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  Everest 2006: N. Ireland and England Everest 2006 Expedition: Summit bid


©EverestNews.com

Update: Three days ago the team set off for their summit attempt. Now this is not as straight forward as simply moving from one camp to another until you get to the top of Everest, no, nothing my husband does is as straight forward as that! First there is the two day walk up to ABC (which I couldn’t face a third time), then they will have to wait at ABC until there is a suitable weather window, and that is the part that isn’t simple. Since today I was woken by the sound of howling winds and snow being blasted at the tent at 30mph, and that’s just at Base Camp! So I have been left on my own, with no one to speak to (unless you count the cook who really doesn’t know much English other than breakfast, lunch and tea). Well I thought I was going to be resigned to a life of complete boredom, and would be talking to the yaks by the end of the first day! It’s amazing how wrong you can be…

I had been left two tasks by the team before they left: firstly I had to try and acquire a Nokia phone charger. Unfortunately our radio system doesn’t work between BC and ABC (there is the small matter of the 7000m Changzheng Peak between us, and as far as even I know radio waves don’t pass through mountains! The system should work though once the climbers reach the North Col, so I can have contact with them when it is important. Amazingly Geoffrey’s mobile phone works (although he didn’t bring a charger- hence the challenge), so the idea was that I would text weather forecasts from Geoffrey’s mobile to the satellite phone, which the team have brought. I was wondering which of the passing yaks looked technologically minded and might have a charger, when someone popped their head round the mess tent door and said, “Hello Kate”. Well I could have been knocked over with a puff of snow! He was someone who had been following our progress on the website (I’m ashamed I can’t remember his name), and had joined a commercial trekking company to try and climb the North Col. We had a great chat, and I asked if on the off chance if he happened to have a Nokia charger- my luck was in because he has absolutely every technological gadget possible. So boys, challenge number one complete!

The second task may not be so easy… on a regular basis a yak herders come to the door with a spectacular array of beads, cans of coke and fossils found on the slopes of Everest. They hover in the doorway asking an extortionate amount for their wears. Jonathan thought it would be a great idea that I should try and bargain in Jaffa cakes instead of dollars to secure a fossil. The only problem with this task is that I haven’t seen a yak herder since then team left- they must have heard I was on the hunt for a Nokia charger!

My evenings alone have been spent holed up in the mess tent with my feet curled near the gas heater watching the DVDs Alan McDowells left behind. Last night when it was going to be a second rerun of ‘Skip the Dog’, I heard a knock at the mess tent door. It was Patrick from the Everest Max team up the glacier. Would I like to come for tea? What an offer! How could I refuse? Imagine, the evening spent in the company of English speaking people! Needless to say Skip the Dog would have to wait for another night. It turned out to be a great evening (they even had beer!), and I staggered back to my tent to fall into a deep, deep sleep (after half a mug I might say), to be woken this morning by that howling wind…

So there it goes while those poor souls have been lying about waiting for the weather to improve at ABC, I have been socialising with locals from home, and been beered and dined by other teams… it’s a hard life I know! So I’ll keep you posted on the progress further up the mountain, and as soon as Chomolungma. Mother Goddess gives us a break and allows the summit team to go for it, you shall of course be the first to know…-K

Dispatches

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