Monday, 14 December 2015
A huge thanks to Matt and the guys at Coldhouse for giving their time and expertise to produce this amazing movie.
Please take some time out to enjoy ... and then spread the word.
Wednesday, 9 December 2015
I hope that you enjoy the spectacular scenery of moonlit mountains, starry starry nights, a full moon rising behind Ama and clouds scudding by ...
Friday, 6 November 2015
For some reason, that seemed quite logical at the time, I decided it would be a good idea to cycle the Fred Whitton (having only ever ridden a bike in my teens to go to the pub) and then swim 2 lengths of Derwentwater (having only swum a mile before) and then complete the Bob Graham Round (having previously only ever linked 2 legs together).
I started off with some training where I swam and / or cycled and / or ran every day for 50 days. Realistically this was nowhere near enough training for such a massive venture but I realised that if I didn't get it done by the end of July then I wouldn't be getting it done at all. So 50 days it was. Which actually proved to be a whole lot of fun. It was a great motivator to get out training no matter what the weather and no matter how busy I was with other things that I might have otherwise managed to fill my time with.
Meanwhile there was money coming in and a lot of people offering their support ... which really put the pressure on to make sure that I could complete the crazy venture.
Next thing you know I was meeting a bunch of people in the market square in Keswick and getting ready to set off in to the unknown.
|Some of the team ready for the off ...|
|and I still had the house keys in my pocket.|
Down off Newlands is a seriously fast, fun, descent and then there was some great riding all the way along to the village of Braithwaite before tackling the next pass up to Whinlatter which, compared to the others, is a piece of cake.
More fuel and then 3 riders departed to return to Keswick. Down to Lorton where another 2 went their separate way and that left myself and Stuart Holmes to continue to Fang's Brow (another fuel stop) where we were joined by Les Barker. Bearing in mind that it was soon getting dark Les was a huge asset to have along because his knowledge of the route, the forthcoming dangers and the best line to take was invaluable.
After various other fuel stops Charmian and Steve were relieved of their duties for a couple of passes on account of the fact that their motorhome probably wouldn't make it over Hardknott and Wrynose and in stepped Frances Clark who fueled us over the next 2 passes.
I ought to mention that Carl, Chris and Hannah (who were doing quite a bit of photography as well as taking some excellent drone footage) were also trailing us ... every inch of the way. I'd chosen to take on The Fred first so that a) I wouldn't be going from cycling legs to fell running legs but also b) to do it at night so that the roads would be quieter. But even bearing that in mind it was still very reassuring to have a vehicle along behind us every peddle rotation of the way.
Next thing you know were are at the top of Hardknott (1 in 3!!) and then on to Wrynose either side of midnight. Down to Elterwater and through Clappersgate and then I did the route to Grasmere ... and back again. It's only a few miles but I knew that if I didn't do this bit then someone somewhere would say that I hadn't actually done The Fred (which for the last few years has started and finished in Grasmere).
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, Martin Bell was sat in his car a couple of hundred meters up the road in Grasmere watching us on the tracker and getting ready to join us. But the tracker went round the roundabout and headed back to Ambleside! So he jumped on his bike and started out to catch us up ... but we pulled in to the Ambleside car park for soup and sandwiches and Martin sped past desperately trying to find us. When he got to the top of Kirkstone, and we weren't there, he realised what had possibly happened and waited for us to arrive ... and then he joined us for the rest of the route.
So now we were four (and 2 support vehicles) and whizzed down off Kirkstone (another awesome, fun descent), alongside Brotherswater and on to Ullswater before heading up to Troutbeck via Dockray. It doesn't count as a pass but it still has a substantial amount of climbing and by now I had been on the go for around 9 hours. So it was utterly delightful to be met at the next fuel stop by my wife Ali and our good friends Fiona and Suzanna (as well as Charmian, Steve, Carl, Chris and Hannah).
|A welcome stop after 9 hours in the saddle.|
|Perfect swimming conditions|
|Really really cold ...|
|and quite tried already (only 12 hours or so in)|
|Taking on fuel and warming up after the swim.|
|Some of the runners for Leg 1 of The Bob.|
to The Moot Hall ...
to be met by 9 (!) runners who wanted to be a part of the event and help me along the way. 2 guys had come up from Retford! Tremendous stuff. I've supported a few people when they have been doing their Bob Graham Rounds but I have never realised just how much of a difference having people alongside makes. It's all very well feeding the runner, giving them juice, keeping them on the route, carrying their poles etc but I now know that just being there is possibly the most important psychological aspect.
