Dissappointed, but no regrets
Enjoying dinner with the Sherpas in the camp 2 cook tent. Photo Mingma Sherpa.
Location: Camp 2
Local Time: 20:00, May 24
Weather: Fine, -12C at C4
Hi Everyone, It's Paul here.
Well we are both back down at C2, tired, but glad to be breathing what to us feels like thick air. The climb down from C4 took us about 4 hours, and we have sore toes from hitting the front of our boots. In this update I thought I would share with you the details of my summit attempts.
My first Summit Attempt
We arrived at C4 at about 11am, and then spent until 8pm resting, drinking, eating, activating chemical warmers & warming clothes and boots. (Boots are placed inside the sleeping bag to get them warm.) The wind was steady, but not too strong, however it did buffet our tent a bit. The decision was made to go so Fiona left first at about 9:30pm. I followed her at 10:20pm.
The first part of the climb is a 45 degree slope, which steepens gradually until it becomes almost vertical rock in some places. After a couple of hours I caught up to Fiona and then two hours later we reached a flat spot called the balcony where we had a rest, some food and water, and changed oxygen bottles. Both of us were feeling really good.
Fiona and I then proceeded along a steep ridge up towards the South Summit. The ridge started off not too steep, but soon we came to a 30m rock section that was nearly vertical. At this stage I was getting cold, so unfortunately I had to go ahead of Fiona to move at a faster pace. Above the wall, there was a more forgiving snow slope leading up to the South Summit of Everest. I was following behind Dasona and he was behind Dennis Kellner. The three of us were moving together well.
Suddenly I found it really hard to keep up with Dennis and Dasona. They could take 10 steps before stopping for a small rest, whereas after 2 steps, I was totally out of breath. I found a less steep spot and put my weight on the rope and tried to catch my breath. After about 10 minutes, my breathing was not so rapid, but something wasn't right. A few minutes later I checked the bottle which caches oxygen from the mask and it was empty. Suddenly it dawned on me that I was out of oxygen. I was at over 8700m, with the South Summit in sight. My first thought was not to panic and to concentrate on breathing really deeply. And I mean really deeply. Graduallly I found that no matter how hard I tried to breathe, I was getting out of breath. I started to feel very drowsy & sleepy and I would estimate that over 30 minutes elapsed since I noticed a change in my performance. Fortunately Dasona came back down and hooked me up to his oxygen bottle. This meant that he had to go without. I was so glad of this gesture, because I was really going downhill fast. The effect of the oxygen was dramatic. Within a minute I was feeling much better, although I wouldn't have been able to stand.
With one oxygen bottle between two people what where we going to do? Amazingly a very strong IMG Sherpa called Danaru came down from the summit and he, without a second thought, gave up his oxygen bottle. To say I was grateful is an understatement. There wasn't enough oxygen to continue to the summit, but this was the last thing on mind. I was extremely happy to be alive. At this time Fiona came along and I wished her good luck and told her she had the summit in the bag.
Dasona and I then started walking down. I was a little unsteady on my feet, but we made it down in a couple of hours. I was very relieved to be back at the South Col. This felt like safety, even though its still 8000m.
On my way down, moves were already in place to give me a second shot. I didn't expect this and am very grateful to IMG. Unfortunately, I would have to go that night as the expedition was drawing to a close. I deliberated about what to do, but in the end I decided that although I was extremely tired, I would regret it if I didn't at least try. That day I drank lots of fluids & ate as much as I could. I welcomed Fiona back from her successful summit & becoming the 3rd Australian woman to climb Mt Everest. I am so happy for her. Although tired herself, she helped me get ready that evening. At 10:00pm I stepped outside my tent and started climbing up. I felt great.....at the start. At 8300m, I started to slow and tire, and it felt different in my legs. I think they were too fatigued from the previous night/day's exertion. I had a hard choice to make, push on and perhaps work through this pain and fatigue, or turn around. Going through my mind was that if I turn around then and if I want to climb Everest again I am up for another year of training, a two and a half month long expedition to put you at Camp 4 where you hope the weather for that night and day will be kind enough to let you climb. On the other hand I thought that this isn't just some mountain in the Alps, where you can call in a helicopter rescue at a moments notice; up here you have to be self sufficient. I mean, no one can carry you down if something bad happens. I had already cheated death the night before and didn't want to try my luck again. I felt that I couldn't be confident that I was going to be able to get up and down safely, so I made the somewhat difficult, but I think the right decision to turn around and decend while I still could with relative ease.
