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.

Our current projects are www.womow.com.au and www.myeverest.com



« FIONA'S DESCENT 12.30 | Home | Paul to make a second summit attempt »

What Climbing Everest is Really Like


Fiona on the summit of Mount Everest. Photo Mingma Ongel Sherpa

Location: Everest Summit
Altitude: 8,850m
Local Time: Now 8pm
Weather: Fine and sunny with low winds, seriously cold at night, and just really cold in the sun

Hey there everyone, Fiona here.
Thought I'd give you my perspective on my climb of Everest last night and today.

Getting going
We ended up planning to leave at 9pm but actually left around 9:30. My fault - it's amazing how much time those last minute things like heating up your chemical warmers, strapping some onto your toes, dressing (when you're wearing 90 layers), putting on your climbing harness and crampons, getting boiling water for your bottles, etc takes! My friends will inform you that I am a stickler for punctuality and am normally never late (hardly!).

Anyway, Mingma and I headed out, accompanied by another Sherpa whose job it was to cart my second bottle of oxygen to "The Balcony" (about half way through the climb). The idea is that you start with a full bottle, use less than half of it getting to The Balcony, then switch to a new full bottle leaving your other half to switch back to on your way down. This Sherpa (whose name I have momentarily forgotten), then decided to come to the summit with us - so it was the 3 of us all the way.

Climbing Through the Black
We've climbed at night before and always seemed to have a little light, but last night was pitch black except for a small amount of starlight. There were also a few climbers ahead of us - and their distant head torches showed me the way the route wound up into the mountain. It was so dark that most of the night you couldn't tell where the mountain ended and the sky began.

The First Half
The climb starts by making our way up the Triangular Face and onto the Balcony. Initially, it's a gentle snow slope that gets steeper and steeper, and then is scattered with rocky sections. Most people have a short rest at the Balcony while they change oxygen tanks - us included. As anticipated, Paul caught up to us - but earlier than expected (due to my less than cracking pace and delayed start). We shared the break together but it was not very relaxing. We obviously needed to use our hands to get out our drink and Gu's and take off our oxygen masks to ingest them, but were paranoid about leaving them out of our big mitts for too long. Although I was quite warm when climbing (bordering on hot), as soon as we stopped moving, you could feel the chill overtaking your body.

We continued heading up together, but then Paul found the pace too slow to keep him warm so overtook our little group.

Trudging On
Using head torches to see the track, you could only really make out the next 10 metres or so of the route and had no idea of the surrounding landscape - except to know that we kept heading upwards. In my case, I had Mingma ahead of me - often waiting at the end of a fixed line. With my problem of getting cold hands and history of frostbite, I was wearing big down mitts stuffed with handwarmers - great for warmth but also makes then useless for any fiddly tasks. Thankfully Mingma clipped my safety clip jumar into all the fixed lines during the night. There was very little speaking - just an occasional "you alright?" or "hands warm?".

We plugged on through the endless hours of the night - must be a while since I've had an all-nighter because it was astonishing just how long the night was. And all the while stepping and resting, stepping and resting. I kept trying to minimise the resting by telling myself you're not going to get there unless you're moving - but at over 8000 metres, it's hard work when your body keeps saying it can't go any further.

Sunrise
When the first glows of dawn showed, it was absolutely amazing. We were already far higher than most of the mountains I could see and the changing light on those peaks and the low-lying cloud was spectacular. Unfortunately I didn't stop to get any photos as I was so concerned about making it to the top and back in time.

The Second Half
On the way up to the South Summit, some of the rocky section proved to be extremely taxing and my fatigue started to set in, slowing my pace even further. Migma was urging me to go faster (or risk having to reduce the oxygen flow rate so that it would last the distance) but I just couldn't do it.

