4 of 7
Mt. Kilimanjaro - 19,340 ft. (5,895m)

January 27 - February 16, 2013

Where Lucille has been for the past 24 hours.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Day 19 - April 30 - Happy Birthday Lucille.


Namaste everybody. It's Lucille calling from Camp 1.

It is April 30th., and it's my birthday. I had actually a really good day, a little bit challenging at times, the weather has been a little bit challenging. So, a bit of snow, a little bit of wind, a little bit of cold, and Domhnall's breaking trail, so it made time for a slow way, probably all the way to Camp 1.

We got up here, we decided we were going to squat in somebody elses tent, so we are in the Iranian tent, yeah, it was completely buried, so it took quite awhile to dig it out but we managed to dig it out between Domhnall and Hussein. So we are here, nice and comfortable, just getting ready to have some supper. So our appetisers were Pringles, we had some pepperoni sticks, we had some chocolate, we had some fuzzy peaches, quite an assortment of appetisers, and then Domhnall is making up some delicious ???? ???.

The plan for tommorrow, well, it's all weather dependant, so we'll just kind of play it by ear, and just follow the spot.

Alright, everybody take care, love to you all, bye.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Day 18, April 29


Namaste everyone.

It is April 29th, and we've had a rest day down at base camp. We call it a rest day because we were resting, not that we needed a rest.

So, all the teams are down at base camp, nobody is up on the mountain. The biggest reason for that is the forecast was for some heavy winds and lots of snow. Well we didn't get the wind, but we did get alot of snow. So now that we are down at base camp. What we need is, and what we are hoping for, is somebody to go up before us and break trail. That may or may not happen. So our plan is to leave sometime tomorrow morning, we don't know how early, it depends on how much snow we get tonight, and then head up to Camp 1, set up camp there.

Our original plan was to go straight to Camp 2, but with all this snow it's going to be really difficult to get up to Camp 2. So unless we get three or four teams of, like ten to fifteen people so we can all share in breaking the trail it's going to be really difficult. So we're going to head up to Camp 1 tomorrow, and then we'll just kind of play it by ear, see how things go, see how much snow there is, and how far up we can push. We're hoping to stay up until we can get up to Camp 3, hopefully spend the night and maybe go a little bit higher, so that we can come down.

The forecast for the whole week is for snow, but next week it looks like it is going to be really good, so we're hoping to acclimatise when it's not as good, meaning alot of snow, and then kind of get up as high as we can, and then come back down, have a bit of a rest, and then when the weather is a little bit nicer, hopefully we can make it all the way up to the summit.

That's the plan for now, keep an eye on the spot, I am sending some messages, but sometimes they don't always get through. Anyways, love to you all, and thanks so much for all the text messages and everything.

Take care everybody, bye.

Note from Ted. When Lucille wakes up next it will be her birthday, at least in the Nepal timezone.

April 29 - Check-in/OK message

Go Spot Go
GPS location Date/Time:04/29/2012 18:11:12 NPT

Message:All OK

Click the link below to see where I am located.

If the above link does not work, try this link:

Still at Base Camp.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

April 28 - Check-in/OK message

The check in message is the only news today.  From the elevation on the map, they have returned to Base Camp.

Go Spot Go
GPS location Date/Time:04/28/2012 14:30:42 NPT

Message:All OK

Click the link below to see where I am located.

If the above link does not work, try this link:

Friday, April 27, 2012

Day 16 - April 27


Namaste everyone. I'm calling from a very snowy Camp 1, and it's April 27th. I think except for a couple of hours of the past three days it's been snowing all the rest of the climb.

Today (?? they fixed the rope to Camp 2 ??), and then continued on another 300 meters further, so that's awesome. I did a nice little walk all the way up to Camp 2. That was nice, certainly a different view up there.

Everything's good, we're both feeling good. We just had some Morroccan stew for supper, some food that I have de-hydrated, so it feels a little bit like home..... (Call Cut's off here)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day 15 - April 26

Lucille called home this morning to wish me a happy birthday.  I am told that after you turn 50 you start counting backwards, so it's really good to be 49 again.  It should be a good year because I have a year of experiance and I don't need to worry about turning 50 again.

