In March 2006, Paul Adler and Fiona Adler left for their attempt to climb Mount Everest. 

We posted live updates here throughout our climb, as well as during the final stages of our preparation.  We hope that this helped our friends, family and other interested parties to experience the adventure with us along the way.

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Going through the Icefall

Fiona crossing her first ladder, relaxed enough to smile for the camera! Photo Paul Adler.

Location: Everest Base Camp
Altitude: 5350m
Local Time: Fri 7th April, 5:30pm
Weather: Sunny, 5C

Hi everyone, it's Fiona here.

Paul and I are relaxing now with Chris and Bridget after our first experience with the Icefall.

The Khumbu Icefall
After breakfast this morning, Paul and I set out with our Sherpas (Dasona and Mingma) towards the icefall. After about 15 minutes scrambling through rock and some other campsites, we hit the "crampon point", and sat down to put on our climbing harnesses, helmets and crampons.

As we headed on, the terrain became a mixture of snowy valleys and hills, small lakes, ice walls and increasingly bigger cracks and crevasses. It is an incredibly beautiful landscape and surprisingly, we didn't find this section of it to be too frightening. Nothing big was overhanging near the trail and the only ladder crossing we did do was not as bad as I'd thought it might be - slow and steady was definitely the way for me. Somehow even though you need to look down at the ladder rungs to place your crampons properly, your focus is just on the ladder and not on the gaping crevasse beneath you.

Our goal today was to go to the first ladder crossing but this year, it is apparently a fair bit higher than usual. So we climbed for about 1.5 hours and our Sherpas said that we were almost one third of the way through.

It felt great to actually get out there with our climbing gear again. And great to see what the icefall is actually like. Before today, it seemed to loom dauntingly in front of us - both literally and figuratively. But the actual climbing we did today was no more technical than we had done previously - although we both found it to be pretty hard work aerobically. Along side our Sherpas we both felt a bit inadequate. But on getting back to camp later we found that everyone had the same experience. Dennis Kellner joked that he was infuriated as his Sherpa was consistently whistling while he was gasping for air. Someone else commented that climbing with a Sherpa is like driving at full speed next to an idling Ferrari.

We arrived back at camp just in time for lunch - exhausted but elated to have started the climbing. However, the next sections of the icefall are steeper with more crevasses - so we don't want to get too confident!

Another lazy afternoon around base camp
After lunch we spent the afternoon sitting around in the dining tent, drinking lots of tea, and eating snacks (biscuits with Vegemite we brought from home, popcorn, and nuts).

Bridget and Chris did some washing this morning and spent a lot of time reading and resting. They're also looking forward to logging on and seeing the responses to their engagement news from yesterday (which we'll be doing as soon as I finish writing this post).

Answers to some questions
We have not seen anyone suffering from either HAPE or HACE however when we visited the medical clinic in Pheriche a few days ago, they had already seen a local Nepalese porter die from HAPE this season. They are trying to educate the locals about high altitude sicknesses and how to avoid it (apparently there are some misconceptions around that locals are immune or less vulnerable to these conditions).

For us at this altitude (5350m), we're not suffering any particular altitude sicknesses - most likely because of our slow ascent, as well as a focus on keeping well hydrated and breathing more heavily than usual.

However, we're only just now getting a good night's sleep and doing anything strenuous is a whole lot harder than it is at low altitudes. Everyone tends to walk around camp very slowly and just lifting a few bags or rocks can make us so out of breath that we need to sit down. Hopefully this should improve as we go higher and get better acclimatised.

In terms of the food here, we have an amazing kitchen staff who cook up all kinds of things for us. Breakfast is usually some type of cereal (Cornflakes, museli, oat porridge or rice porridge), followed by either pancakes or Tibetan bread and some bacon and eggs. Lunch and dinner are usually some combination of meat, potatos (sometimes chips), green beans, rice and momos. These staples are put together in an amazing array of different dishes. We generally have a soup with dinner and a small dessert - often canned fruit but sometimes freshly baked dishes (today we're told they're making chocolate brownies for dessert - yum!). We also have an afternoon tea - so it feels like we are eating all the time. They say that most climbers lose weight when climbing Everest but I'm pretty sure we haven't lost any yet. We did bring some food from home - mainly for use while climbing (museli bars, nuts, dried fruit, Gu gels, etc) but we may not need nearly as much as we brought as there are heaps of snack foods here as well. The Sherpas seem to eat the same foods as us - but perhaps with more emphasis on the rice (with Dahl Baht) and noodles.

For anyone interested in seeing a visual on where we are on the mountain, please check our webpage "About Climbing Mt Everest". There is a picture here showing the route and the position of each camp.

Thanks everyone for your messages - they continue to be a highlight of our day. Thanks as well for all the advice on Paul's throat - he's doing everything he can for it and seems to be slowly getting better.