Oh No!
Just here at over 8600m we ran into Paul and his Sherpas again. At first I was elated as I thought we'd somehow caught up to them, but then he told me of his predicament with his oxygen, the only option being for him to go down. What a heart-breaker. Of all the scenarios we'd thought might happen, this was certainly not one of them. He urged me to go on saying "you've got it in the bag!". Which was anything but how I felt at the time. Just to get over the ridge line they were resting on probably took half an hour. At the time I was so focused on the reality of seeing whether I could get to the top or not, I didn't really think of any other options but putting my all into getting as far up as I could. But as I plodded on, I began to think of the disappointment for Paul and the shame in not being able to achieve this together. As well as wondering whether I should have gone down with him so that we could try again together some other time, or whether I should have offered my oxygen and gone down (which to be honest, didn't even cross my mind - maybe the altitude?). We said a brief good bye and good luck and then parted, up and down the mountain.

Getting Close
Not far from here, we reached the South Summit - which gives incredible views of the actual summit - something we had not yet seen in the flesh. This was the first time I'd really noticed the views around us. We were surrounded by thousands of peaks (in Nepal and Tibet) - some grass and some snow covered, but all with sharply defined edges and pointed peaks (many pyramid shaped). And the distance we could see was enormous - I'm sure I could see the curvature of the earth. I noticed the weather here too - not a cloud in the sky and hardly a breath of wind (by Everest standards anyway).

At this stage I was utterly exhausted and found myself wondering why there had to be two summits and why the South Summit wasn't the one. My arms and back were aching from pulling myself up on rock and rope, and my calves were wrecked from so much French pointing and climbing on rocky sections holds for only one or two of your crampon points.

From here we traversed across a very exposed section linking the South Summit to the Summit. I was very glad it wasn't a windy day as a fall from either side would send you thousands of metres down into either Nepal or Tibet.

A rocky section and then another exposed traverse and we were at the Hilary's Step. This is a lot different from how I'd imagined. It butts into the traverse so is really a narrow chute - which explains why there can't be separate up and down routes to avoid congestion. It also doesn't strike me the most technical part of the summit climb. There are around 50 ropes which have been strung up over the years. So to climb it, you just grab a handful of ropes in each hand and haul yourself up - not the most graceful climbing maneuver ever! But it was only after climbing the step that I actually began to think - hey, I'm actually going to make it!

After this obstacle, the climb traversed across the snow covered corniced peaks that make up the summit. As you can imagine, every peak you climb up you're thinking "this has got to be the summit", only to be disappointed when you crest over the top to see that the next corniced peak is higher. After not too long, we crested one peak, and there was suddenly nowhere left to go. No more up! I didn't look at my watch but I believe it was around 8am.

The Summit
The summit area itself is very small - probably 10 people could fit but they'd need to be very sure-footed. There was no one else though. There are lots of things left on the summit. Mostly Nepalise prayer flags. Mingma actually brought a set up and unravelled it specatularly in the wind before letting them settle on the summit. The view from here was absolutely amazing. 360 degrees of long-reaching views and we're standing head and shoulders above everything else.

We radioed to basecamp to let them know our positon and then proceeded to pull out our drinks - we were very thirsty. But unfortuately the lids on both my thermos and the Sherpas water bottles were frozen solid and no amount of brute force could open them. Oh well, time to get the camera out for the first time to get some summit shots, as well as a panoramic shot which would be amazing. No go - despite the camera being kept on an inside pocket of the down suit, it's battery refused to cooperate. Mingma spent around 10 minutes heating the battery in his hands and managed to take 2 photos before it would freeze up again. Imagine my disappointment! I also had a satellite phone there and planned to call my family and a some close friends, but it was just to windy and cold.

Heading Down
By this time we were starting to get very cold so decided to start heading down. This is when my fatigue started to kick in violently. I kept thinking that all I needed was a tent, a sleeping bag, and about 100 bottles of lemonade (still soooo thirsty!). Camp 4 seemed so far away.

By around 12:30pm we finally made it back - although I thought it felt more like 4pm. In total, I was climbing solidly for around 15 hours and I have now not slept for nearly 40 hours. No wonder I'm zonked. And with only 1 litre of water downed during the climb, it's now time for some serious rehydration.

