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  Everest 2006: Everest Expedition to help feed the children of Nepal: The Summit


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: 4930 metres

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.


Background: The United Nations 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 the globe.

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 donation.

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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