That's all for now,


Posted by: Valerie & Ken Johnson on April 7, 2006 10:49 PM AEST

Again, thank you for your updates and for answering our questions. I cannot tell you how much we admire you for attempting the climb to Evererst.
Stay Safe---Valerie & Ken

Posted by: Anne Munro on April 7, 2006 10:51 PM AEST

Hi Paul and Fiona,
Now I am probably preaching to the converted here but I learned years ago that if you are caught in an avalanche you end up surrounded by snow/ice and you don't know which end is up and therefore which way to dig yourself out. One good trick if you are ever in this situation (and I do hope and in fact am sure that you won't be) you allow some spittle to come out of your mouth. Depending on whether it drips onto your nose or onto your chin or even onto your cheeks make you aware of where you are in relation to the ground and therefore which way to dig yourself out. It is very simple but effective.
keep up the good work
Anne and Princess Panda

Posted by: Deb, Ned, and Holly Jordan on April 7, 2006 10:52 PM AEST

We've just spent the night catching up on your week. wow. You're there - and doing it; crampons and all ...with weather that's better than on the Mornington Peninsula!
Congratulations to the happily engaged couple. Good stuff.
Ginger tea for Paul's throat.
Be well and sure footed.
Deb, Ned, and Holly Jordan.

Posted by: Valerie & Ken Johnson on April 7, 2006 10:53 PM AEST

I forgot to mention how wonderful it is just to read of all your exploits and to be able to look at your wonderful web page. Thank you so much for letting all of us "live the dream".
Stay Safe---Valerie & Ken

Posted by: Dame and Beck on April 7, 2006 11:31 PM AEST

Hi Paul and Fiona,
Well done on your first go on the icefall. It looks amazing and very exciting. Have fun, love Dame and Beck

Posted by: John and Mary on April 8, 2006 12:04 AM AEST

God...You guys are so brave!!! Crossing the ice fall really looks awesome.
I spoke with Roland Rocchiccioli yesterday who organised for me to send you his article. For all those who don't get the Melbourne Weekly Bayside, here is the article about Paul and Fiona from this week's edition.
You guys looked great in your suits and ice picks in the picture, sorry I can't send it to you.
lots of love and in awe! Dad and Mare

High achievers
An Everest attempt is a dizzying prospect

I am filled with admiration and envy for anyone who scales a mountain, let alone Everest. I have no head for heights. I get giddy standing on the bathroom scales. I took my mother, then aged 85, to see Cliffhanger. I had to leave the cinema and wait for her in the foyer. Most embarrassing!
Brighton couple Fiona and Paul Adler, both 31, have recently set off on a self-funded expedition to scale the world’s tallest mountain. As part of their training programme they have already done Mont Blanc (France), Khan Tengri (Kazakhstan), Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Aconcagua (Argentina), and other mountains in Nepal and New Zealand.
If they are successful, and I have no doubt, they will be the first married couple to achieve this feat. I talked with Paul and Fiona on the day of their departure and both were filled with such enthusiasm and determination. Given the degree of difficulty, and the discomfit which comes with such an attempt, I wondered why.
Paul said: “I think it has something to do with achieving; being able to conquer the mountain. It requires such an effort and tests you to the limit. It’s you against the mountain. I guess we are the sort of people who like to set goals in our lives, and this is one.”
The climb will take up to three months to complete. However, according to Mary Adler, Paul’s mother, it is not so simple: “The best month to climb is May, but they are very dependant on weather conditions. There is only a small window of opportunity, so hopefully it will all go according to plan.”
Mary is equally excited; she leaves at the end of April and will stay in the base camp while the climb is completed.
Like many, my knowledge of mountain climbing comes from Hollywood films. Paul laughed when I suggested they climb Everest in Lederhosen, clutching a wicker basket filled with smoked sausage, to a rousing chorus of Happy Wanderer. Imagine my disappointment when I learned it’s nothing like that.
Paul explained: “It takes a lot of preparation to climb at altitude. We will climb to camp one on the mountain, spend a few days, then return to base camp. We might do that several times. It alters the consistency of your blood and increases the flow of oxygen. You realise, at altitude, sometimes you manage to climb ten steps before you are panting. ”
The other serious consideration is the cold. On a previous climb Paul was less attentive than you might expect, and he found himself in a spot of bother.
He said: “I had a favourite pair of climbing boots and they were not in such fine condition. I suffered frost bite on a number of toes and lost some of the joints. This time we are well prepared. We have battery operated insoles to keep our feet warm and Fiona has made special gloves to go over the fitted gloves.”
Fiona and Paul are running a diary on their website: I suggest you follow their progress and send messages of encouragement.
On their second day, Fiona writes in the diary about the first time she saw Everest in all its magnificence. It struck a chord.
I spent ten days in Geneva waiting to see Mont Blanc. On the final morning, hours before I was due to leave, the cloud magically lifted, and there it was! It was such a spectacle and, in the distance, it appeared so peaceful a pinnacle in the French Alps.

Posted by: Geraldine Davys on April 8, 2006 12:11 AM AEST

Hi Guys

Really enjoying reading about all your adventures, I am sure that Australia nd little old Melbourne seems like a world away. Your smile as you are walking the ladder terrifies someone like me who hates heights and still cries when I am on a ferris wheel!

Anyway looking forward to the next installment, look after yourselves.

