Sunday, 3 June 2012

The Oscars - 'Thank You' without the tears

So we've reached the very end of the journey and it's time to goodbye!

I'll leave the blog up for a couple of months and also do some kit reviews as well as a comparison of the north and south routes.

This next section is a bit dull but it's only polite to thank those who have helped me achieve my dream! You never know but if you read it you might just spot your name.

Firstly thanks to Caroline, my long suffering wife, who even when I'm away is still the butt of so many of my jokes! We could have done a hundred and one other things with the money I've spent on climbing Everest and I am so very grateful that she likes the simple things in life ie me! Any way what's wrong with a Skoda.

To Henrietta for doing all of the hard work keeping the blog up to date as well as her amusing emails to me. To Victoria for her love and regular contact too. They'll never realise how much I looked forward to receiving their emails.

Thanks to the rest of my immediate family even though most of them thought me mad to try a second time. (It's ok I had my doubts as well).

To those who helped train with me and spur me on : Nick Helliar, Saxon Ridley, Stephen Straughan, Jeremy Savage, Philip Arundale (best fruit and veg in North Wales!), Sally & Mike Leach (Sally you know in your heart of hearts I let you beat me back to car!!).

To Jagged Globe and in particular David Hamilton for making the trip so enjoyable, safe and successful.

To all of you who kindly made a donation for my two chosen charities. I am very grateful. We're only about halfway towards the target so if you've overlooked it please have a look now!

To all of you who kindly offered your support and sent good wishes.

To the Dartmoor Rescue Group - Ashburton section for excusing me from training.

Finally, the biggest THANK YOU goes to you the reader (of which there were over two thousand by the end!). I sadly don't know who most of you are but I do hope you have enjoyed reading about my exploits as much as I have writing about them (please note that for those of you from abroad I'm very happy to come and show you my pictures in return for free accommodation for me and my family!).

As the comedian Dave Allen used to say:

'Whoever your God is, may your God go with you. God Bless'

Best wishes


Ps if your name wasn't mentioned please try and make it from the following word whilst thinking of Julie Andrews leaping around in the Austrian mountains. Good luck!

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious -

Just saying it should put a smile on your face!

Saturday, 2 June 2012

So what's really next?

Well I'm home for 10 days before I lead a Three Peaks Challenge on behalf of the Intensive Care Foundation on the 12/13 June, then it's up to Yorkshire to help marshall the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge on the longest day. Can't help feeling Caroline might be getting a few nights away with me (under canvas of course - I'm not being paid that much!) 

After that in early July I'm off leading a World Challenge school trip with Churcher's School from Petersfield to, believe it or not, Nepal to do the Annapurna circuit followed by a community project in Kathmandu followed by two weeks sight seeing in Northern India. At the end of September I might be leading a trip to Kilimanjaro on behalf of the Intensive Care Foundation subject to enough people having signed up. (If you're interested get in contact as soon as possible). Finally at the end of November I'm off to Nicuagura and Costa Rica for a month, again with World Challenge.

Obviously outside of those dates I'm available for any of the courses that I run!

I've already been asked to give to two talks about my adventures, one of which is up in London. So if you know any organisations who might enjoy hearing about my exploits or who might benefit from a motivational talk with plenty of humour please get in contact! I'm also very happy to give talks to schools. 

For those in and around the Exeter area I really do intend this time to give an evening talk at some stage in the Autumn subject to finding the right venue. So please watch this space.
The picture is of The Garden Of Dreams on the outskirts of Thamel in Kathmandu. I can thoroughly recommend it as an oasis away from the city's hustle and bustle if ever you visit.

Last entry tomorrow! Have a guess at the title?

Friday, 1 June 2012

So what's next?

Well some people have been far too generous and have said I should write a book about the trip. I suspect it would only appear as a freebie for Kindle owners or for wrapping up fish and chips! 

Can you beleive that some of the team members have said I should be a stand up comedian (they can't get out much), to which I replied ' I already was standing up!'.

Which reminds me: why do women get married in white? to match the kitchen appliances! Boom boom. Ok I'll stick to the day job.

I've been as open with you as I have felt possible (some might say to open at times!) throughout the 10 weeks however there are some things that I have omitted.

Firstly if you are considering climbing any mountain over 8000m there is a strong possibility of risking your life or health, not just with AMS, HAPE etc but also snow blindness, frostbite or retinal haemorrhaging to name but a few.

Very few people know that I had three bleeds in both my retinas following my 2010 trip (sorry Dad as this is the first you will have heard about this). I put them down to my severe coughing. Well perhaps unsurprisingly I'm fairly sure it has happened again this time.

On my last trip down to Gorak Shep about three weeks ago the sight in my left eye became very slightly blurded in part of my field of vision. Thankfully this rectified itself the following day. I also had a piercing headache like pain directly behind my right eye shortly after this which took three days to subside. Every time I coughed it felt as if my eye was rattling around in it's socket. It was so painful I thought I would have to go and see the HRA doctors, who I was convinced would send me down to Kathmandu and end my attempt. The pain started up in Camp Two so I was really relieved when our first summit bid was aborted and we returned to base. I'm pleased to say that everything seems to have settled down now as I've had no similar symptoms since then.

On any long expedition you're bound to have good and bad days and you've got to be strong enough to overcome those days of self doubt etc by yourself.

You will have read about the numbers of climbers on the route. David estimated that in the end around two hundred and fifty climbers probably summited which is a large number. It's hard to be accurate until all of the teams are back and have spoken with the Ministery of Tourism.

In terms of the total of number of ascents from the UK after this season it will probably be around 450 people which out of a population of 60 million is a very small fraction.

So that's it for today. Only two more days and hence posts to go!