Only 3 more sleeps until we leave..
All our gear is laid out in our living room for final checking.
Hi everyone - Fiona here!
We're well and truly into the final countdown now! With only 3 days to go, we're very excited, but at the same time feeling a little nervous about the enormous challenge that lies ahead. I've just submitted my take-home exam for my MBA studies, so it's great to now turn my full attention towards the final details of the trip preparation.
Thanks for all your support!
We are really thrilled to be getting so much support and encouragement through your messages. I know when we are on the mountain it will be even more fantastic to receive these, especially when we're cold, hungry, tired and homesick!
One of the best things about the last couple of weeks is being in the "fattening up" phase! Most people find that they lose a lot of weight at altitude, especially when climbing, but even if they're just hanging out at basecamp. If too much weight is lost, the body becomes weaker, making it less able to protect from illnesses and less able to cope with the immense physical demands of climbing. So we want to make sure that we have a little spare fat to lose and that our bodies are well nourished before we start. (In fact, there are rumors of a high-altitude weight loss clinic opening where you can eat all the chips and chocolates you want and still lose weight!) For the last couple of weeks we've been enjoying lots of treats including hot-cross buns, icecream, Thai curries, and even pizza.
Mental preparation - if a little morbid
As part of our preparation, we've both just finished re-reading "Into Thin Air" by Jon Krakauer. This book is a first hand account of the disaster that occurred in 1996 when 8 people died trying to reach the summit of Everest on the South side. Some might say it's a bit grim to be reading this just before we depart, but we wanted to be very clear about the various factors that contributed to this tragedy so that we can do our best to avoid making any of the same mistakes. But while the read has offset some of our raw enthusiasm, it has also confirmed many of our planning decisions and strengthened our resolve to climb our own climb, without being part of a large guided group.
We're feeling confident that we're as ready as we'll ever be for this challenge - both in terms of our fitness levels and our gear. We're still in full training mode - out cycling for several hours on most days and with so many cyclists in Melbourne preparing for the Commonwealth Games, the pace of our races has picked up considerably!
Oxygen mask question
A question was posted by MC about moist exhaled air freezing in the Topout oxygen masks. Apparently this has been a problem with these masks, as it is with all masks, and I do know that this year they have modified the exhaust air valve to try to reduce this, but I am not 100% sure of the details. When we see the masks again in base camp I will try to get a close up photo and post it to the site for you and also find out some more information. (Remind us if we forget!)
The devil in the details...
In terms of our gear, our latest packing list has over 300 different items on it! We're even taking an Australian flag with us (the Commonwealth Games have awakened our patriotic spirit). We're just down to all the little things now - like how much sunscreen to take, do we have enough liner gloves, how many batteries do we need, what flavour lollies and muesli bars should we buy, which books to take to read at basecamp, charging all batteries and deciding on the songs to load onto our MP3 players.
Posted by: Nat Howard on March 17, 2006 04:55 PM AEST
G'day Fiona and Paul
Just wanted to wish you the best of luck in your climb. I'm sure the view will be worth it! (that's what I tell my students when I have to get them to climb a little hill while they are on camp!!!)
Anyway, look after each other and stay safe. I'll look forward to reading all the updates and I'll use you guys as inspiration while riding up those MOUNTAINS in the tour of southern gramps!!!
Posted by: Andrew and Liz on March 17, 2006 06:39 PM AEST
Well Fiona it was good to see you were not going to take any study material with you, writing your exams at +- 7000 mts, it might have been interesting to read some of the answers!
Stay away from the street protests in Katmandu and remember to pack the champagne to celebrate when you get down from reaching the summit.
Posted by: MC on March 18, 2006 02:03 AM AEST
Thank you, Fiona, for your reply regarding the TopOut oxygen mask. I would like to see a photo of one, when you get to BC, if that is possible.
You and Paul are truely living your dreams...I hope you and your sherpas will make the summit and be able to enjoy the view from the "top of the world". And most importantly, I wish you good health and a safe journey.
Posted by: Liane Penny and her ENG 1L Students at QECVI on March 18, 2006 04:43 AM AEST
Hello to you both from Canada! We wanted to wish you the best of luck on your climb. We are studying Everest as a class and reading the Gordon Korman "Everest" series of novels right now. We have decided to follow your climb while we read. We are looking forward to all of the updates. Be careful in the Icefall and watch out for one another. We will be thinking about you every day and cheering you on from Ontario! Best of luck,
Your friends at QECVI
Posted by: Mat Pines on March 18, 2006 10:08 AM AEST
Hi Paul and Fi,
Best of luck with everything. I really hope that you both make it to the top. I have found your updates extremely interesting and very useful for my own preparations. I look forward to hearing more about your great adventure.