Lying down here writing this in camp 2, I still think I made the right decision. Normally I climb faster than Fiona, but today decending, she was much faster than me, so clearly I am still not in my normal shape.
The mountain is not going anywhere and I have really enjoyed the expedition, so the thought of coming back is not such a bad one. At least I feel I know what it takes to climb this mountain. I do hope that if or when I do come back, that I can enjoy the tremendous support that everyone looking at this site has shown us.
To good health,
PS. Heading down to base camp tomorrow, leaving here at 5am. One more trip to make through the icefall.
Posted by: Alan on May 25, 2006 01:55 AM AEST
Paul - your did the right thing. Well done, well done.
Posted by: Cervin on May 25, 2006 01:56 AM AEST
Intelligent decision! If you really want to climb that hill, it will be there waiting for you...
Posted by: Marc and Em on May 25, 2006 02:02 AM AEST
Great to get your update, and to hear you are well and healthly, and are as positive as ever.Looking forward to being able to catch up and chat soon.
Cheers Marc and Em
Posted by: Chuck, Connecticut, USA on May 25, 2006 02:03 AM AEST
Paul, dont ever second guess your decision, you did the right thing. Knowing when you hit your limit saved your life. Health and happiness to you and Fiona for the rest of your lives. Thank you both for sharing this tremendous adventure with us. Chuck
Posted by: Jim C. on May 25, 2006 02:04 AM AEST
Good move. You will accomplish it and made the right move..The Mt. will be there for next time.
Posted by: Cas,London on May 25, 2006 02:06 AM AEST
Well done Paul...definitely the right decision.... Pity there wasn't more time to go down and try again this year Question : Do you have any idea why your oxygen ran out so fast? I take it this was the second bottle and was supposed to last all the way to the summit and back to the balcony.
Posted by: Tim & Inna (in Boston) on May 25, 2006 02:08 AM AEST
I think you showed incredible judgement. You know that you have it within yourself to summit.
Posted by: Lori & Curtis J. Monticello MN USA on May 25, 2006 02:23 AM AEST
Wow! I don't know about the rest of your readers, but I assumed you were running low, not OUT of oxygen. That is an extremely scary situation and so obviously you made the correct decision. As many have stated before, you have climbed Mt. Everest and what are a few more steps? There are so many incredible places to visit in the world that I think the two of you could find another challenges to attempt. Congrats to both of you on your accomplishments. I'm glad to hear IMG and Tuck were there to support you, they are a first rate organization. If you could please congratulate Tuck for us on leading a great Everest expedition us, that would be great. The Johnson's
Posted by: stephanie zschokke (MN-USA) on May 25, 2006 02:27 AM AEST
Paul and Fiona,
Congratulations! And that is to you BOTH. Paul---no question you did the right thing. In all the reading I have done on Everest and all the deaths and tragedy, there is an immense amount of bravery and courage in turning back, especially when all one wants to do is "get there". I looked at a detailed map of the South Summit area and in my opinion you for all intensive purposes "summited"! If you go back, you have gained an immense amount of experience all the way up. I commend you for your all your hard work!
Fiona--incredible feat and the 3rd woman from your country! You are awesome to say the least. I researched and no women from my state of Minnesota have done it before...as I ponder the challenge....however, I also do not take lightly your comments as to the pain and effort it took! In reflection now "rested" (semi) would you encourage others that it is worth giving it a shot?
To you both---Fiona, if Paul went back do you think you would go? Dave (my significant other) was joking with me that he would be like "I love you honey, but I'm going to a beach with a fru fru drink now!" (given how hard it is).
Thank you both for sharing this incredible journey with everyone, you don't know how much it meant to all of us following. If we can't ever get there, you have given us the chance to be as close as possible! I'm really going to miss the updates! Hopefully there will be more pictures posted.... I told Dave if we ever get to Australia (and we would like to) I would love to actually meet you guys! Congrats again, Dave and Stephanie.
