Four weeks to go...
Fiona (pink fabric on her helmet) tucked into the bunch at Sandown
racecourse on Tuesday. Picture courtesy of Caulfield Carnegie Cycling
Trying out the new Shee-Pee
at the Big Day Out.
This past week has been
really busy with organising gear, logistics in Nepal and training, but
incredibly our list of things to do is still growing! We have also had a busy
social week with a wedding for some good friends from Switzerland and an
engagement party for other close friends.
First thing tomorrow morning
we head off on our last hiking trip. We are again going to hike another
section of the Australian Alps Walking Track, this time from Thredbo to Mount
Hotham. This will be 250kms of reasonably hilly terrain covered in 8 days and
should be good training. After this, we will continue to concentrate on
high-intensity cardio workouts (cycling) and limited but focused strength work
at the gym. We are going to keep training right up until we leave, because
there will be a number of weeks while we are trekking slowly into Everest base
camp (in order to acclimatise) before we start the serious climbing, so this
will give us plenty to time taper.
This week we have been really
busy finalising our gear we especially making sure we have put in our last
orders for any equipment that we need to get shipped in from overseas (either
because it is not available in Australia, or for cost reasons). This process
has really made us realise just how small the world is getting it has been so
easy using the internet and cheap long-distance phone calls to discuss the
pros and cons of various different products. And so far, the customer service
has been fantastic â€“ I think sometimes we Australians have a bit to learn on
this front from our friends in Europe and the US.
Our recent orders include new
crampons for Paul (his old ones don't fit his new Millet Everest 3 boots),
insulated drinking flasks, thermoses, high-end socks, extra thermals, and
extra inner-gloves. As of today, we have also the proud owner of a new still
digital camera (to replace the one that came to a tragic end on Khan Tengri
when the velcro fastening it to Paul's hip belt somehow came undone and saw
the camera slide and bounce out of sight down the mountain to an icy death).
We will be testing out our new toy on the hike.
One of the more unusual items
I have recently ordered is a device which enables females to urinate into a
bottle! At high camps, the cold and sometimes the campsite terrain will make
it difficult and unpleasant to leave a tent in the middle of the night, so
this urinary director should help solve the problem of a late night
call-of-nature. Believe it or not, there are several different types available
and they are not marketed for mountaineering, but for everyday use where
restrooms are unsanitary. At the last a Big Day Out in Melbourne, a disposable
product called the Shee-Pee was given out so that the women's toilets could
operate a stand-up urinal and therefore reduce congestion! The product I
have actually ordered is called Freshette. The advice out there is to
practice, practice, practice!
What else? We have just
finalised our high risk medical insurance - we are with a company called
International Health Insurance and they offer a product which gives year round
medical insurance without the usual restrictions on adventure activities. We
have used them before and they have been quite good. Our flights are all set
to go but we are waiting to hear back whether Thai Airways will approve our
request for 150kgs of baggage allowance they may be still reeling in their
After sending out details we
were thrilled to hear back from so many friends, especially those we had not
spoken to recently. It was a great way to catch up on everyone's news, house
moves, weddings, and lots and lots of new babies. Based on our sample of
friends, I don't think that people should be too worried about a declining
Anyway, we had better get
packing for our hiking trip. We need to be in Beechworth to catch a bus by
midday so that means an early start. Till next time, Fi
Paul Adler spent his
childhood in various locations including Caloundra (in Queensland), Cygnet
(west of Hobart), Daylesford and Brighton. Most of his secondary schooling was
at St. Leonard’s College in Brighton where he gained a taste for a variety of
outdoor activities including hiking, cross-country skiing, rock-climbing,
sailing and canoeing. During summers, Paul set up a small business painting
the Brighton Beach bathing boxes.