Lucille says she had a rest day while the Sherpas from the other expeditions and Domhnall managed to extend the fixed line nearly to Camp 2.  She says they plan to reach camp 2 tomorrow and return to Camp 1.

That's it for now.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day 14 - April 25


Namaste everybody, this is Lucille calling from Fort 1. It's April 25th, and we've had a really good day. It's snowing again, but at least coming up here it was overcast for part of it, so it wasn't quite as hot. There were quite a few Sherpas that were doing a load carry while we did our move and I was stopped several times, and they were asking me "Where are you from?", and I would say "Canada", and they would say "Oh, we know your friend, He's very strong". So they're talking about Domhnall, and yes, we all know he is very strong, so that's really good.

So we are up here in Domhnall's brand new tent, nice cheap - cheap tent he says. It's comfortable, it's snug, it's cozy, we had some sleep a little while ago and we're going to have some supper, probably something that I de-hydrated a little awhile ago.

So, all is good. I'm going to take a rest day here at Camp 1 tomorrow, and the plan is that Domhnall is going to head up with the Sherpas and try to extend the fixed rope. So that's it for us. Everybody take care over in Canada.

Alright, Love you all. Bye.

April 25 - Check-in/OK message

Go Spot Go
GPS location Date/Time:04/25/2012 13:37:25 NPT
Message:All OK
Click the link below to see where I am located.
If the above link does not work, try this link:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Day 13 - April 24


Namaste everbody, this is Lucille calling from base camp. It's April 24th., and, ya, some very sad news today, I just found out about Tshering. it's, ah, I just don't know what to say. Not only did he summit with me but he kept me safe through the icefall many times and so it's very sad to hear that he fell into a cevasse into the icefall. It sounds like they were able to recover his body from what I understand. I don't have a lot of details but I'm sure they will be coming. So I send out my condolences to his family and to Tim and the whole Peak Freaks team. The ice fall is certainly a very dangerous place to be and the Sherpas are there fairly often doing the load carries....

Onto us, we had a pretty good day here on Manaslu, so another typical day, very very hot starting at about ten..nine o'clock, very cold until then, and then it started snowing at about 2:00 in the afternoon and it was really cold, blowing and windy all night, it kind of kept us up. Domhnall did a second load carry to Camp 1, and I finally made it to camp 1, so that's actually really good. Then I was calculating the days, today is really only day 11 from the day that we left Khatmandu. Looking at a lot of people's blogs they are only just making it to base camp after ten days after leaving Khatmandu. So, not only have we made it here, but we - Domhnall has made it safe to Camp 1 several times, so thats actually really good. We are on schedule.

There was a lot of snow up above Camp 1 on the way to Camp 2, we are trying to fix ropes there, but that's going to take a little bit more time and work. Domhnall may actually pitch in tomorrow, not tomorrow, the day after. Tomorrow our plan is to move our camp to Camp 1 and go and spend the night there, and then while I have a rest day, then Domhnall will go and help the Sherpas fix the line.

So that's the plan, we will probably be on the mountain and away from Base Camp for probably the about next six days. We will bring the Sat phone with us so..we enjoy reading all the text messages that we're getting and Lorraine we even got your test one, so that's good, and so keep in touch.

Take care everybody. Bye

Monday, April 23, 2012

Some sad news from Everest

Today we learned that 30 year old Namgyal Tshering Sherpa lost his life on Saturday, April 21 after falling forty meters into a crevasse from a ladder crossing just below Camp 1 on the Everest South route.  Unfortunately, he was not clipped into the safety line that may have helped to arrest his fall.

In 2010, Tshering was Lucille's personal Sherpa who summitted Mt. Everest with her, Domhnall, and Domhnall's personal sherpa Pemba.  This is very sad news for them to hear today.

Our thoughts are now with Tshering's young family now left without his support.

