Rob and James arrived safely in Kathmandu, after their flight was delayed for five hours. Sadly Gulf Air had not managed to get their bags on the same flight, and a worried day was spent until they were finally traced and delivered after a holiday in Bahrain. Currently they are appreciating Kathmandu once again, meeting the expedition group, and preparing for the drive into Tibet.
After a few weeks of intense campaigning, training and preparation, Rob and James have finally flown to Kathmandu with Adventure Peaks for their attempt to become the youngest Britons to climb Everest. The opportunity for them to even get their chance on the mountain has taken four years, and we look forward to their news from Nepal and base camp in Tibet as they take the next month to acclimatise and prepare. Full information on their itinerary and route can be found on this website.
Rob and James have signed up with Adventure Peaks to climb from the North side of the mountain, with their Base Camp on the Rongbuk Glacier, and they are flying out to Nepal on the 2nd April. They have given further radio interviews and local newspaper features, and spent their days on the phones and visiting local businesses to raise the deficit left by a sponsor pulling out. They have also released a presentation on the Everest project including a video from their Ama Dablam expedition, which will be be available on the site, soon. We all remain optimistic for their departure on schedule in a week’s time.
Rob and James gave a press release that was picked up by the BBC (Visit the Article) and other media channels. They have associated the trip with Cancer Research, a charity which holds a great personal significance for both of them, and they hope to raise as much money and awareness as they can for them (click on the link above). They have spent a few weeks giving interviews in newspapers and on the radio, and searching for companies to provide the necessary sponsorship, totalling £45,000. This is now a full time job for both of them, in addition to the increasing training schedule, and with a lot of avenues of research they are beginning to work through a few crucial leads: it is a stressful element of this sort of mountaineering that requires a great deal of personal resilience. They are still looking for sponsorship in any capacity, so if you are interested or have any ideas please contact them through this website. They cannot look this sort of failure in the face at this stage.
Rob and James are pleased to be climbing with Adventure Peaks. They have organised five Everest expeditions and summitted with Jake Meyer last year. More information is available on their website, where expedition news will also be posted.
Rob and James will in addition be personally in contact with their support team in England as often as possible using their own solar-powered satellite equipment, such that frequent news will appear on this website and on the email lists.
They will be climbing the North Ridge route, famously pioneered by Mallory and Irvine, and which was finally climbed in 1960. It is now an increasingly popular expedition route, and this year it seems to be more popular with British expeditions. The track up the Rongbuk glacier enables expeditions to drive to the first base camp, such that expedition costs are generally cheaper, and more time is usually spent acclimatising on the North side. This route also avoids the dangerous Khumbu Icefall on the South side.
|Sun 2nd||Depart Heathrow 10am|
|Time in Kathmandu for meeting the expedition group and other preparations|
|Wed 5th||Leave Kathmandu for Tibet (crossing in vehicles over the Friendship Bridge)|
|Overnight in Zangmu, Tibet|
|Thu 6th||Drive to Nylam|
|Fri 7th||Acclimatisation day|
|Sat 8th||Drive to Tingri|
|Sun 9th||Acclimatisation day|
|Mon 10th||Arrive Base Camp (BC), Rongbuk Glacier||Base Camp is at about 5300m on a gravel plain below the Rongbuk Glacier|
|Acclimatisation for five days|
|Sun 16th||Move to intermediate camp||Intermediate Camp is at about 6100m, located at the base of Changste. To reach it Rob and James will climb through the medial moraine and ice towers of the East Rongbuk Glacier|
|Mon 17th||Move to Advance Base Camp (ABC)||ABC is at about 6500m, on the the rocky and broken lateral moraine of the East Rongbuk Glacier, from where the North Col is visible|
|Acclimatisation for two days|
|Wed 19th||James’ 19th birthday!|
|Thu 20th||Climb to North Col||The North Col at about 7000m is a saddle at the bottom end of the North ridge (one of the three main ridges that comes off Everest) is two to three hours further from ABC, using an ascender on fixed ropes and with crampons.|
|Reserve days for North Col climb for three days|
|Mon 24th||Rest day at ABC|
|Tue 25th||Overnight at North Col|
|Wed 26th||Overnight at North Col|
|Thu 27th||Overnight at 7500m|
|Fri 28th||Return to ABC|
|Sat 29th||Return to BC|
|Rest period for seven days|
|Sun 7th||Return to ABC|
|Two days of resting and final preparations|
|Wed 10th||Move to North Col. Rob’s 19th birthday!|
|Thu 11th||Camp 1 (7500m)||The route from the North Col to Camp 1 on is on moderately steep snow and ice, often battered by severe cross-winds, and emarging onto more rocky ground in the latter stages|
|Fri 12th||Camp 2 (7800m)||Camp 2 is no one site, but extends for a few hundred metres up the North ridge. It is very windy, and with views all the way to ABC. Rob and James will start to use oxygen here.|
|Sat 13th||Camp 3 (8200m)||Camp 3 is reached via small gullies on the North ridge, more sheltered from the wind. It consists of a few small sites for high altitude tents dug from the shale debris.|
|Sixteen day window for summit days||From Camp 3 Rob and James must find a route through the gullies and cliffs of the Yellow Band, before regaining the North-East Ridge and encountering the First step|
|The First step at about 8500m is a horizontal and exposed traverse over a collection of ledges and steep slabs to avoid a snow crest that bars the route|
|Completion of this traverse will land Rob and James at the base of the Second step, a rocky vertical slab at about 8530m, now climbed using a 5m high vertical ladder left by the Chinese in 1975. On top of the second step the exposure is enormous, with the entire North Face falling 3000m away below.|
|The Third Step at 8650m is about 35m of blocky rock on the boulder-strewn plateau above the Second Step, and can either be traversed in a similar way or climbed by a series of chimneys|
|The Summit Pyramid in the last 200m of vertical height involves a 50 degree snow slope, bypassing the crowning rock tower by three rock steps before arriving on the shallower summit ridge. On the hugely exposed summit ridge there are 3000m drops either side, and Rob and James will stay on the north side to avoid the cornices overhanging the Kangshung (East) face.|
|Wed 31st||Two days clearing the mountain|
|Fri 2nd||Clear ABC|
|Sat 3rd||Return to BC|
|Sun 4th||Clear BC|
|Mon 5th||Drive to Nylam|
|Tue 6th||Drive to Kathmandu|
|Wed 7th||Rob and James fly home, arriving Heathrow 6:30pm|
Rob and James have returned safely from Nepal after a few days to explore and discover Kathmandu. They have returned to their training schedule and their work to earn money for subsequent training expeditions, and they are devoting much of their free time to searching out funding opportunities, including giving presentations about the Ama Dablam expedition (see full report and photos on this website). They are planning a winter of climbing in the Alps and Scotland, and will spend Christmas working very hard writing to lots of Santas in the hope that Mount Everest fits into their stocking.
Fresh news from Ama Dablam base camp that Rob and James successfully summitted Ama Dablam (6856m) earlier than expected and are now on their way down to Namche Bazaar and ultimately the celebrations in Kathmandu. This is a sure sign of their independent capability at a relatively young age in the climbing world, and is perhaps the most important step on the hard road to becoming the youngest Britons to summit Everest next year. This achievement on a technical and exposed peak should establish them as serious and not opportunistic climbers and should help generate more fruitful interest in their Himalayan experience and abilities. Congratulations! A more detailed report of the expedition and of future training to follow shortly.