So we started out in perfect conditions and it stayed that way for the whole day. Up Skiddaw (another chap joined us from half way up), over to Great Calva and along to Blencathra (where another guy joined us as well as a few folk who had made the effort to be on the summit for when I came by). Down to Threlkeld to be met by a veritable posse and a change of runners.
|A surprise welcoming committee on Blencathra.|
|With great views across The Northern Lakes ... but with the dawning realisation that I will need to ascend pretty much every peak on the horizon of this photo. Only 3 down of 42 so far ...|
|Just finishing Leg 1 of The Bob ...|
|to be greeted with a whole selection of goodies.|
|Another summit ticked off but many many more to go.|
|The steep climb up to Fairfield by the direct route.|
And another change of runners as well as a fuel stop and I opted for a cat nap in the van. I was, not surprisingly, feeling a little bit jaded.
|Just before my lowest ebb ... about to set off on Leg 3.|
|Just starting out on Leg 3 of The Bob ... into the night.|
The navigation on Leg 3 is reasonably tricky by day ... but at night when you are working on straight lines with map and compass it is just a slog. Even with a GPS and 2 meters accuracy it is very easy to be just to one side or the other of the trod and be getting wet feet, missing the best footfall and dealing with grassy hummocks and awkward rocky steps. Martin Bergerud was doing most of the navigation and, along with Donald Ferguson, was going to be accompanying me on Legs 3 AND 4. A friend of Martin was along for Leg 3 as far as the Bowfell area and a good friend of mine, Giles Ruck, was keeping by my side throughout the night.
Interestingly Giles was with me on Everest in 2011 and had a really bad time of it for a few days when we went up to Camp 2, on up to 3 (an aborted summit bid because the weather changed) and then back to 2 where we waited for the next weather window. It would have been pointless to expend all our energy dropping to EBC for possibly only one night before returning to C2 so we stayed put at 6,400m and Giles really suffered. Thankfully we were sharing a tent and I was able to chat him through a variety of different options which meant that he then didn't go to EBC for a rest (we both realised that he would have just kept on walking and gone home). Anyway after a bit of supplementary oxygen and a morale boosting chat it turned him around and he went on to summit a couple of days later in fine style. And now the tables were completely and utterly 180° turned around and it was Giles who was talking me through a really dreadful night. I was woozy, tired, hallucinogenic, stumbling (and mumbling) and a liability to myself. And when I just asked for a 5 minute 'power nap' he dutifully sat by my side and allowed me to have ten. This happened a couple of times before we started up Bowfell and then, utterly spent, as the sky was just starting to brighten I needed another lie down. Out for the count.
|Unconscious somewhere along The Langdales|
|Martin contemplating the route ... and the view ... and the fact that he had just spent an ENTIRE night on Leg 3 of The Bob|
|Everything changed after this nap. Dawn really lifted my spirits.|
|What's there not to like about a sunrise in the hills?|
And the legend that is Joss Naylor came for a chat and a pep talk. Double bloody brilliant.
|Words of encouragement from Joss Naylor.|
Leg 4 has got a lot of BIG hills and ascents - Yewbarrow, over to Steeple, Pillar, Kirk Fell and Great Gable. All credible hills in their own right but linking them all together, along with the various hummocks and bumps along the way, as well as tagging on Green Gable, Brandreth and Grey Knotts on to the end, makes Leg 4 a big day out. And my toe was giving me quite a lot of grief but you just have to get on with it ... and we did. All the way down to Honister to be met by another posse of fresh runners (10 in total!!) as well as the usual road support crew and a whole host of well wishers.
The end was possibly in sight and completion, at long last, seemed feasible. It wasn't in the bag but we had definitely broken the back of it.
|Gnarly conditions ... just what you don't really want when you have been on the go for more than 48 hours.|
|41st top - just one more summit to go.|
And so, 52 hours after starting out on the Fred Whiten I had cycled over 6 high passes (as well as various other hills and climbs), swam 2 lengths of Derwentwater and made a circuit of 42 Lakeland Peak covering something in the region of 180 or so miles with a cumulative ascent of nearly 12,500m. Now that, I reckon, is a reasonably big day out!
As well as the memories of my kind Sherpa friends, the company of fellow cyclists, canoeist and runners, my support crew and my friends and family one great aspect that kept me going, and made me realise that this was far FAR bigger than I had ever imagined, was that the donations came in before the event, kept coming in throughout the venture and, indeed, have still been arriving to this day.
