and Innis in the 800m (to name but a few). They just nailed it like it belonged to them. Superb.