Posted by: Jo, WI, USA on May 25, 2006 03:05 AM AEST
You are a true mountaineer Paul. You have shown the sport exactly what it means to do this fantastic thing (climb high!) but with a sound mind and body. You sure told a story - I stopped breathing while reading it. I am sure your family and darling wife all commend you for not pushing beyond the edge and knowing that indeed, one slight mistake in judgement could have proven detrimental. Be it Everest in another year or some other glorious mountain, you'll be back at it again in due time. Or at least I hope! Safe travels through that icefall. Thoughts to you both -
Posted by: Lorilee, Lantana, FL USA on May 25, 2006 03:07 AM AEST
Paul and Fiona,
You are both amazing! Thanks so much for sharing your awesome experience. Fiona, you rock being the 3rd gal to reach the top! Paul, thank goodness you kept your good judgement and will look forward to your next expedition. Following your site sure makes us feel like we know you.
Please relay to Dennis congrats as well and I can't wait for the details and pics! Also, tell him Tas has taken over the countertop at home.
All the best returning down to sea level........Lorilee
Posted by: Juan (Caracas, Venezuela) on May 25, 2006 03:11 AM AEST
Hi Paul, great you are fine. You did the right thing. You'll have another chance in the future. Why did you ran out of oxygen so fast?
Posted by: Chris and Bridget on May 25, 2006 03:17 AM AEST
Hi Guys, glad to hear you are both well. Paul, it sounds like things got pretty serious up there - well done on looking after yourself and getting back down to camp healthily. Maybe Bridge and I will hike in with you again in a few years time (if you are nice!). We guess you'll be in base camp by the time you read this, hope the last climb through the ice fall was good. What an adventure - you have experienced so much. Hope you enjoy the shower experience at base camp today!!
Chris & Bridge
Posted by: MC - Vancouver, Washington, USA on May 25, 2006 03:31 AM AEST
Thank you for this well composed trip report. (I truly hope that you and Fiona will write a book on this adventure, complete with your stunning photos!) I love this picture at C-2...of course, you are both smiling your contagious smiles.
As I have stated in previous posts, Everest is an intellectual game as much as a physical one. Paul, you played the intellectual game brilliantly, with amazing composure and soundness of mind. This probably saved your life. My hat is off to you and Fiona for achieving the "adventure of all adventures". Thank you for sharing this journey with all of us. MC
"When you are faced with one of the most difficult decisions of your life, do not be fooled by visions of glory; listen to your gut." mc
Posted by: Cathy Genton on May 25, 2006 03:50 AM AEST
Good choice Paul. We are grateful for your good care and support on the mountain. Congratulations to both of you. We've enjoyed following your journey- thank you for making it an open venture. See you in Canada sometime.
Cathy, Glenn and children. Vancouver
Posted by: Barbara on May 25, 2006 03:52 AM AEST
of course your decision was right, but it brought tears to my eyes nonetheless, and I don't even know you! I have loved following your days and seeing the pictures. Thanks for sharing so much with so many people.BC
Posted by: Mark on May 25, 2006 04:57 AM AEST
Thank you for sharing first hand what we, who have not visited Everest, can only wonder - what is it truly like to be there. Thank you SO much for sharing your experience with one arm chair climber. You answered so many of my questions. You made the right decision - your safe return speaks loads about your wisdom and strength!
Mark - Wisconsin, USA
Posted by: Richard Taylor (Melbourne, Australia) on May 25, 2006 05:38 AM AEST
Your strength in decision making is admirable. Congratulations on going for the second attempt. I know how strong you are so can appreciate the energy you must have expended the night before. Fiona congratulations on reaching the summit fantastic news and a great story from yesterday. Both of you, truly awsome.
See you soon, Rich.
