Update: Last night I left Camp Four at 9:15 AM. After one
hour my oxygen system malfunctioned so I then climbed without oxygen for the
next two hours. These two hours were the hardest two hours in my entire
life. It was TEN times harder than the 30 km route march on my special
forces selection course. I reached The Balcony and used the radio to talk
with my expedition leader at Base Camp. He said "You're too slow, you'll
have to come down and try again next week." I replied "NO WAY MATE, THE ONLY
DIRECTION I'M GOING IS UP, GIVE ME ANOTHER SOLUTION!".
Update :Camp Four. The South Col. The Death Zone. Welcome
to my world. I left Camp Three at 08:30 AM in good weather and using oxygen.
During the climb some fresh snow did fall but it didn't stop me reaching
Camp Four at 2:30 PM. I am resting and rehydrating here until 9 PM tonight
and then I'll head off for the summit. Tonight and tomorrow are going to be
huge. I aim to be summitting between 10 AM and 2 PM. Bring it on! I'm ready!
P.S. A big thanks to the lads from Australian Aid International in Pakistan
for your message today. Keep those VB's cold, I'm thirsty!
Update: Today is an unexpected rest
day due to snowfall. We must wait here at Camp Two whilst the Sherpas go
ahead and check the fixed lines and break track through the snow. As I look
outside my tent I see numerous amazing Himalayan peaks which is great
scenery to be thinking about a quote sent to me by a good mate of mine (Gos).
The quote is from T.S. Elliot "We shall not cease from exploration and the
end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the
place for the first time." Thanks Gos, you're a champ mate.
Earlier update: Location: Lobuche Altitude:
Today Ingrid, Nicole and
myself trekked uphill from Pheriche to Lobuche. When we arrived we met Pommy
and it was good to see him again. My expedition leader has just informed me
that weather at high altitude is better than expected and climbers have been
summitting from the North face and Lhotse face. This is great news. My plan
tomorrow will be to trek to base camp. If the weather remains good then on
Sunday morning at 04:30 AM we will depart base camp and climb to Camp Two.
Location: Pheriche Altitude: 4240 metres
Today I awoke feeling very rested after a great nights sleep due to the
lower altitude. It is amazing how much more oxygen is in the air here than
on the slopes of Mt Everest. Today Ingrid and Nicole have gone for an
acclimatization walk and I have a few hours by myself to think about the
challenge that lies ahead of me. My plan will be to rest here at Pheriche
for a few days before heading back to base camp to prepare for the final
summit bid. If the weather is good then the earliest date that I might start
climbing again is on 13th May. I feel very peaceful about this plan. I also
feel very determined to reach the summit. I think this extra determination
is due to meeting Ingrid and Nicole and knowing that my friends, family and
work colleagues are supporting me so strongly. I used my satphone to call
the support team in Kathmandu and found out that yesterday I was featured in
the Kantipur newspaper, which is the largest Nepali language newspaper. This
article informed Nepalis that WFP remains committed to assisting feeding the
hungry poor people in Nepal.
Today I walked downhill from base camp to Pheriche
which is at an altitude of 4240 metres. I am feeling very drained from the
climbing over the past few days but as I walked to lower altitudes the
thicker oxygen made me feel much stronger. I approached Pheriche to find my
girlfriend Ingrid Burt waiting for me with a hot cup of chai (Nepali milk
tea), warm hug and loving kiss. Instantly I felt so much better and my
morale, which is already high after the recent successful climbing, soared
to new heights. Ingrid trekked to Pheriche with our Australian friend Nicole
Carn who also lives in Kathmandu. Ingrid and Nicole have been trekking very
strongly since flying into Lukla last Friday and are in high spirits. They
spent a few hours updating me of the political developments in Nepal and of
news from our friends in Kathmandu.
World Food Programme (WFP) is the world’s
largest food aid provider. WFP is actively striving to ensure that the United
Nations Millennium Development Goal, namely, the halving of chronic hunger
world wide by 2015, is achieved. One such advocacy and fundraising campaign to
assist WFP with its efforts is the Walk the World initiative.
This is a global event that
involves groups comprising of civic organizations, corporations, other
humanitarian organizations, Government members and the public at large,
walking a short distance along a visible or prominent location within their
local region. It is expected that Walk the World 2006, to be held on the 21st
of May, will see over 750,000 participants walk within 100 countries across
In support of the Walk the
World 2006, Mark Squirrell (Squiz) will climb to top of the world in order to
raise awareness and funds for WFP Nepals School Feeding Programme. It is
expected that Squiz, WFP Nepal’s Field Security Officer, will summit Mount
Everest within days of May 21st. Although the expedition is not a WFP
initiative, it is supported by WFP.
The culmination of
preparation, hard work and physical effort will be realised in late May but
the benefits will be felt by thousands of children for months to come.
Preparations are well underway. Squiz has recently conquered the arduous peak
of Ama Dablam and is now gearing up for Mount Everest. Your help with the next
journey would be much appreciated. Make a
Update: On the way to Pheriche I met up with a few fellow
members of the ICE8000 Everest expedition team. Great timing, as they were
planning to head off the beaten track to visit a Tibetan Lama in order to get
his blessings for our summit attempt. This traditional ceremony lasted about
an hour and involved a lot of chanting, rice throwing and words of wisdom.
Lama Geshe shared many valuable and inspiring verses, including the following
request for all sentient beings on the planet:
Give up all intention to harm others from your heart And do
your best to benefit them all If each and everyone feels the universal
responsibility to do so, We will all enjoy the feast of peace!
To be continued....
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