Posted by: James on March 18, 2006 08:17 PM AEST
Just thought I'd wish you both the very best of luck on your travels. I've recentley got back from a climbing trip in Nepal and am heading back to attempt Cho Oyu this Autumn with the aim of moving onto 'the big one' next year so I'll be following your progress with great interest.
It seems that you have done all the hard work (training, diet, funding etc) so with a bit of good luck (& no doubt some blood, sweat and tears) she'll let you get to the top for the ultimate reward, how exciting!
Best wishes and I hope Zeus will be in a good mood this May!
Posted by: MC on March 19, 2006 09:50 AM AEST
I came across your web-site not realizing that I would end up following your climb of Everest. You will have my full support along with many other adventurous people. We are all wishing for you a safe summit and a safe descent of this most majestic of mountains. Last spring I was able to follow my brothers climb of "E" from the north side. He summited on June 2, 2006. Mid-way thru his climb, I wrote the following song and dedicated it to his team. I am now dedicating this song to you, also. (It was written in 3 showers...don't ask...the melody and words come to me in my showers!) The song is much better with the melody and instruments but here are the words. This is for you, Fiona and Paul.
LIVE YOUR DREAMS by MC
Live your dreams...it doesn't matter how hard it seems. Climb to the top...just keep dreaming and never stop. See that light...let it guide you and don't lose sight.
And dream on...dream on...dream on...and shine.
Break loose from the chains that hold you back...and if there's a lock, turn the key. Trust your intuition...and then maybe you will see. That you can climb any mountain with passion. You can truly shine. Look up at the stars all around you. And everything will align.......Live your Dreams.
In life there is risk so take a chance...and if you should fail, try again. Keep things in perspective, success is around the bend. And you can climb any mountain with passion. You can truly shine. Embrace shades of blue that surround you. Collide with colors sublime......Live your dreams.
The wind is harsh, the ice is slick. Your head it throbs and you feel sick. It's hard to breath the cold thin air. Another step...you're almost there. And soon you'll be on top of the world...top of the world.
Wake up from your dreams and make them real...and as you set sail, wave good-bye. Sail into the sunset, your dreams will light up the sky. And your can climb any mountain with passion. You can truly shine. The view from the top will astound you. And you are free for all time.......Live your Dreams.
(Don't worry, my messages during your climb will be much shorter!)
Posted by: Emily Camm on March 20, 2006 03:35 AM AEST
Hi Paul and Fiona,
I just wanted to wish you both the best for your huge adventure! You have done an amazing amount of work to get to this point: I will be thinking of you both often along the way.
'Embrace the unpredictable and go exploring for things that inspire you!'
Look forward to hearing from you soon.
Posted by: Luke Fitridge on March 20, 2006 07:11 AM AEST
It was nice to see you both at Marc/Em's wedding.
All the best for your trip.
Luke & Isla
Posted by: Maddi and DP on March 20, 2006 09:18 AM AEST
Well, the time has come! When we hooked up in South America in 1999 we never dreamed we would be writing this message to you. Torres del Paine seems a world away I bet...!
We are following your progress every step of the way and are just so excited that you are living your dream.
We wish you all the luck in the world, but are confident that you won't need it with all the preparation you have done.
Lots of love (and crossed fingers and toes)
Maddi and DP (and Zac and Sienna) xxx
Posted by: Steve Bird on March 20, 2006 10:38 AM AEST
You asked about photo storage for the trip. I saw in the Teds catalog, they are selling completely standalone CD burners, with in built SD reader (and one other card format I dont recall) for $100.
On our 6 week trip to the states, a guy had a pro level digital, and never stopped taking photos. He wanted to save the raw files, and so he had one of these burners. Every night he would burn off 2 copies, and mail one home and keep one with him. A year ago they were $400, and competed against iPods.
They might be a better option, because while hard drive based storage like ipods are massive, if you loose the ipod, you loose everything.
With CDs at $0.20, sounds like the way to go for me. Plays music too.
Posted by: Adam Rayner on March 24, 2006 05:43 PM AEST
Hi guys, its Beck's friend Adam here - Well done for putting all the training and trekking and all that into practice! You guys will have the time of your lives and i hope its something you'll remember for ever. Have a great time and i look forward to your updates and pics from up there!
Posted by: ellie and alita on May 2, 2006 11:40 AM AEST
Alita and i wont to say hi.Carolyn
has told us about your amazing mount Everest climb .We will be following
you and paul every step along the climb
all the luck ellie and alita .
All the luck from Ellie and Alita