Day 12 - April 23

Lucille phoned me this morning, but did not leave a voicemail for the blog. As you can see from the Spot track, Lucille proceeded towards Camp 1 at 5,700 meters today, but turned back at about 5,450 meters. Domhnall continued to Camp 1 with their load. Lucille says she was still a little weakened by her gastro bug, and hopes to make it all the way to Camp 1 on the next trip. On the picture above, the dashed line to the circle is my speculation as to the location of Camp 1 based on elevation and topo features. It appears to flatten out right there, so it would be a good place to set up tents. She sounded pretty good over the phone so she is gathering her strength and should do better now as they go along. Ted

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Day 11, April 22

Namaste everybody, this is Lucille calling from Base Camp. It's April 22nd. and it's almost 7:00 at night, we're just getting ready to have some supper.

So today was our second rest day at base camp. So by rest day I mean we are getting all our gear organized, and then Domhnall went for a little stroll, he went about two-thirds of the way to camp one without a pack. I don't know how far I went, I headed out for about a two hour stroll. So that was really nice, it's feeling good, I'm probably not having to run to the toilet every half hour and the nausea is finally settling down so I think the antibiotics have finally kicked in, so that's really good, I'm feeling so much better.

It started off being quite warm this morning, and then it got overcast, and then it's been snowing for the about the past four hours or so. I don't know what tomorrow's gonna bring, it's not snowing a whole lot, it's just kind of continuous coming down.

The plan originally was to do a load carry to camp 1, but we'll see what the forecast holds and how we're feeling tomorrow morning, and that sort of thing. Most people will take three rest days at base camp before even doing even thinking of a load carry to camp 1. If we can do a load carry then that's great, if not then we will just take one more day.

So I'm just going to head off and have some supper now that I can stand to eat and feeling really good, and everyone take care out there. Alright. bye.

April 22 - Check-in/OK message

Go Spot Go
GPS location Date/Time:04/22/2012 13:36:55 NPT
Message:All OK
Click the link below to see where I am located.
If the above link does not work, try this link:

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Day 10 - April 21

Note from Transcriber: I give up....I just cannot understand Domhnall over the sat phone. Below are the words I managed to pick out, not much I'm afraid. Let's have a contest. Can you fill in the gaps?

Hello everyone it's Domhnall and Lucille from base camp,...4,800 meters....woke up ....which is really nice .... moraine...4,800 meters in base camp.

Base camp is set up really nicely, its got a good dining tent, and a couple of cooking tents.....frying pans.

We had good weather this morning.....afternoon....afternoon and the evening....face tomorrow. We might go for a walk if it clears up the weather might be clearing up, we'll see.....between us ......... .....1:00....5,700...but we might not, depending on what weather comes along...we'll do fine....pretty much... ...base camp......everybody else.

This is Domhnall and Lucille signing off.

Here is Jennifer's interpretation.

Hey everyone it's Domhnall and Lucille from base camp 21st ?april? 4800 metres. today's the first day we woke up (without??? in 5 days) OR (chipper?..) in 5 days which is really nice...? serac? moraine... 4800 metres in base camp.

Base camp is set up really nicely, it's got a good dining tent they've put up a couple of ?sleeping/cooking? tents which is great. ?all set up? and unpacked. and we had good weather this morning and the afternoon... we've had probably about 10 cm of ??graupel? over the course of the afternoon and the evening. we"ll have to see what that brings tomorrow. we might go for a walk if it clears up, the weather might be clearing up ...?graupel?... gets pretty breezy/crazy.... camp 1 at 5700 but we might not depending on what brings tomorrow

and yup, we'll do fine and that's pretty much it from camp 1, oh not camp 1, base camp. hope all is good with everybody else and this is domhnall and lucille signing off.

And finally, here is Domhnall's Sister Brighid's interpretation.