Posted by: Steve & Paula Dansker Maryland USA on May 25, 2006 05:39 AM AEST
Dear Paul & Fiona,
Let me see if we understand it right: Fiona climbed just a few hundred feet higher than you, Paul. Except for a faulty bottle that misbehaved, you didn't climb the last 100 meters or so. Well, my friends, for all intents and purposes, you both achieved your goal. You climbed the mountain. Excuse us if we differ from those that claim only Fiona did it. And, Paul, for trying to make the last few hundred feet the second time you get the Most Couragious Award. We will instruct the USA's National Geographic Society to strike this year's award engraved with your name on it. By God, son, you deserve it! The generosity and selflessness that you showed at an altitude where most folks can't even count their fingers says a whole lot about your character. It's impeccable! If & when you 2 get to the USA, we would be only too honored to host you in the DC area. Hopefully, you'll take us up on our offer. Cheers for now.
Steve & Paula Dansker
Posted by: Ram A. on May 25, 2006 05:45 AM AEST
Paul, I read on the mounteverest.net site that there was no oxygen equipment malfunction - it was operator error. Could you share with us what happened? Was the oxygen turned up too high?
Posted by: MC on May 25, 2006 05:58 AM AEST
To Paul, Fiona, Mary (BC mom), Nick and all "support team"
The following is a link to a great story on Paul and Fiona by Alan Arnette. He covers all the Everest news and has been supporting Paul and Fiona on this site. It's a great read. Alan, I concur with you completely.
Posted by: Paul on May 25, 2006 06:01 AM AEST
Great Effort to all the climbers , A BIG WHOO-RAY to JIM for making it to the top.Be safe on the way down.
Posted by: Diane on May 25, 2006 06:31 AM AEST
Paul, you made a wise decision and I am glad you feel good about it. You have both had an amazing journey. God Bless and enjoy the rest of the trip down.
Posted by: Liz - Upper Montclair, NJ USA on May 25, 2006 06:55 AM AEST
Thanks for sharing Paul - you did an awesome job. And i am not just saying this to make you feel better. Well done!!
Posted by: Mark R -- Mountville PA USA on May 25, 2006 07:08 AM AEST
Hi Fi & Paul
Thank you for the detailed description of your climbs, Paul. Great reading for sure. You made right decisions at critical moments; I have no doubts you are alive now because of that.
Can you tell us why your O2 ran out, if you know? Theories? Flow rate too high mistakenly? Leak somewhere? Something to file away for next time, dude. I'm reminded once again of why the amazing Sherpas are so revered. They are selfless.
Now get thru the Icefall safely one last time, and enjoy some Base Camp comforts!
Looking forward to more dispatches from you both. And pictures too! Should be spectacular in hi-res.
Posted by: Liane and QECVI students (Ontario, Canada) on May 25, 2006 07:15 AM AEST
We are incredibly proud of you. In our Everest studies this year, we have read about a lot of people who have made stupid decisions high on the mountain, just because they were too stubborn or too proud to turn around or ask for help. You refused to do that. You made the right choice - twice - and we wanted you to know that we think you are an incredibly strong person. Following your Everest adventure has been the highlight of our class this semester. Thank you both for sharing the highs and lows of your Everest experience. We have cheered you on every day from Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Hopefully our happy thoughts made their way across the world to you!
A couple of questions, if you feel like answering:
Paul - Do you know why you ran out of oxygen so quickly? Do you think your tank was faulty? Was your regulator turned up too high?
Fiona - What are the Nepali government requirements for proving that you summitted? Do you not need a set of panoramic photos from the summit? What happens since your camera wouldn't work?
Cheers to you both! Again, we are VERY proud of you!
Liane and the QECVI students
Posted by: Ron Hilton: Evergreen CO on May 25, 2006 07:26 AM AEST
Paul - I think you and your support team made all the correct decisions. Nobody got hurt, just a brief scare. Now you know what it takes to summit and you have it, but it'll be next year.
Posted by: Elizabeth-London on May 25, 2006 07:29 AM AEST
From ExWeb: "The summit is such a small piece of the mountain. Most of the beauty and wonders are experienced during the climb."
It sounds like you had an amazing climb, and you both made a huge effort. I don't know much about climbing, but I'm sure Paul made the right decision. Maybe you'll get another chance to try for the top. Thank you so much, I've loved hearing about your climb, it's been great seeing how you're doing. I hope you had as much fun climbing as I did reading all your updates.