Fiona Harrington grew up in
Melbourne’s eastern suburb of Heathmont. She attended school at Ringwood
Secondary College (formerly Ringwood High School). Her hobbies included music
(playing piano and saxophone in various school bands), art and a very active
social life - funded by her part-time work at the local McDonalds. She was a
reasonable swimmer and played social netball but was never a particularly
sporty person. In fact, she was someone quite likely to find an excuse for
skipping PE classes! A few things have changed since then
Fiona and Paul met during the
first year of university – both studying Engineering at The University of
Melbourne. Although they had quite different interests outside of their
studies, they quickly formed a close bond. It wasn’t too long before Paul
introduced Fi to the world of hiking – something she took to like a duck to
Around this time, Paul
decided that he'd like to try mountaineering and booked himself into a course
in New Zealand. Here he gained his first mountaineering experiences and
learnt about the technical aspects like crevasse rescue techniques,
self-arresting (using an ice-axe to stop yourself when falling), glacier
travel, and ice-climbing. Despite the fact that bad weather prevented a climb
up Mount Cook, the exhaustion of long-days at altitude, and even seeing
another party swept away by an avalanche (luckily everyone was ok), Paul was
hooked. Fi joined him at the end of this trip for some hiking and traveling.
Not long after they met, Paul
and Fiona moved in to a shared rental house close to university – where the
rent was cheap but they battled with ceilings literally falling down around
their ears, some dodgy housemates, no heating whatsoever, and even a rat in
They studied together and
both worked in different Pizza Haven shops, saving to purchase their first
house. After 2 years of engineering, Fiona decided to change her study
direction and switched courses to study Marketing at RMIT. She later worked
at a small firm as a marketing coordinator, and then at Accenture (formerly
Andersen Consulting) as a business strategy consultant. After going their
separate ways with study and work, from 2000 to 2005 Paul and Fiona worked
together, managing Invizage Technology – the I.T. services firm Paul and Brad
Bond founded in 1996.
During this time they squeezed in as much travel as
possible, visiting Nepal, South America, Africa, Canada and the US,
Kazakhstan, Thailand, some Pacific Islands and parts of Europe. Much of this
travel was based around mountain climbs –
see previous climbing trips for
more details on some of these.
Fiona also began studying her
MBA with Melbourne Business School - she is still studying part-time now
(approximately two thirds completed).
In January 2005, Fi and Paul
were married in a winery on the Mornington Peninsula.
Given that a huge phase in
their lives had come to an end (running Invizage), Paul and Fiona realised
that without business or family commitments, they now had an unique
opportunity to attempt to climb Mount Everest in the 2006 climbing season.
This had been a "fuzzy" goal that they had held for a long time but one that
was quickly coming into focus.
After returning from a trip
to Europe where they climbed the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc, the decision was
consolidated and the serious training began. This eventually meant that Fiona
had to resign from work as the combined efforts of work, training and study
were proving an impossible ask (Paul hadn't worked since the final acquisition
in July 2005).
And so that leads us to where
we are today - training hard and organising our equipment in preparation for
the biggest challenge of our lives!
Much more on them soon!
Sport Everest Boot has made some minor changes by adding
more Kevlar. USES Expeditions / High
altitude / Mountaineering in extremely cold conditions / Isothermal to
-75°F Gore-Tex® Top dry / Evazote Reinforcements with aramid threads.
Avg. Weight: 5 lbs 13 oz Sizes: 5 - 14 DESCRIPTION Boot with semi-rigid
shell and built-in Gore-Tex® gaiter reinforced by aramid threads, and
removable inner slipper Automatic crampon attachment Non-compressive
fastening Double zip, so easier to put on Microcellular midsole to
increase insulation Removable inner slipper in aluminized alveolate
Fiberglass and carbon footbed Cordura + Evazote upper Elasticated
Expedition footwear for
mountaineering in conditions of extreme cold. NOTE US
SIZES LISTED. See more here.
weather, high altitude double boot for extreme conditions The Olympus
Mons is the perfect choice for 8000-meter peaks. This super lightweight
double boot has a PE thermal insulating inner boot that is coupled with
a thermo-reflective outer boot with an integrated gaiter. We used a
super insulating lightweight PE outsole to keep the weight down and the
TPU midsole is excellent for crampon compatibility and stability on
steep terrain. WEIGHT: 39.86 oz • 1130 g LAST: Olympus Mons
CONSTRUCTION: Inner: Slip lasted Outer: Board Lasted OUTER BOOT: Cordura®
upper lined with dual-density PE micro-cellular thermal insulating
closed cell foam and thermo-reflective aluminium facing/ Insulated
removable footbed/ Vibram® rubber rand
See more here.