Hey everyone it's Domnhall and Lucille from basecamp, 23 April at 4800 m. Today's our first day here?,,.,we woke up, today we got chips? and fried ? which was really nice

It's nice and peaceful and quiet here, we're up on the moraine at 4800 m at basecamp

Basecamp's set up really nicely, it's got a good dining tent, it's got a kind of like a couple of ?? tents which is great. ,,, ??check out the frying pans??(!)

and we had good weather this morning, but snowing this afternoon, we've had probably about 10 cm of clean? snow and grapple? over the course of the afternoon & the evening... we'll have to see about things tomorrow, we might go for a walk if it clears up, the weather might be clearing up...we'll see what......we may wander up to 5700m, but we might not, depending on what the wind's? doing tomorrow.

Other than that we're all doing fine. and that's pretty much it from camp 1, or not camp 1 sorry!....hope all's good with everyone else, this is Domhnall and Lucille signing off

Friday, April 20, 2012

April 20 - Cont.

Transcriber's Disclaimer: I have a bit of a hard time understanding Domhnall when I am in the same room with him, so a tired Domhnall over a Sat Phone may lose a bit in the translation. You are welcome to listen to see how well you think I did...

Domhnall here, hope you're well, this is Dom and Lucille from Base Camp. It's approximately 4,400 meters I think...mumble mumble.......We're both doing fine, a little bit of a headache that once we are rehydrated will be fine.

We are planning a rest day tomorrow, drink lots of fluid....mumble mumble, more mumble mumble....is all good and well. Our bags turned up earlier than we thought. We would have taken a rest day today and after our bags turned up we quickly moved some stuff around and packed our bags and headed off at about 1:00 and came back up here 5:30 - 6:00 in the evening.

Trying to camp get all set up and we've been spoiled up in base camp with some crew, which is excellent. Its been all great so far.

This is Domhnall and Lucille signing off and catch you later....bye.

Day 9 - April 20 - Base Camp

Lucille called this morning to let me know that their gear arrived at about 11:00, so after a quick lunch, they headed up to base camp.  Her Gastro bug is getting much better.

Not much else, I think she was going to leave more details in a voice mail, but it got cut off right after "Namaste everyone".  If she retries I will post it later.

I do know she wanted to wish her sister Lorraine a Happy Birthday, and the same from me.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Day 8 - April 19


Namaste Everyone,

I'm calling from Samagaon, which is...it's April 19th, and we got to Samagaon fairly early today. We were hoping to reach here yesterday, but I have a bit of a gastro bug so we got a little bit slowed down.

The trek in here has been beautiful, we've hardly seen any westerners. A lot of the houses and towns and stuff are all pretty small, but a very lush valley and a very narrow valley, that is why the Spot hasn't really been working for the last few days.

But here we are kind of at the base of Manaslu so as I am standing here talking to you guys I can see Manaslu, the sun is just starting to set at six oclock tonight - six thirty, and it's just looking spectacular.

So our gear has not arrived yet, we're hoping that it should arrive tomorrow, which means the day after tomorrow we'll be heading up to base camp, we're just going to have to chill here for another day, but it is quite a pretty place to be chilling.

Everything is good, so that's it for today, I will talk to you guys soon. Bye

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Day 7 - April 18

No news today, the spot was either not turned on, the batteries died and need replacing, or the valley was too steep to get a signal out. We can only assume that they made it to their intended destination of Samagaon. The continued plan was to then proceed up the last 1,300 m to base camp where they will rest a bit.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April 17, Cont.

Lucille called on the Sat phone, and told me they stayed in a villiage called Ghap (2380m) last night. It looks like it is pretty close to where I guessed.

She did say that they are probably going to arrive at Samagaon (3525m) after the next leg. That is where they had originally planned a rest day in their itinerary, but they may just proceed to base camp and rest there instead.

She said the valley they are travelling in is very lush, and they saw some monkeys. Still feeling good but are now more aware of the elevation, which is still not too bad. Samagaon is about the same elevation as Lukla, which marks the beginning of the Everest trek, so elevation at this point is not problematic for them to deal with. I thought she had said Araghat was the same as Lukla, but I was mistaken, she actually meant Samagaon.

I found an interactive map of the Manaslu Trekking Circuit at the following link.