Posted by: Anne Marshall on May 25, 2006 07:37 AM AEST
Paul and Fiona the messages of congratulations which you've received have said it all loudly and clearly! You made heroic efforts as a team to do what you did, with highest quality decision-making all of the way; you communicated with an enthralled global audience in informative and inspiring ways, enriching lives in doing so; you have earned yourselves the greatest respect (and that goes for Mare too)in climbing Mt Everest, for that IS what you both did. With fondest best wishes for the next ten days or so until the three of you are back in Brighton... Anne and Ronnie.
Posted by: Valerie & Rummy Apollo Bay Victoria Australia on May 25, 2006 08:04 AM AEST
Dear Paul, Fiona, BC Mom and the entire support team. Congratulations on your super human efforts. I don't think any of us at sea level truly understand the role of the sherpas or the minds of the sherpas. They have an unbelievable spirit, as do you, Paul & Fiona. Paul, your absolute strength of character shines thru. I agree with the above comments, YOU HAVE CLIMBED EVEREST!! We look forward to your next report. I hope you don't choke on the thick air at BC. Thank goodness you are thru the Ice Fall for the last time this season. Descend Safely--Valerie & Rummy
Posted by: Maddi and DP on May 25, 2006 08:14 AM AEST
I read your excellent report with tears streaming down my face - feeling your disappointment. But thank God you had the strength, courage and common sense to turn around (both times)when you did. I can imagine all the things going through your mind, and how difficult it must have been to decide not to go ahead.
No doubt you will come back some day, but even if you don't you should be so proud of everything you've achieved.
Much love from me and DP. Looking forward to hearing that you're both safely back at BC.
Posted by: phil Stammers > Melb > Australia on May 25, 2006 08:37 AM AEST
Hi Paul, Fiona & Mare,
Paul thanks for your update. Its been an amazing adventure for me logging on each day and receiving news of your efforts. Your pictures, and the fascinating articulate discriptions of your summit preparation and journey and all the answered questions. Wow... Super effort! Thanks for sharing these moments and well done.
Best wishes to all.
Posted by: Scott on May 25, 2006 09:27 AM AEST
Congratulations to you both! A real team effort. An adventure never to be forgotten and one you have allowed us to share with you, so thankyou. Look forward to seeing you safe & well in Melbourne. Desend carefully. Much chocolate left at base?
Take care, Scott & Jo
Posted by: soo kim on May 25, 2006 09:36 AM AEST
I have been following your progress and was worried abour your second attempt. But I am glad you tried and in the end, made a right dicision. To me, both of you are suscess story, with Fi up on the top, and you with such support and love for her to get there. Thank you for your very entertaing writtings as well. Good luck.
Posted by: meals and danny on May 25, 2006 09:45 AM AEST
Hi paully, thanks for being safe. we really look forward to seeing you back home. Take care, be well and hurry home. love meals and danny
Posted by: Paul & Fiona on May 25, 2006 09:50 AM AEST
Paul & Fiona
We followed your adventure here in Galway..couldnt help it , a couple with such a fine ring to it. Congratulations to you both.
Paul& Fiona (sea level + about 8m)
Posted by: Sammie and Nick Melb Aus on May 25, 2006 09:53 AM AEST
Hi Paul and Fi,
Paul, making a second attempt the very next night is an almighty acheivement of physical and mental stamina and strength. Congratulations to both of you! We're glad you made the the decision to come back down in safety and we look forward to giving you both big hugs when you get back. Take care through the Icefall and enjoy the luxuries of base camp :-)
xx Sammie and Nick
Posted by: Liz James, Melbourne on May 25, 2006 10:01 AM AEST
Thankyou so much Paul and Fiona for your open and honest reports of your elations and disappointments. It has been surreal sitting in comfort reading of each step. I'm glad you were able to have a second go, Paul and to have the courage to make the hard decision to turn back, and Fiona, that picture of you on the summit was fantastic! The images of your journeys have a special spot in my memory and I can't imagine what is wizzng around in yours at the moment. Have a gentle entry back into things and hope this reverse acclimatisation goes well. Liz
Posted by: Steve & Fiona, Melbourne on May 25, 2006 10:10 AM AEST
Hi, we've followed your journey for two months now and wanted to let you know we've loved every minute of it, thank you so much for sharing it (and yay for the internet and satellites).