Geraldine Davys

Posted by: Max and Judy on April 8, 2006 12:51 AM AEST

Hi Paul and Fiona
Like your Dad we think you are both very brave. Each night before retiring we look up the excapades of the Adlers of Everest. We'd just like to thank you both for the exciting bedtime stories. Keep sending them.
love max and Judy

Posted by: Max and Judy on April 8, 2006 12:54 AM AEST

Just a question - Were there any problems with the ice Doctors after the avalanche the other day??

Posted by: Liane and QECVI Students on April 8, 2006 12:57 AM AEST

Hi Paul and Fiona!
Congrats on your first venture into the Icefall! We're glad you made it in and out OK. Thanks so much for answering all our questions about HAPE. We were wondering if you had asked Mingma about climbing with Ben Webster and Shaunna Burke. Is he the same Mingma? Or is Mingma a very common Sherpa name? Speaking of which, you mentioned that many Sherpas are named after days of the week, and that Passang means Tuesday. Do you know what the names are for the other days of the week? We love reading your daily updates and we are glad that your throat is feeling better, Paul. Congratulations to Chris and Bridget on your engagement. From your friends in Canada.

Posted by: Kylie Atkins on April 8, 2006 01:46 AM AEST

Belated Congratulations, Chris and Bridge! WoW!! Such a special moment. Romance by headtorches - I love it! Can't wait to give you both a big kiss and hug.

Paul and Fiona - amazing Ice Fall introduction; I wait with bated breath for each update.

Love Kylie

Posted by: MC on April 8, 2006 02:09 AM AEST

I thought I would post my song that I wrote last weekend in the ..... don't worry, Jan, I won't say it and no photos I promise!
Well, my song is meant to be sung with the melody; and it would come across much better with instruments. It's not a poem therefore not very profound (more simple with the words). O.K. here goes.
Dedicated to Fi and Paul. Also to Bridget and Chris
(part of the prelude taken from a quote on Fi and Paul's web-site - author unknown)
As the morning sunlight breaks, savor every moment as you face the day.
It's not how many breaths you take but how many moments take your breath away.
(quick guitar riff)
Verse 1
I want to tell a story of Fi and Paul. They went to climb Mt. Everest, the highest peak of all.
And as I tell this story, I want to make it clear. That it's about your dreams and overcoming all your fear.
Climb on, climb on, climb on, now. Climb on, climb on, climb on.
You can climb a mountain if you want to. You can rise above the highest star.
You can live your dreams with all your passion. Set your sights on mountains from afar.
And take the journey of...a lifetime. (guitar) Climb on.
Verse 2
And as they kept on trekking past the moraines. Through snow and icy rivers, as altitude was gained.
They seemed to have a vision, of this I'm very sure. On what would lie ahead and all the hardships they'd endure.
Climb on, climb on, climb on, now. Climb on, climb on, climb on.
Chorus (guitar)
For all the preparation they had done. It had truly paid off for the time had finally come.
And even though this journey under the sun. Was everything they'd hoped for, the real challenge had begun.....
The steps that would take them high. Beyond where the eagles fly. To the top, near the deep blue sky.
Instrumental - guitar and possible keyboards)
Verse 3 to come
p.s. This song has a similar message to "LIVE YOUR DREAMS" which I posted earlier on this site but I wanted to write a song just for your climb of Everest. The melody is completely different. LIVE YOUR DREAMS was dedicated to my brother's team when they summited from the north side last year. I have also dedicated this song to you, Fiona and Paul.

Posted by: Inna and Tim on April 8, 2006 11:22 AM AEST

Wow! That looks scary and amazing at the same time! Fiona you look very confident and brave. We love reading your messages everyday. Love, Tim and Inna.

Posted by: Rich Taylor on April 8, 2006 12:56 PM AEST

Ok. It's only 10pm here and I didn't manage to get a pinacolda to celebrate the engagement ... but I did manage a bottle of French pinot... and a couple of drinks beforehand. Checked my diary and had Stof's birthday down for Monday.... so Happy Birthday mate. Inspired and loving every minute.

Big love from the Bahamas (home tomorrow and flying over yousih in 3 weeks time), Rich x

Posted by: Jan on April 8, 2006 05:57 PM AEST

G'day climbers and engaged persons
Another step closer to your goal - well done! Can't thank you enough for sharing your adventures with us - talk about compulsive reading!

Happy birthday for Monday, Chris, I'm sure it will be. Love & kisses, JanXX

Posted by: MC on April 8, 2006 06:18 PM AEST

I finished the song CLIMB ON and wrote verse 3. I was inspired by Paul's words that were quoted from the article in the Melbourne Weekly Bayside written by Roland Rocchiccioli.
Verse 3
And conquering Mt. Everest, this was their quest. A mountain so majestic, true limits it would test.
This pinnacle of giants, they would try to achieve. To show the world a truth, that in yourself you must believe.
Climb on, climb on, climb on, now. Climb on, climb on, climb on.

Posted by: jill johnson& christain peterson on April 11, 2006 06:52 PM AEST

paul and fiona, You are amazing!, we are both captivated by your adventures, your updates are like reading a best seller adventure novel... except you are for real.WOW Good luck,stay safe. jill & christain