Back at Camp 4
Back in the tent with Paul and discussing both our joy and disappointment. Very mixed emotions at the moment.

Climbing Mount Everest has been the hardest night & day of my life. I'm not sure I'd do it again! It was spectacular up there but my gosh, the pain to get there! I'm actually not sure that the experience has sunk in yet - nor the fact that this huge goal I've been working towards for so long has been realised.

Still extremely tired with sore limbs - so will sleep very well tonight (even in the astronaut suit).

Over and out, Fiona

Messages


Posted by: Fi & Mark Guscott on May 24, 2006 01:53 AM AEST

Fi - you are amazing! Now go to bed!!! I'm tired just reading that!!!
xoxoxo
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Posted by: Jean-Pierre Genton from Paris on May 24, 2006 01:53 AM AEST

Wonderfull, it's really amazing. All the french family is very proud. Congratulations !
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Posted by: Chuck Forbes, Virginia USA on May 24, 2006 01:57 AM AEST

Fiona, fantastic! Congratulations, and it is great news to hear that both of you are alive and well. Thanks for all of the detail on the summit climb. You don't get that kind of stuff in books, videos, etc. Hope Paul gets another chance. It ain't over yet, be very careful going down.
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Posted by: John C., USA on May 24, 2006 01:59 AM AEST

CONGRATULATIONS - What an account of your journey, simply incredible. Thank you.
Paul - The big question, will you attmept to summit again? I hope so if you are not too tired and you are fit. Either way, you have accomplished more than most and truly an example of courage and dedication.
God Bless you both, and thank you.
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Posted by: Tim Adler (Boston) on May 24, 2006 02:00 AM AEST

Fiona,

This is an amazing account. True to your style, you have given a realistic, practical yet vivid and fascinating description of the climb.

Tim.
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Posted by: Nic and Ant - Perth Australia on May 24, 2006 02:04 AM AEST

Well done, we've been watching since the start and hourly today. We've been hanging out for this report. A great effort by both of you. Both of you have achieved what you set out to do today. One made the summit and the other got close but his own willpower made sure he didn't go on when it became impossible, giving him another chance at the summit if he wants and to enjoy the others achievements. Enjoy your sleep. Looking forward to further updates
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Posted by: Cervin on May 24, 2006 02:05 AM AEST

Congrats! Impressive!
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Posted by: Lori & Curtis J. Monticello MN USA on May 24, 2006 02:17 AM AEST

Fiona & Paul, Congrats again on your awesome achievement!! You have a great way with words Fiona and describe the climb quite vividly-thanks. Rest up, rehydrate, and continue safely on your journey. The Johnson's
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Posted by: Bindi bu on May 24, 2006 02:22 AM AEST

AWESOME!I'm so proud of both of you!
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Posted by: James Usback on May 24, 2006 02:27 AM AEST

Hi Paul and Fiona
Well it is one of the Sensis connections again however I feel that I am now part of the true circle of followers that have monitored what really has been a fantastic life experience. Fiona, congratulations and it is unbelievable to hear such a modest and detailed summary of something that will elevate you for the rest of your life. Congratualtions. Paul, congratulations also on what would be one of the greatest achievments you could imagine. The selflessness of your support to Fiona is inspiring. I know without a doubt the mere fact a couple can approach this task together to the extent you both have is a true indicator of not only where you both are at but how strong your relationships is.
What a feat, we have loved keeping uptodate with it all and you both deserve huge celebrations when you return. I hope to chat over a beer someday.
And as Winston Churchill said "never, ever, ever give up..."
All the very best
James
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Posted by: Cas,London on May 24, 2006 02:28 AM AEST

Hi Fiona

Can't believe you managed to put together such a detailed report after such a hard climb. Well done. Question: will Paul have another go this year?