Click Here

All is well

Day 6 - April 17

The Spot only managed to get two track points out on the most recent march, but then they are following along the bottom of a deep valley, so that is not surprising. The track does show they are getting closer and progressing nicely. My guess is that they continued beyond the last track point to a villiage called Namrung, at about 2400m. They are getting up there now, and Manaslu itself must be in their sights.

This view comes from Google Earth. You can see how close they are getting, but they still need to gain some elevation before they are at base camp at 4800m. There may be a rest day before then. Stay tuned.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Day 5 - April 16

Lucille called from the Sat Phone this morning. She is trying to conserve battery power in the Sat phone so isn't yet calling in voice messages for the blog, but once they arrive at base camp she can set up her charging system better.

They continued about 8 hours on their trek from Kharlabesi and ended up a little beyond their planned stop at Jagat in a viliage called Philim. They figure it will be three more days for them to reach base camp, and they have decided to delay their planned rest day at Samagaan, and instead go straight to base camp and rest there. The other expeditions that are ahead of them have been delayed getting in to base camp due to snow, and should get there tomorrow, so Lucille and Dom will only be about two days behind the other expeditions.

As for acclimatization, they are only now at about the same elevation now as Lukla, which is the beginning of the trek in to Everest, so they are not yet feeling the effects of the elevation, so they would prefer to keep moving. By the time they get to base camp at 4,800 meters, they will be ready for a two or three day rest before hitting the mountain.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Day 4 - April 15

In Lucille's notes, she has a few legs of the journey laid out. After leaving Araghat, the notes say 6 hour to Lupubesi, 8 hours to Khalabesi.

It appears that they were on the go for about 11 hours, which should have them beyond Lupubesi, but they didn't quite make it to Kharlabesi. The Google map does not identify the villiage they stopped at by name, but if you zoom in you can see the buildings.

I have not received any messages yet via the sat phone.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Day 3 - April 14

Today we will leave Kathmandu early and get driven to the town of Arughat - elevation 950m. The drive should take us about 5-6 hours and depending on how we feel when we arrive, we will start hiking towards base camp. All the blogs that I have read say that the trek to base camp will take 10 days. The first few days are relatively flat and we hope to take as few days as possible to base camp. We have a bit of a later start than the other expeditions as we didn't want to take too much time off work, so that means some longer days on the trek in.

The next stopping town is going to be Khanchok which should take us about 5 hours. If we have enough energy and daylight we will hopefully make it this far.
The terrain that we are trekking through will be very different from the Khumbu area getting to Everest base camp. There we were trekking through mountains, and within a few days we were above the tree line. This time we are trekking through terraced farm land until the last few days before base camp.

Friday, April 13, 2012


We were lucky last night. We arrived just after a rain storm that washed away the smell of rotting garbage....we weren't sure that we were actually here!!!
Kathmandu is a city of contrasts. Walking down the streets we hear the music of chanting and the smell of incense wafting as we walk down the crowded streets listening fir the horns of the approaching traffic. Then we walk into fire and ice a pizzeria that sells ice cream for desert and we have the familiar smells of home and hear Bat out of Hell blaring from the speakers.
This picture is the entrance to our hotel and inside there is a pillar that has flower pedals surrounding the base.
We have repacked our bags and weighed them. We are at our limit which is great. Just a few more Pringles chips to buy and we are done. The plan for tonight is a late supper at the Rum Doodle restaurant.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


We actually feel really good after 36 hours of traveling.....good enough to go for some refreshments. Today is their New Years so horns are blaring and lights are on, everyone is walking about enjoying some family time.
The plan for tomorrow is to make any last minute purchases and repack to be ready to leave the following day.

April 12 Hong Kong

Happy 26th Anniversary Ted!!!

