Cutting the "Everest Cake"!
Paul making cables to link two solar panels together.
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Altitude: Sea level
Local Time: 1pm, 20th March 2006
Weather: +23C Cloudy
Hi everyone, its Fiona here.
We've been overwhelmed with all of your messages - it's absolutely fantastic to be receiving support from everyone, including all our cycling, hiking, travel and work friends. It's also great to hear that a Canadian school will be following our quest to climb Mt Everest. (By the way Liane, we're not familiar with your school system, what age are the students you're teaching at QECVI?).
A song about climbing Everest
I'd also like to give MC a special thank-you for the song he/she submitted titled "Live Your Dreams". For those that haven't seen this, I'd encourage you to have a look (it's a message sent in to our last update). I think its lyrics are relevant to lots of situations (except maybe the line about "your head it throbs and you feel sick - it's hard to breath the cold thin air" - that combination of feelings are probably reserved for mountaineering. You've set the bar high, but I've thrown the challenge over to my Dad who has been known to produce the odd poem when sufficiently motivated. Anyone else out there? These will be great to show around base camp.
Our farewell party - yes, we're really going
Yesterday, our family put on a farewell afternoon so that we could catch up with most of our friends and family before we leave. Seeing everyone made it all suddenly seem very real - almost everything has been crossed off the list and yes, we're really going now! It also made us realise just how much we will miss everyone while we're gone. Two-three months, is not a long time to go traveling around Europe, but it's a long time to be on the side of a mountain for without many home comforts!
We took along some of our equipment as a bit of a "show and tell" and I loved the question "So if you didn't put this on [the down suit], how long would it take to freeze to death?" I didn't have an answer for that one - nor do I really want to know as I don't think we'll be forgetting to put it on!
We received a fantastic gift of an Australian flag covered in messages from our friends and families. Its all wrapped up so that we can look at it after receiving the traditional Puja blessing at base camp. We also received a laminated four-leaf clover - we'll definitely be carrying that with us.
We were very pleased to have John Willis at the farewell - Paul's outdoor education teacher from St. Leonards who introduced Paul to hiking, climbing and other sports. I think Paul's father greeted him with something like "this is all your fault you know!".
Both of our families and many of our close friends have contributed in so many ways to getting us to a stage where we're able to have a go at reaching our goal of climbing Mt Everest. Whether it's been fitting in around our rather inflexible training schedules, looking after our house and dogs while we've been away, or encouraging us when it's all gotten a bit much. We both feel like we've got fantastic support behind us.
Flying out tonight - if the plane can hold all our gear
It's now about 12 hours until we fly out of Melbourne tonight. Our flight leaves at 1:15am, flies to Bangkok with about 4 hours stop-over, and then continues onto Kathmandu, Nepal. Our first big hurdle will be negotiating the huge amount of luggage we have (approximately 140kgs!). Thai Airways have given us an extra baggage allowance, but that only takes us up to 80kgs so we definitely have some sweet-talking to do. Will let you know how it goes.
Our next update will hopefully be submitted over the satellite phone from Kathmandu.
All the best,
Posted by: Kerry on March 20, 2006 02:03 PM AEST
Dearest Fi and Paul,
It was ace to see you yesterday. You both look fantastic, focused but still joyous and light too.
Thanks so much for creating this unreal website, complete with updates. I feel like I'm right there with you ... staring around at the mountains of luggage and about to embark on an amazing adventure.
So even though I'm here under the spire, surrounded by Art and Showbiz!, you're given me the opportunity to be a part of your journey too.
Go team ADLER!!! I'll barracking for your all the way.
Love Kerry xoxo
Posted by: Tim & Inna on March 20, 2006 02:36 PM AEST
Hi Paul & Fiona,
Sorry that we couldn't make the farewell - it looks like you guys had a good time. Take care of each other and get home safely.
Tim & Inna.
Posted by: Benno & Kate Claydon on March 20, 2006 02:36 PM AEST
Hello Paul and Fi,
A very quick message to say CONGRATULATIONS - it really doesn't matter how far you get, you've already whipped up a storm of enthusiasm and energy and positivity and challenge and inspiration...
We'll be thinking of you and tracking your steps -
with love from Benno and Kate
Posted by: Barbara Marshall on March 20, 2006 03:29 PM AEST
will be following your trip with interest. Good Luck and Good Management. will inform Anne and Ron (brother) Marshall of progress.
Posted by: Max & Judy on March 20, 2006 03:59 PM AEST
We will be thinking of you both all the way to the top and down. Wear that thick thing all the time to keep warm!!! Keep a bit of Darwins heat with you all the time.
love Judy and Max
Posted by: Tim Kirk on March 20, 2006 05:03 PM AEST
Hey Paul & Fiona!
Just wanted to wish you both the best of luck and a safe and fun journey! Can't wait to see photos from the summit!
Posted by: Mary Clare Reinhardt on March 20, 2006 05:17 PM AEST
I am so happy you liked my song. You are very perceptive, Fiona. The song is relevant to many situations in life but I wanted the interlude to actually descripe some of the feelings that are experienced in mountaineering and especially in climbing Mt. Everest.
Good luck on what will probably be your most exciting, grueling, beautiful and rewarding adventures yet. (Actually, I think the only luck you will need is with the weather. The two of you have prepared 100% and then some!)
P.S. I think you will pass through with your "extra" luggage with flying colors. Your smiles alone should do the negotiating for you!
Posted by: Simon, Jacqui, Jasper & Homer on March 20, 2006 05:44 PM AEST
Hey Paul & Fiona - One last good luck from myself, Jacqui and the boys! It was a great day yesterday and like you say, it seems very real now - As we were driving over yesterday, Jacqui said to me that you were leaving on Tuesday morning, which I couldn't believe as it still felt like such a long way away. Anyway, it is here now and we wish you all the best, with a safe and healthy return! All the best - Simon, Jacqui, Jasper and Homer.
Posted by: Jac & Luke on March 20, 2006 10:33 PM AEST
Well guys - about now Paul will be negotiating his way on to the plane with all your luggage, rationally explaining in great detail why it is that you should need so many shoes.
Fi, did you really need the red heels as well?
Miss you already but we are so excited for you both. Benno & Kate summed it up well. Congrats! See you soon, hear from you sooner!
Jac & Luke, with you all the way and back again.
Posted by: Rachel on March 21, 2006 09:24 AM AEST
Sorry I wasn't able to say goodbye in person. Looking at the pictures from your farewell it seems you had a great celebration.
All the best for a successful journey. I cant wait to hear about all of the trials and triumphs along the way.
Lots of love for a safe journey.
Posted by: Shaune Egan on March 21, 2006 03:57 PM AEST
Dear Fi and Paul
It's absolutely amazing what you are both about to embark upon - all the very best and hope you have a safe and memorable journey to and from the roof of the world!
May the force be with you!
Posted by: solomon on March 22, 2006 07:47 PM AEST
Dear Fi and Paul,
This is awesome guys.Your're accomplishing this majestic feat in my own country.May God bless you success on this front.
Posted by: Liane Penny & Students from QECVI on March 23, 2006 02:42 AM AEST
Paul and Fiona:
Happy trekking! We'll be cheering you on from Canada every day.
Liane Penny & Grade 9 English Students (Ages 14-15)
Posted by: Sarah Cuskelly on March 25, 2006 07:48 PM AEST
Hi Fiona and Paul,
Good luck with your expedition, who would have thought a girl from Sheridan Court, Heathmont would reach the summit of Mt Everest! Watching updates with great interest.