So glad you made it , be safe on the way down

Cas
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Posted by: Chuck, Connecticut, USA on May 24, 2006 02:32 AM AEST

Thank you Fiona for such a wonderful report.
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Posted by: phil Stammers > Melb > Australia on May 24, 2006 02:34 AM AEST

Hi Fiona & Paul,

Well done! Thanks for your detailed summit update. It's been absolutely amazing to follow your climb. I hope Paul is able to give the summit another go... but if not your joint efforts have been truely amazing. Thanks for sharing these moments. Sleep now..
>phil
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Posted by: Penelope on May 24, 2006 02:42 AM AEST

Fiona-- What a thrilling and detailed account, I am so excited to see your photo up there!! You did it--and it will all sink in soon. We are all really hoping that Paul can try once more this year.

Sleep well and thank you so much for taking everyone here with you to the summit.

Penelope in Chicago
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Posted by: John & June, Sanbornton, NH, USA on May 24, 2006 02:49 AM AEST

Congratulations Fiona!! Awesome job of getting to the top. Hopefully Paul has enough strength for another try. Maybe he'll get to climb with another New Hampshire-ite, Jim Gagne. If you see Jim tell him John & June are pulling for him. Congratulations again and have a safe trip down.
John & June
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Posted by: Liz - Upper Montclair, NJ USA on May 24, 2006 02:50 AM AEST

Hello Fiona,
well, what can i say - i am sitting here with a huge lump in my throat - thrilled for you and broken hearted for Paul. Paul, the mountain is not going anywhere, you could always go back.
I am amazed you had it in you to write such a beautiful, real, descriptive dispatch - Girl Power !! (used to say that to myself when i reached my mountain tops!!)
Congratualtions to you both!!
Liz
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Posted by: Shelagh, Ottawa, Canada. on May 24, 2006 02:56 AM AEST

An absolutely fabulous read, thank you so much. Hard to fathom that you could write all that AFTER climbing Everest!! Congratulations. You should be proud. Special congrats to Paul for making what must have been a very difficult decision. You two are incredible.
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Posted by: Tam - Florida Keys, USA on May 24, 2006 03:08 AM AEST

Paul, Fiona and the IMG Team:
The vigil continues and the candles remain lit until you have all safely returned to Base Camp. Newest IMG news has Dan, Jim and Paul leaving the South Col for the Summit. Our thoughts continue to be with them. To those that have made the summit......Our hearts are full of pride for all of you!
Den: It is more than just my heart -- you make my whole body smile! Cuz you're my man......!!!
Continue to climb safe, climb strong!
Tam
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Posted by: Elizabeth-London on May 24, 2006 03:09 AM AEST

Wow, well done to both of you. I hope Paul gets another chance at the summit sometime, and I'm glad Fiona reached the top.
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Posted by: Cathy Genton on May 24, 2006 04:04 AM AEST

congratulations Fiona, on a phenomenal achievement! Take care of yourself, now. We hope and pray Paul can get another go at it and reach his goals also. From Cathy, Glenn and kids (Ava, Tavia, and Gracelyn)
Vancouver, Canada
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Posted by: John C, TN, USA on May 24, 2006 04:15 AM AEST

Just saw on IMG's site where Paul is going again. THAT IS GREAT
God's Speed and have a safe journey to the summit and back.
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Posted by: Juan (Caracas, Venezuela) on May 24, 2006 04:22 AM AEST

Hey, good news!! just saw in IMG web that Paul is having his second chance and is going up with Tashi Dorje sherpa. He left the south col near 9:20pm (Nepal time) and will be reaching the Balcony in 4-5 hours. Isn't that great. Go Paul... Go Go Go !! Sure you can do it.
JC
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Posted by: MC - Vancouver, Washington, USA on May 24, 2006 04:27 AM AEST

Fiona
Again, congratulations! An amazing achievement! What a challenge...and you persevered.. I cannot believe you were able to put together a trip report, so detailed and descriptive! Thank you.
Paul
I am hoping you will get another shot at the summit. I can imagine your disappointment at having to turn back before the south summit. But you have already showed the world what you are made of.