Paul, your courage and strength is absolutely outstanding. What you've learnt about the climb and yourself this year will be a huge help for next year I'm sure! Any doubts on whether you are able to climb Everest are gone, it's now a matter of opportunity and weather.
Fi, it goes without saying that was an incredible achievement to summit and do so on your first attempt, and we know you must have pushed so far past the normal pain and fear barriers that we couldn't even imagine what it was like.
Paul, do you have any theories on why your oxygen ran out so early on attempt #1. If that bottle was meant to last you to the summit and then back to the Balcony, should it have lasted at least 3 hours more than it did?
best wishes and safe travelling,
Steve & Fiona, Melbourne.
Posted by: Jeannette G. on Vancouver Island on May 25, 2006 10:11 AM AEST
Very proud of you Paul and congratulations! You absolutely made the right decision. And such huge accomplishments both of you - and so glad you allowed all of us to join in on the journey - with much pride, your aunt jeannette (and John too).
Posted by: sara on May 25, 2006 10:12 AM AEST
I am hoping this message finds you both safe and well at Base Camp. Paul, thank you so much for your account. I am just so glad you are safe. You absolutely made the right decision and in my eyes you succeeded in conquering Everest. Talk to you both when you get home.
Posted by: Raz, Melbourne on May 25, 2006 10:40 AM AEST
Well done Paul! Great decision mate - you have done an awesome job surviving two nights on that peak. Lots of news back here about questionable decision making on the summit attempt after a britsh guy was left to die up there a week ago, but sounds like you guys had great support and great clarity of mind. A credit to your character, preparation and resolve far beyond what any summit success would give. Awesome Aussies! The beers are on ice in Melbourne waiting for your safe return...sorry about the ice - bet your sick of it by now! Cheers, Raz.
Posted by: Debra Cracknell on May 25, 2006 11:21 AM AEST
Congratulations Paul and Fiona, so very pleased to hear that you are both safe - I know that John A will be very very relieved. What an experience, something that will be with you for the rest of your life. Cant wait to read the book.
Posted by: pat nelson on May 25, 2006 11:22 AM AEST
to jim gagne,
congratulations on your climb. we knew you could do it!!
pat, jennifer and delaney nelson and
group 3, station 1 nashua fire rescue
Posted by: Rosemary & Dave Abbott (Gippsland Lakes, Australia) on May 25, 2006 11:23 AM AEST
Another great read Paul, thanks so much for detailing your experience and your incredible decision-making abilities, that has made you so successful throughout life, came to the fore again. About the oxygen, so do you breath differently from Fiona? or was the adjustment way out? or was it because you were travelling fast to keep warm, but so fast you used too much oxygen? And arent' those sherpas amazing, doing it without oxygen - unbelievable. Would like the detailed instalment on this please! I'm holding my breath and fingers crossed until I hear you're both through what I feel is 'the dark zone' (ie ice fall) - be glad to hear from you in BC. Much congratulations and foot stamping and clapping from Rosemary & Dave
Posted by: Janet Fearnley, Melbourne Australia on May 25, 2006 11:40 AM AEST
Hi Paul and Fi,
You two are just inspiring. Safe travels through the ice fall to base camp and home.
Posted by: Julie on May 25, 2006 11:51 AM AEST
Congratulations to you both. Such a tough decision but definately the right one.
Have a safe trip back home.
Posted by: barbara phelan on May 25, 2006 12:34 PM AEST
Paul and Fiona congratulations to both of you. It was very much the right decision Paul. I am sure Fiona (and all your friends and family) wants you around at beach level for a good many years not just for the short time at the top of the world.
Posted by: Donavan on May 25, 2006 12:51 PM AEST
This is proof that you belong on that mountain:
>...up here you have to be self sufficient. I mean, no one can carry you down if something bad happens. I had already cheated death the night before and didn't want to try my luck again. I felt that I couldn't be confident that I was going to be able to get up and down safely, so I made the somewhat difficult, but I think the right decision to turn around and decend while I still could with relative ease.
What a guy! I'm very proud of you...both!