We are currently sitting in the airport after a fabulous Dim Sum meal waiting for our flight.
Here are a few pictures of what we saw today.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hong Kong

We arrived in Hong Kong at 0600 feeling a bit tired, but feeling up to going into Hong Kong and doing some exploring. After taking out some money at the ATM and grabbing a quick bite at the airport we headed out to the Tai O Stilt houses. This is on one of the outlying islands called Lantau Island, not far from the giant Budda that we visited the last time we were here.
This area is home to the Tanka people - a community of fishermen who have built their homes on stilts above the tidal flats for generations because they do not feel safe on land.
After touring the area and taking lots of photos we headed off to the Soho area - a large marketplace and had some dim sum before heading back to the airport and the last leg of trip - a 5 hour trip to Kathmandu where we will be met at the airport and driven to our hotel where we can finally stretch out on a bed.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

At the airport

We made it on with our 5 bags of luggage and only had to pay $225!!! We were expecting about $400 but Jen smiled nicely and had all the information along with her elite pass so we are golden. Now we just need to find something to do until 0300 in Vancouver.

The second photo is from Domhnall's fortune cookie from his lunch today.

Almost ready to leave

Just a few hours before we leave, and we are actually all ready. The bags are packed and loaded into the vehicles awaiting the drive to the airport.
This is a first for me. Usually I still have several things to do with only minutes to departure which is so stressful for everyone. This time thanks to Jen and Ted for all their help and patience I actually have some time so sit down and do some blogging.
Above is a picture of some of the gear that we will be taking.
All together we have 5 bags of gear and food totaling 270 lbs, and this includes the tents that we will be using on the mountain plus about 20 days of mountain food. I have two sleeping bags, one for base camp and one for on the mountain so that I don't have to move it around. Two pairs of boots. The pair that fits will be for the lower mountain, and the larger warmer pair will be for the upper mountain. The crampons in the middle beside the SPOT are new and ultra lightweight. I am so excited about these. As for the SPOT well I have several pairs of hand warmers. Not sure how they will work at altitude as they need some oxygen to work but I plan to tape one or two on the back to cover the batteries in the hopes of keeping them a bit warmer. I'm crossing my fingers that this will work.
Thanks to everyone for their warm wishes before we depart, and for the brunch at work....the multitude of phone calls and hugs from everyone.....THANKS!!!! Leaving is never easy but knowing that I know so many wonderful people who are so supportive does make it a bit easier.
We are flying to Vancouver tonight, arriving at 2210 then departing at 0300H landing in Hong Kong at 0600 with a 10 hour layover. Just enough time to go visiting, maybe indulging in some dim sum before heading to Kathmandu where our next adventure awaits.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Amazing teachers and students - Trochu Valley School

Today's blog is a story about what is going on in a small town classroom. Follow along and prepare to be inspired.
Since summitting Everest two years ago I have had the privilege of speaking to hundreds of school aged children about reaching for their goals and making their own dreams a reality. The teachers that I have met along the way are all fabulous, and doing such a great job teaching and guiding our future. Not having any children of my own I have found this glimpse into the educational system a surprise. What these teachers are doing with their own imagination and experience; using their limited resources in creative ways is inpirational. All the teachers that have extended me an invitation to speak to their students are exceptional and it renews my faith that the students of today are soon to be tomorrow's leaders that are going to make positive changes in the world.

This is the story of Mrs. Schmidt and her grade three class at the Trochu Valley School. I look forward to hearing about your own journey's and what the 'summit' feels like for you.

Dear Lucille,
I have spoken to my students about your upcoming climb Lucille and how we will be modelling your efforts with the 'same' efforts in our Language Arts program for the upcoming Government tests of story writing. Let me explain.....in Grade 3, I'm not sure if you know but the students are required to write 2 LA tests and 1 Math. The LA consists of a Story in mid-May and then the other two skills tests follow in June. The story writing is a big hurdle for 8 year olds, so I always try to make it as interesting, challenging, fun and educational as I can....to get them to really "bite into" the learning process of writing a great story.
I have created a board that we will be plotting our own progress on that will match yours....for example...I have photo's of the children that I will put in an airplane....stage 1 of story writing...getting interested! They will then have to get to base camp....which will be the mastering of writing an entertaining beginning. Camp 1 will be writing a successful setting and on and on thru all the parts of the story writing process. I have photo's of them that they will be able to 'move' up the mountain as they get closer to summiting. I shared with them that you will be
attempting to summit without a sherpa or oxygen.....I will be their sherpa that they can use if they need me (and so there will be pictures of me to take with them along with their figure as they move) and the same for oxygen....a little extra help will mean they 'grab' an oxygen bottle for a section.....If all this makes sense! :)
We are hoping that we will be able to follow your progress...even though I think we will 'summit'
before you do. Along the way we also learn more about India which is in our Social studies program and so many interesting facets of life and information about different things that pop up along the way....(like last time they learned about BC as that's where Ted was going!)