Climbing Mt. Everest is also a symbol of the challenges we all face in real life. The two of you have exhibited how to work as a team and support each other in your individual goals as well as your combined goals. You guys are the best of the best. MC
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Posted by: MC (cont.) on May 24, 2006 04:37 AM AEST

Paul
I just read on IMG's site that you are going back up for another attempt at the summit. And the weather forecast is for "more of the same". Good luck! Fingers are definitely still crossed! MC
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Posted by: Chris & Bridget on May 24, 2006 04:40 AM AEST

Paul, just saw on mountain guides web site you are going up again - we are very excited for you - take care and look forward to hearing the details as you progress!!

Chris & Bridget
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Posted by: Jo on May 24, 2006 04:50 AM AEST

Amazing, Fiona. Big congrats to you BOTH; even though Paul had to turn around, he persevered by making the right, safe choice - you rock for your hard work and determination. I hope you are sleeping soundly now :).

Jo, WI, USA
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Posted by: Chris Dunlop on May 24, 2006 04:58 AM AEST

Hello! I don't know you guys personally, but stumbled across your link on mounteverest.net, as I was trying to get info about a friend climbing Pumori. I've been following your adventure for the last month, and am thrilled you made it to the summit Fiona, and for making a tough, good decision Paul. Now get back down safely!
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Posted by: William Popper on May 24, 2006 05:19 AM AEST

Berkeley, CA
Congratulations to all in your climbing team. What an effort you have described. Paul my thoughts are with you at this time. Coping with disapointment is always difficult for awhile, but I know that you have gained much from this experience which will continue to inspire and motivate you into the future. You both are magnificient human beings and your warmth and humanity is much in evidence in the photos which you have posted and your Spirit of adventure and courage is an inspiration to all who have followed your words and images during this climb. Blessings to you both.
WP
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Posted by: MC (cont.) on May 24, 2006 05:33 AM AEST

I just read on IMG's web-site, that Paul has left for a 2nd summit attempt . He left C-4 at approximately 9:30 pm. The new weather forecast is for "more of the same" which is good news. You can do it, Paul. Sherpa Mingma Ongel is going down with Fiona. MC
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Posted by: Stephen Humphries on May 24, 2006 05:34 AM AEST

Fiona -- an amazing feat! The momentousness of it will sink in once you've rested. You're incredibly generous to take the time to write such a detailed account of the climb, even though you must be exhausted. Paul: commiserations... I hope you'll be able to give it another shot and realize your dream, too.
Best wishes,
Stephen Humphries
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Posted by: Mark R -- Mountville PA USA on May 24, 2006 06:44 AM AEST

Fiona, you are simply amazing!
You did it. You stood on top of the world!
I've been following along via EverestNews.com and this site since before you left home (bet you can't wait to get back there!) and I have to say thank you for letting us all come along for the ride. Your daily updates have brought it all home to us armchair climbers, with such straight-forward clarity and earnestness.
Your detailed description here of your entire summit climb is simply astounding! You've done an amazing job of conveying the immensity of the effort you expended -- it's no walk in the park, eh?!
The Adler Army has grown along the way and now stands ready to root on Paul as he heads up for his second attempt on the summit. Go Paul!
Thanks again, Fi -- you rock!

Now get down safely,
Mark R
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Posted by: Donavan on May 24, 2006 07:06 AM AEST

Fi, I LOVED your description...it was almost like being along for the climb! (Without the crushing fatigue and nippy weather!)

And you even managed THE most difficult part: Making it back to Camp 4 safely...

Did you manage to type all that BEFORE you slept?! Hearty woman!