Posted by: Jon on May 25, 2006 01:17 PM AEST
Hi Paul & Fiona
Congradulations to Fiona and to you Paul for having a real crack at the mountain . Credit to you both and Paul the mountian will always be there and you can give it a go when you are ready . see you at Chris and Bridgets engagement or wedding Cheers Jon
Posted by: Beck Adler on May 25, 2006 01:21 PM AEST
You guys are again in the Hearld Sun today. I was so proud and inspired to read about my amazing brother and sister-inlaw...I still can't wipe the smile of my face when I think about what you guys have achieved!
Take care on the way down. Love Beck
Posted by: John Bailey on May 25, 2006 01:30 PM AEST
Congratulations on your sensible decision and on your frank and untroubled account of it. I had a very bad feeling when I heard that you were to make another attempt. Without having met you personally, (though knowing the good Mary), I confess to wondering whether testosterone was edgeing out prudence. So - you have given me your answer. It had not! Well done.
Every best wish,
Posted by: Mark L on May 25, 2006 01:50 PM AEST
Hey Fiona & Paul - It's been great to read your messages every day. Congratulations! You're both an absolute inspiration to all of us lazy folk. Thanks so much for sending through the updates and photos (especially after 15 hours of climbing!). It's been fantastic to be able to experience the climb vicariously through you. Glad to hear that you're both safe and well.
Enjoy the amazing views and 'thick' air :)
Posted by: Deb C. Beaumaris.Aus. on May 25, 2006 01:57 PM AEST
Congratulations Paul and Fi,Dasona and Mingma on your achievements.Congrats on being the 3rd Aussie lady to summit Fiona.I'm so excited and inspired by your adventure and totally obsessed with reading your fantastic updates.I trekked in Everest region with my 7 year old son for a month and we loved being in the mountains with the yaks and the Sherpas...what a beautiful place.You are so lucky to have had that experience and we are so lucky that you shared it with the world.Thankyou! I cycle with Jan G. in the Bandidos so I think you picked a great way to condition your lungs for a workout!!! All your hard work has paid off.Well done.
Enjoy your next shower and the bakeries in Namche.
Best wishes,Deb Chambers
Posted by: Threadgold Family, Black Rock Vic on May 25, 2006 01:59 PM AEST
Thanks so much Paul and Fiona for sharing your amazing adventure and wonderful stories with us. You give true meaning to the words High Achievers.
Love the Threadgold Family
Posted by: Andrew Rankine on May 25, 2006 02:12 PM AEST
Well done guys.... I've been glued to your website for the last week, following your every step. The achievement you've made is one that will live with you forever. As you say the mountain isn't going anywhere.... you've got the drive and determination to do it again, if you choose to do so. I look forward to catching up one day and shaking both your hands and having a few beers.
Posted by: Glenda Baker, Frankston Victoria Australia. on May 25, 2006 03:16 PM AEST
Dear Paul and Fiona,
I have just read Paul's remarkable account of his two attempts to reach the summit and then all the messages posted to you. There is nothing more for me to say except, I agree with all that has been said, I have shed tears as I have read of this incredible adventure.Paul, you did it and you should be so proud of all you have achieved, I know the rest of the world is stunned by your ability to react so positively under such grave conditions.
I wish you a safe descent back to Base Camp and then home to Aus.
Best wishes for a safe return, Glenda.
Posted by: Captian Hornblower on May 25, 2006 03:32 PM AEST
I spoke with a member from the 1996 disaster and was wrapped up in your story. I am fascinated with what you are doing and have enjoyed your updates. I was very happy to see FI made it but not sad Paul did not, just happy he went as far as he did given his oxygen situation. Good decision Paul. Great work guys.
Posted by: Jacqueline Melb Aust on May 25, 2006 04:01 PM AEST
Hiya Fiona and Paul,
Paul so good to hear from you!! I still can't say that I'm necessarily jealous of either of you but I am so very proud and full of admiration. You've also made Nana the superstar of her retirement village...Looking forward to seeing you both soon. With love, Jacqueline
Posted by: Dad A. Melbourne on May 25, 2006 04:04 PM AEST
So reassuring to hear your voices in Camp 2. I have delayed posting as I want to hear that you are past the ice fall, but on re-reading your journey Paul, I just want you to know that your Dad is in awe of you, what you have survived and achieved.
To commit to sharing these unfolding experiences and feelings with your readers, while not knowing the final outcome has made us all feel very special. Paul, Fiona and Mary come home safely!