Greetings Lucille...we wanted to get this to you before you leave and we know that you are BUSY! :)
So here are some photo's we have taken that show our Manaslu Story Climbing Centre. When we have "oops's" with our story writing, Mrs. Schmidt will take us off the Mountain and we will have to go to a "centre" beside it and stay there till our story or portion is fixed. (so you'll see little bits of sticky tack there that I can stick their little pictures to. We have created our own personal Sherpas and oxygen bottles and taken pictures of ourselves and they are all laminated and we are ready to "get onto the mountain. We took pictures of ourselves in "climbing" stances and as well in "victory" stances for when we summit! The mountain is going to be a busy place very very soon! At this point we are "trekking to base camp! We are all believing in you and ourselves and know that if it's possible...You will do it! And we are going to too!

Patty and the Grade 3's!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The plan

This climb is similar in some ways to previous climbs that I have done, and in other ways it will be very different. We will be flying into Kathmandu, leaving Edmonton on April 10th and arriving on April 12th in the evening. After we get a good night's sleep, we should be ready to go first thing on April 13th, doing any organizing and last minute trips to the store to pick up anything we may have forgotten.
We have hired a company to get us and our gear to the base camp of Manaslu which will take anywhere from 6-10 days. This company will provide us with porters to carry our gear, and also will be providing one cook boy to cook for us while we are at base camp and then looking after our gear at base camp while we are on the mountain. We will be carrying all our gear up ourselves, establishing our own camps and cooking our own food while up there, similar to the way we did Denali last spring. The climbing however will be similar to the way we climbed Everest two years ago. We will be spending the minimum amount of time on the mountain, going up and down to acclimatize and returning all the way down to base camp between trips to rest and prevent our bodies from deteriorating too much.
The challenge will be to stay strong and healthy, and try to work with the mountain and the weather to allow a summit. The word is that last winter was very dry, but that there were also fierce windstorms that caused a lot of destruction - lifting roofs and uprooting trees. We will wait and see what the season, the weather and the mountain have in store for us.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

More food

I was asked about what we will be eating while we are on the expedition, so I thought that I would share with you what a typical day of trekking, base camp and on the mountain food is like.

When we are in Kathmandu we will be eating well. There are so many different restaurants there...even a pizza place called Fire and Ice that I am sure we will visit at least once. The other highlight is our free meal at the Rum Doodle restaurant, and I just can't wait....just to be there again and look at our Yeti footprint that is hanging there.

Once we start trekking we will likely be staying in tea houses. There is always one big room where everyone gathers and they are all set up the same way. Deep benches along the walls that are covered in blankets, and in front of the benches are tables. The tables are not like here where you can put your legs under the top, but rather they have sides so that it is difficult to sit and eat with your food on the table, plus the tables are quite low so I usually just bring the food onto my lap and eat from there.

A typical breakfast is oatmeal or tsampa a form of cooked breakfast, sometimes pancakes are available and eggs if you like. The eggs are usually hard boiled, and are served by themselves....no bacon and eggs with potatoes and toast here, it is just eggs! Lunches are usually noodle soup or fried rice or potatoes if we stop to eat. The sherpas usually only eat two meals a day - breakfast and supper only so sometimes we eat a granola bar that we carried with us and keep on going. Supper on the trail is always great, because we are done for the day and can now rest and relax, and if we feel like splurging we may have a bit of water to wash our hands and face. The meal always starts off with soup to help with the rehydration, and my favourite is garlic soup. Main course offerings are fried rice with egg or cheese or veggies like carrots or boiled potatoes with cheese or veggies. The best however is dal bhat. Lentil soup poured overtop of steamed rice, and frequently a bit of veggies like carrots and cabbage. This is the best, and everyone makes it just a bit differently. For desert almost every tea house serves apple pie and I have never seen so many different ways to serve apple pie!!! Yummy after a long day!