So it is with great GREAT thanks that I salute everyone single one of you whether you watched and clapped, got sweaty and wet with me, donated, nodded your head in acknowledgement or posted an uplifting comment at some stage during the whole process. I did it ... but I couldn't have done it without you.
Many many thanks one and all.
Oh, and by the way, the total now stands at just over £52,000 and is going to make a huge difference.
Indeed I am now sat at Abu Dhabi international waiting for my connecting flight to Kathmandu and I have about my person some of the ££s that have been donated that I will be handing over to the families I have been raising funds for.
The majority of the money won't go to them directly but instead will be used to pay for the childrens' school fees. But hopefully, when I see the families in the next few weeks, they will realise that people out there are helping in a whole variety of different ways and that the future, whilst being bleak at the moment, at least is a future with a glimmer of hope.
Especially for their children and the possibility that they might still be given the opportunity to better themselves.
Saturday, 3 October 2015
If, however, you have the time and inclination for a more serious look in to the subject then please read on ...
People don't die on Everest from being too old or too young (although it's only a matter of time). They don't die because of a disability (although it could be a contributory factor). They certainly don't die just because they previously hadn't been on a different mountain that was 6,500m high (previous experience at altitude on one trip doesn't mean that you will perform well on another ... but psychologically it may well help as you have taken away an unknown).
What people die from on Everest are generally (low down) mistakes accidents and mishap and (high up) lack of oxygen, exhaustion or altitude related complications such as HACE / HAPE / AMS.
But the good old Ministry of Tourism are considering imposing an age limit for those wanting to become the youngest / oldest summiters.
I can see where they are coming from but in reality this will only affect one or two people a year.
They are also talking about experience ... but they are placing experience in to the realm of having summited a peak of 6,500m. With all due respect to everyone who has summited, say, Mera Peak (just short of 6,500m but will probably be seen as the benchmark) you can walk / trek up Mera without any previous experience but does that suddenly qualify you for the next expedition to Everest? I, personally, would say no. What about the Uber Alpinist who has over 20 years of hard climbing and mountaineering under their belt who has just forged a new route on Denali? I'm afraid that it is 'only' 6,194m and therefore you DON'T QUALIFY. What?
Experience is hugely subjective and there should be due diligence from the client AND the guides / companies to determine who is suitably experienced. If you are a liability to yourself then you are a liability to everyone around you. And perversely the really inexperienced, if they ask around enough, will eventually manage to get on to Everest with a shoddy outfit where they won't be looked after, their Climbing Sherpas will be as inexperienced as they are, they won't have enough (or spare) oxygen and they will become a problem for not only that team but for everyone else on the mountain. The likes of David Sharp and Shriya Shah-Klorfine spring to mind. They shouldn't have been there in the first place and they died trying.
(Dis)ability though? Pah! There are plenty of (dis)abled mountaineers out there who are far more proficient and experienced than some of the fools I have seen on the mountain. This is a totally subjective area and cannot / should not be regulated. I agree that there are certain conditions and ailments that people may have that mean that they are going to be a potential liability. But, with the right training, a critical eye for what is achievable given the disability, the right guidance, staffing and provision of expertise there is no reason why, say, a blind mountaineer shouldn't be on the mountain (and indeed a few blind mountaineers have now summited along with one legged, no legged, no armed etc etc people have succeeded and are surely pioneers who have shown just what is possible to those that they represent).
But to say that these people, from now on, would be excluded doesn't sit well with me. They are being discriminated against by people who don't understand the nature of the event that they are policing. In Nepal a person who has lost a leg probably can't work and will inevitably end up as a beggar on the street or a person in a village who needs to be looked after by the wider community. To that end people view disability differently in Nepal and they are likely to see what the person CAN'T do as opposed to what they CAN ACHIEVE. They see the wheelchair rather than the person in it. Evidently the officials at the Ministry of Tourism have never heard of, or never watched, the Para Olympics where sportmen and sportwomen are performing almost as hard, fast, long and high as able bodied athletes.
And, for that matter, how can someone who is a disabled person who is a competent mountaineer be discriminated against in favour of the totally inexperienced inept person who wants to tick off Everest? Even if they have summited a 6,500m peak?
As long as they are catered for in the correct manner and are not going to endanger themselves, their staff and other mountaineers around them then why shouldn't partially sighted, hearing impaired, club footed, hair lipped, ginger haired mountaineers be on the big hill?