Posted by: Ross, Cape Town - South Africa on May 25, 2006 04:25 PM AEST
Hi Paul - Rather be able to tell the story than not at all... And let’s face it - With out your support Fiona might have had a very different climb. Yours is a story that involved years of training together and it is that partnership that needs to be saluted... All the best for your decent and send South Africa's regards to the Mother Goddess
Posted by: Geoff Downing on May 25, 2006 04:54 PM AEST
Dear Paul and Fiona,
99.9%of the people in the world have not and could not tread on the very special ground where you guys have just been. Sometimes in life things don't go exactly as we planned,but Paul you showed the wisdom of a very wise man, not to tempt the mountain too much. Congratulations to Fiona on her summit, and you certainly will share in her success as she no doubt has learnt a lot from your mountaineering partnership over the years.
Everest is not the only mountain in life and you have already conquered and achieved so much in your lives.
Congratulations and safe decent GRD
Posted by: Steve Bracks, Premier of Victoria on May 25, 2006 04:57 PM AEST
Message from the Premier of Victoria
Dear Fiona and Paul
I was please to learn of Fiona’s successful climb to become the third Australian woman to climb Mount Everest and Paul’s valiant effort. Congratulations to you both on your wonderful achievement.
High altitude mountaineering is one of the toughest sports in the world requiring incredible physical endurance, mental strength and courage. To have followed in the steps of Sir Edmund Hillary must be a source of great personal satisfaction.
All the best for a safe return.
Posted by: Owen on May 25, 2006 05:03 PM AEST
Paul and Fiona,
Congratulations to you both on your adventure.
Good to know that both of you are safe and well.
Hope to hear more stories from you at Durrant St.
Posted by: Danny and Kate on May 25, 2006 06:53 PM AEST
Well done on a brilliant effort and we are glad to hear you are safe after making the right decision! We’ve enjoyed reading about the climb and I can’t wait to hear all the stories first hand (hopefully over a few beers at Luke’s bucks). Well done Paul and Fizz Wizz!
Danny and Kate
Posted by: Helene Nilsson on May 25, 2006 07:00 PM AEST
Congratulations to a mighty climb by both of you.It has been fascinating and a privledge to read and enter to what is only a fantasy world for me.Today I sat with friends on Mt. Greville and as we admired the views spoke of your trip and the most wondrous views you would be having.This is a real "Australian Story" . I will be contacting them and hopefully more Aussies can hear your story. Safe travelling!
Posted by: sally hearn on May 25, 2006 09:05 PM AEST
What a fantastic man you are and what a wonderful strength of character to know when enough is enough - well done !!!
Posted by: jack on May 26, 2006 03:38 AM AEST
Fi Fi,jim and Dan, way to go. paul,let's make plans for next year! vic and i are in the keys and expect to have dinner with Tami tonight.
Posted by: Peggy Brown Quad Cities, Il. Rock Island on May 26, 2006 08:03 AM AEST
Have followed your trip up and down Mount Everest and you are a remarkable group. Paul your courage and stamina is outstanding. You are a very wise man. Will miss keeping up on your where abouts but hope you and Fiona have a great welcome home and take time to relax. The pictures have been fantastic. Good one that Dennis took of the three of you. Fiona mentioned of her that got the laughs. Say Hi to Dennis for us and we sent hugs to all of you.
Posted by: Caroline & Rex Pemberton on May 27, 2006 04:16 PM AEST
A massive congratulations to you all, What an amazing climb! We take our hat off to you both! Enjoy the trek out, enjoy the green, It's a bit bizzare isn't it? after seeing blue, grey and white for so long! and biggest congrats to Mary for the great updates, I know the pain and angst of sleeping on rock and ice in the comms tent, did Tuck snore? ; )
Great work! Kindest regards
Rex and Caroline Pemberton
Posted by: Dhanya from Clayton South Primary School on May 29, 2006 01:11 PM AEST
Hi Fiona! congrats on making to the summit.I have a question to ask:Is the summit small and pointy like on pictures?If it is not,what is it like? I am congratulating you on making the summit again.Too bad Paul did not make it.Hope Paul and you are well.