Paul, massive amounts of best wishes to you on your next attempt!
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Posted by: Michael and Mary Ruth on May 24, 2006 07:25 AM AEST

Well done Fiona, an awesome achievement. And best of luck to Paul.
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Posted by: June Nye, Delray Beach, FL USA on May 24, 2006 07:34 AM AEST

Congratulations, Fiona and Dennis! Right to the top. So proud of you. Glad to hear Paul is going to make another attempt. Gods be with him. Having shared the past couple months with you has been such a pleasure. Thanks for all your hard work keeping us informed. I feel I know you and we have become friends. Congratulations to all the other team members also. Great effort!Den's Aunt June
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Posted by: Valerie & Rummy Apollo Bay Victoria Australia on May 24, 2006 07:47 AM AEST

Oh, Fiona--thank you so much for the riveting report of your climb. I am exhausted just reading about it. Thankfully you have made it downhill to C4 to a welcome rest. It now would appear you only have one more time thru The Icefall. Please get plenty of rest for the difficult descent. The Adler Army (good one, Mark R. from PA, USA) is behind you, Paul and your team. Go Paul!!
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Posted by: Maddi and DP on May 24, 2006 08:02 AM AEST

Fiona - nothing else to say but you are amazing. We cannot imagine the strength and endurance it must take to do what you have done. This is something that you can (and no doubt will) be proud of your entire life. Well done.

And now, all our fingers and toes crossed for Paul.

Much love
Maddi and DP xx
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Posted by: Diane on May 24, 2006 08:11 AM AEST

Your account was amazing to read. I felt bad for Paul but he will make it too. I could see you in my mind with such a great report how things were. Congratulation on accompishing such a great feat.
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Posted by: Anne Marshall on May 24, 2006 08:20 AM AEST

Fiona after reading your report I shed tears of joy, relief and sheer admiration for you in overcoming so much. Thankfully you are now safe and recovering, albeit with different anxieties to handle as Paul goes for his goal. We've always heard the term "conquering Mt Everest" but your reports have allowed a whole new understanding of its aptness. Much love
Anne and Ronnie, Melbourne. xx
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Posted by: Ari Petrovs on May 24, 2006 09:47 AM AEST

fi....wow bloody wee!
I dont read an aweful much but that's the best story i've read. I've said it before...you rock! be safe and normal like us all for a while huh!? xo Ari Luana and Charli
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Posted by: Sammie and Nick Melb Aus on May 24, 2006 09:51 AM AEST

Hi Fi,
Your story of reaching the summit is astounding and shows your strength, determination and focus. Well done Fi.
Fingers and toes are crossed for Paul for a successful and safe trip, as he has now left to attept the summit again.
xx Sammie and Nick
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Posted by: Brad on May 24, 2006 10:26 AM AEST

Congratulations Fiona, what a fantastic achievement! You are one of the most determined women I know and all of the training and cycling has paid off. What an exhausting 24 hours it must have been. Can't wait to hear your account of it in person when you get back.
Brad, Tracy, Madi & Paige.
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Posted by: Jen Stone - Melbourne on May 24, 2006 11:28 AM AEST

You are both absolutely amazing. I hope you know how much pleasure you've given the working punters around the world. Your reports ertainly make a day at the office a lot more exciting. Thank you for sharing!

Congratulations to you both on your determination and ability to make good decisions in difficult circumstances! Best wishes for your decent and return home.

Jen
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Posted by: Rose, Sydney on May 24, 2006 11:51 AM AEST

Fiona, Thanks for a truely amazing account, written so well and fluently in such difficult circumstances. Your achievement is amazing, I really can't imagine how you kept putting one foot in front of the other when it was soooo hard.
Don't worry too much about the photos, the images will be with you forever and really photos can never capture the living experience.
Please descend cafefully and make sure you get plenty of rest, fluids and any food you can stomach. Where will you stop on the way down?
Thanks Mary for all your updates and coping with such a stressful time.
Look forward to seeing you in Melbourne sometime to hear it all first hand.
Rose and family
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Posted by: Leanne Edwards on May 24, 2006 11:57 AM AEST

Hi Fi

Congratulations on your climb. Just reading your descriptions of the climb is so exhausting and at the same time exhilarating- what you have achieved is so incredible- and one for the chicks! Well done and congrats again from (sunny!) Melbourne.