I am thinking that at base camp the food will be similar to to when we are trekking. We will have a choice just like when we are trekking, but usually rice or potatoes that can be served in a multitude of ways.

For on the mountain things will be a bit different. We have chosen food that doesn't require cooking, but rather just some rehydrating. For example breakfast is oatmeal. Domhnall has the packaged kind while I have made my own mix. A bit of oatmeal with some cream of wheat, chia seeds, hemp hearts, slivered almonds and cranberries with a dash of cinnamon and bit of powdered milk and brown sugar. For an extra special treat I added a few white chocolate chips to a few bags! Yummy!!!

Lunches will be on the go, meaning we will not stop to boil water, so that means a granola bar or sharing a chocolate bar. This is all that we usually have so that we don't have to stop.

For supper we have quite a selection. It will always start with soup to which we can add any of the following: dried veggies like corn, peas or green beans, sundried tomatoes, dehydrated roasted peppers, onion or garlic flakes or even some dehydrated parmesan cheese. If we are making this our meal we also have some tuna or salmon that we may add. As a main course we could choose from a selection of purchased dehydrated meal, or a couple of my own such as lemony lentil bisque with dehydrated feta cheese or a curried Indian stew with sweet potatoes, peppers and chicken. All the meals have to be rehydrated by just adding boiling water as we will not be carrying up any extra fuel to cook with, so that means no pasta or anything else that needs cooking.

For an extra special treat we may have a desert. I have some pudding mixes that we only add cold water and powdered milk and shake in our covered cups until it thickens. To this I may add some reconstituted berries and then topped off with some dehydrated angel food cake for a bit of crunch.

If all of this sounds a bit decadent....well it is! Eating on the mountain is so important to keep our strength up. Due to the lack of oxygen we often feel a bit nauseated and not very hungry because our bodies do require oxygen to digest our food. For this reason I try to bring foods that I enjoy in the hopes that I will eat a bit more. When I really don't want to eat, my last resort food choices are Pringle's chips and a few bites of beef jerky!

This is what we will be enjoying while we are gone. Please send in your ideas for anything else....I still have a couple of days before we leave to dehydrate!!!!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Food preparations

Here are a few pictures of what I have been doing today, the before and after pictures of dehydrating frozen veggies. These will be added to the soup mixes to make them more hearty. I also dehydrated some parmesan cheese for flavour.

This is some of the rest of the food that we will also be bringing.

Snacks on the top and the soups on the bottom. I think that of all the food that we are bringing that the snacks are the most important. The plan for the food is while we are on the mountain we will have oatmeal for breakfast, snacks for lunch on the days we are moving, then soup and possibly a dehydrated meal for supper.

After a good breakfast, usually all I need to keep going for a whole day is one chocolate bar, so we are bringing lots of chocolate and a few other sweets to keep up our glycogen stores while we are on the move. We never stop for a proper lunch, but rather take small bites while we continue moving until we reach where we want to go. Once we stop and get settled, then we brew up for a proper supper.

In addition to what is in the pictures, we will also be buying some dehydrated meals. Not sure how many to buy as I find that I am usually nauseated up on the mountain, and that all I can usaully tolerate is soup and a few pringles chips. These we will buy in Kathmandu along with some noodle soup. We plan on bringing 20 days of mountain food with us just in case we are weathered on the mountain, but in reality we hope to be using a lot less than this.

Now that the food seems to be under control, I will continue on with packing the clothing and gear necessary. In the next few days I should be able to figure out how many bags I will bringing with me, and how much extra we will be paying the airlines to transport all of this to Kathmandu. I can hardly wait!!!!