Obviously I am being slightly flippant in my list but where, exactly, do you draw the line?
The officials at the Ministry of Tourism do not actually understand mountaineering in the slightest.
For a flippant look at the issue read Mark Horrel's update.
For another good write up have a look at Alan Arnette's update.
Have a listen to my radio interview with BBC World Service.
Or to see why people actually fail on Everest have a look at my previous blog post on the subject.
Friday, 24 July 2015
My FaceBook page will be updated throughout (hopefully) so please look at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Everest-Expedition/343655569085328
Also donations can be made at https://www.justgiving.com/timmosedale 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
Thursday, 23 July 2015
So ... my first piece of advice is that if you want to know what I have been doing please take a look at my FB page (Everest Expedition) which has been used for the purposes of updating about my training and the donations I have been receiving for the families of the staff who died last month.
I'll be starting out on my mega Lakes triathlon Friday evening 24th July at 18:00 with a cycle round The Fred Whitton route from Keswick and back to Keswick. After that I'll be in Derwentwater for 2 lenghts of the lake followed by the Bob Graham Round. As a few people have said just one of these events is big. 2 together is gruelling but all 3, back to back, is insane. And now, as the time approaches for the event to start, I can whole heartedly agree.
The reason for the event is to raise money to put some children through school. They are the children of my staff who died whilst I was on Everest this year. They were supposedly safe down at Base Camp and the unprecedented happened when the avalanche that was triggered by the earthquake swept away Everest Base Camp. In Nepal there isn't the social security and child benefit that we might qualify for. There is insurance ... but the families will have possibly spent this on the puja for their funerals. The wives probably (almost certainly) haven't got careers of their own. So ... I'm cycling and swimming and running in the hope that you might feel my effort worthy of a donation.
You can easily donate by going to https://www.justgiving.com/timmosedale/
So far I have managed to raise around £35,000 - which I am very humbled by. But to put 6 children who are of school age through classes for an average of 10 years each is going to take at least £50,000 because I don't want to start their education and not be able to finish it. Along with other families who have fallen on hard times and are in need of their house being rebuilt or some financial support I estimate that £100,000 is a healthy, and achievable, target.
The charity that the funds will be going to is http://www.supportingnepalschildren.org.uk/ and they will make sure that 100% of donations received via my cause are passed on to pay for school fees or go to families affected. No commission, no admin fees - just money from you to where it is supposed to go.
|Some of the training I did|
And here's a whole load of photos of me out and about. Sometimes alone but often I have been lucky to have been out with some great mates. They, and the donations that have come in, have really spurred me on.
All I need to do is put it all together!!!
Friday, 8 May 2015
Back to The Moot Hall
Change in to swimming gear
Go to the lake and swim the length of Derwentwater
And back again (around 4.5km each way with 0m of ascent)
Back to The Moot Hall.
Run (walk) The Bob Graham Round (66 miles, 42 peaks, 27,000ft ascent and descent)
Back to The Moot Hall.
All in all I will be aiming to do all 3 events, back to back, in under 48 hours.
Friday, 10 April 2015
An awesome day trekking from Gokyo to Phortse today. We deliberately set off early and were rewarded not only with amazing views and a quiet trail but also crisp snow which made for easy progress underfoot.
We followed the main route down towards Machermo and then crossed to the East side of the valley where it becomes a much quieter and less trod route. Having said that we saw a total of 12 trekkers throughout the day - the busiest I've ever known it!
The route meanders in and out of valleys and up and over shoulders so, despite dropping about 600m elevation, it is still a full on day.
We've met up with John (aka my Dad) again, who trekked here from Machermo, and we have all just had some hot orange and enjoyed some doughnuts that we're very kindly given to me by my friends at Gokyo as I left this morning.
We are now poised to venture around the corner to Pangboche tomorrow where we will join the main Khumbu trail for a few days. After a rest at Dingboche we will spend 3 nights under canvas going up and over the Kongma La before dropping down to Lobuche and thence on to EBC where we will arrive on the 18th April.
It sounds like the route through The Khumbu Icefall has been fixed all the way to C2 which is great news. The fact that we are out of the way for the time being is no bad thing so that our Sirdar, Kame, and the Climbing Sherpas can concentrate on the business of getting logistics sorted on the hill.
Very much looking forward to working with the guys again and introducing them to my trusty group.
Photos to follow.
Thursday, 9 April 2015
Monday, 23 March 2015
|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).