XXXleanne


Posted by: Kirsty Bortolin on May 24, 2006 02:10 PM AEST

CONGRATULATIONS!! Fi, what an account, and fantastic efforts from you both, look forward to hearing more, All the best for a safe return journey. Cheers, Kirsty
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Posted by: Tony & James Frederick on May 24, 2006 02:42 PM AEST

Congratulations Fiona standing on top of the world seems to suit you.
Paul Mathew Kitchen now has a buddy to go again with, but just turn around and have another go mate.
You are a great inspiration to every one was Eddie McGuire there when you got to camp 4.
I am looking forward to the book, and Fiona who will play you in the film, I think Russ Crowe is a cert for Paul.
Love you both come home soon and safe.
Tony & James
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Posted by: sandy young on May 24, 2006 02:45 PM AEST

Congratulations Fiona! Fantastic effort. been following your climb at school and am blown away by this feat of skill and endurance. Not something I could have imagined you ever doing. How very impressive.
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Posted by: Pat Beeson on May 24, 2006 07:51 PM AEST

A fantastic effort- congratulations to you both. I well remember climbing Kilimanjaro and that great feeling of achievment has remained throughout my life. You can't beat standing on the roof of the world. Good luck on the way down.
Cheers
Pat Beeson
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Posted by: Theo Axarlis & Wendy Gaddie on May 24, 2006 08:46 PM AEST

Congratulations Fiona. A truly spectacular achievment. Paul, you too have had a truly spectacular climb. Most of us can just read about it, you guys have lived the dream!!!! Glad you are both well and hope to see you soon.

Theo and Wendy
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Posted by: Liz Sagiakos on May 24, 2006 09:37 PM AEST

Originaly I wanted to censure Mary for setting the benchmark for "parents supporting their children", so high, (in not "mountainious" terms) that us mere mortals (parents) can never measure up to, but after reading Fiona's account of her and Paul's achievements I am in tears of admiration for what you both, as our young people can achieve when you set your goals, and work to achieve them. Paul your decision is so courageous. I admire you. I have just spoken to John and he is flying the flag, as seen on TV tonight. Thanks Mary for an inspiring example.
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Posted by: Robyn and Peter on May 24, 2006 11:15 PM AEST

Congratulations to both of you. What an amazing journey and an even more amazing description of your last leg of the journey Fiona. We wish you both a safe journey back.

x0x0
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Posted by: Kirk Benson on May 25, 2006 01:23 AM AEST

Great story and reporting. Congratulations!

I had a couple of questions as I was reading your account:

1) Did the two sherpas also use oxygen?

2) you obviously had state-of-the art gear. Were the sherpas equally equipped?

3) After so much training, were you surprised at how difficult it was at the end? And also, are the sherpas that much fitter, or just better adapted from heredity?

And I want to add my congratulations to Paul for not getting "summit fever" and perhaps risking his life unnecessarily. Hoping he makes it on the second try.
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Posted by: June kirk & Mick Gardner on May 25, 2006 02:06 AM AEST

Congratulations to you both what an adventure and how proud we all are of the both of you. You might just remember us Tims mum and friend at the awards night.Thats right the dancers.
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Posted by: Sean on May 25, 2006 12:01 PM AEST

I would love to hear more about the summit itself. (It's amazing how few people who have been there share any details!) You say 10 people could stand up there simultaneously? Is the summit flat? Or does it tilt to one side? How many square meters would you say the summit is.

And let me add my congratulations on your amazing achievement.


Posted by: Nicole and Daniel McAuliffe on May 25, 2006 07:18 PM AEST

Hi Fiona and Paul,

Congratulations you absolutely inspirational champions.

Paul what a great effort in what must have seemed disappointing at the time but a smart potential life saving moment.

Fiona how exciting to be one of the few Aussie women to make it to the summit. You must be wrapt.

Wishing you a safe return. From you Netball buddies Nicole and Daniel XX
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Posted by: Mahesh on May 29, 2006 01:12 PM AEST

Hi fiona, this is Mahesh here. i go to Clayton South primary school (Australia). our IT teacher is Carolyn (she knows Mary ). howcome your laptop or computer doesn't freeze at camp??????. well conragts on your climb
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