Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Charity Donations

Fifty nine kind people/associations made donations to the charities I was supporting and with tax claw back a total of £5,110 was raised and each charity benefited from £1,000+ being given to each of them.

The charities:-

· CLIC Sargent. Is the UK’s leading children’s cancer charity providing the widest range of care and services for children and young people with cancer – and their families.

· Claire House Children’s Hospice, Bebington, Wirral. Caring for children 0-23 years with life threatening or life limiting conditions and their families from Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales and the Isle of Man.

· The Water Adventure Centre, Droylsden, Manchester. Founded in 1977 it is a charity combining youth work with canoeing, whilst encouraging children and young people to take responsibility for themselves, others and the environment.

· Mountain Rescue- England and Wales. It is totally run by 100% volunteers. You never know when you might need rescue when walking.

· One of the many kind people who supported my Charities was Ellen Cameron-Flowers and along with her husband Alan they very kindly donated £200 (£100 each) and Ellen did want these monies to go to Scottish Mountain Rescue – Assynt Mountain Rescue Team

· A further £110 went to Scottish Mountain Rescue – Glencoe Rescue Team

They were all appreciative and have thanked me for the funds they received.

24th July 2008.

Well Wishers’ Comments

I got lots of letters, cards and e-mails with good wishes before and after the trek and I regret I am unable to record all of these. Here is the card my sister sent me:- “Your dream has now been fulfilled, I know you would do it.

So well done! xxx Jessica & Tam 5th April 2008”.

The following comes from a dear and long standing friend in Penicuik, Scotland and I know she will not mind me sharing her good wishes: –

“Dear Fraser, Thanks for your letter with details of your imminent trip – what an adventure!! It certainly will be challenging and memorable, and I look forward to keeping track of your progress. I’m enclosing a donation and I hope you are generously supported.

I know you will scale the heights physically and emotionally. Take care, enjoy and treasure every moment – even the uncomfortable ones!!

Lots of love. Doreen xx 9th March 2008”.
Krishna Thapa Magar

While staying in Kathmandu after the trek I met Krishna when I did buy him some essential food for the monastery he was staying at that time. He did also ask me if I would consider supporting him at school as his parents who stay in the Everest Region (Deurali Ward No 07) with a younger sister, Nirmala and a younger brother, Arjun, could not afford to pay for him to go to school. We did swap e-mail addresses and I said I would consider his request which of course I did and made contact with Siddhartha Academy and I was fortunate to have communication with Himal Tamang who is a teacher at the Academy and handles all the financial activities there.

I made a decision to support Krishna with his schooling due to his enthusiasm and zest to learn and to try to do the best to secure him employment at the end of the two year course. All I asked was that he did try his very best and this he is doing and doing it well. “He is active, polite and honest boy and a good student.”

Krishna’s course is on Hotel Management, Accountancy, Nepali, English and Economics. He wants to be involved with Nepal’s large tourist industry and sees himself being a hotel manager. He is interested in the internet, computers, geography and collecting coins and stamps.

It was a small thank you from me to Nepal and its lovely people for such a great and treasured time in their very special country. I wish Krishna every success in all that he does.
5th June 2008.

Monday, 17 November 2008

The Ultimate Everest Trek - Log

Summits of Kala Pattar 5,600m/18,368ft
Cho La Pass 5,420m/17,778ft
Gokyo Ri 5,360m/17,581ft
Everest Base Camp 5,310m/17,700ft
March 2008.

Saturday/Sunday 15th & 16th March
Flights from Manchester through Abu Dhabi to Kathmandu arriving 6pm local time. We had a meal as a Group at The Shanker Hotel at 8pm where we were staying.

Monday 17th March (Kathmandu 1,400m/4,600ft.)
After breakfast it was a bus tour of parts of the City and then a walk to the Road House restaurant for an enjoyable lunch. Shopping was then on the agenda and a briefing meeting on the trek at 5pm was held at the hotel. At the hotel I exchanged £250 into Nepalese rupees (‘rps’) in small denominations and I had £200 in US$. It was then dinner at Rum Doodle Bar & Restaurant where we all had a nice time.

Day 1 Tuesday 18th March At Lukla 2,800m./ 9,200ft already there is only 70% of oxygen compared to sea level. It is a short trek to the first night’s stay at Phakding -2,610m / 8,561ft.- 5.3miles/8.5kms. (3hrs)

It is an alarm call at 4am with breakfast at 5am and then a bus journey of half an hour to get to Kathmandu Airport for 7am. It is a clear morning with no wind so we take off at 7am after a hectic time getting through the airport. The flight was fantastic as you rose over the snow covered high mountains with very little turbulence. Your heart was in your mouth. At 7.35am we had landed on the small airstrip at Lukla. The scenery was just magic with big snow covered mountains in the background and the support team, of Sherpa guides led by Sidar Kumaar Tamang, (Kumaar reached the South Col 26,000ft. on Mt. Everest) porters, kitchen staff and yaks were all to hand to organise the kit bags, tents, food and other equipment needed. At 9.30am we all left Lukla (some 30+ people and 7 yaks) and our first stop was for lunch at 11am and we were on our way again by 12noon. The route leads north through the crepuscular gorge of the Dudh Kosi, an icy, boulder-choked river that churned with glacial ‘runoff’. We arrived at the campsite at 1pm and had a briefing at 3pm when the heavens opened and it was very wet with low cloud but this did clear up. Some of the Group went for a walk to a monastery near the camp site while others stayed at the site. Our evening meal was at 6.30pm and at the back of eight people began to go to bed. The air took on a wintry sting as night fell – my first night in a tent for many a year. I took a decision not to have alcohol for the duration of the trek and this I did achieve. Alcohol was available all along the route.


Phakding is a small hamlet with homes and lodges crowded onto a shelf of level ground on a slope above the river. You cross a long swinging metal bridge to get there. Mt. Nupla 5,885m/19,307ft rose in the distance to the back of the camp site.

Day 2 Wednesday 19th March It is a harder route up to the Sherpa capital of Namche Bazaar (the commercial and social hub of Sherpa society) with several crossings of the Dudh Kosi river. Namche Bazaar - 11,280ft/3,440m – 6.5miles/10.5kms. (7hrs.)

Our wake up call was at 6am with a hot drink of tea, coffee or chocolate. This was followed by a basin of hot water for washing and shaving. Breakfast was at 7am in the lodge/tea house and the trek commenced at 8am. (This procedure was followed each morning.) It was a warm morning as we left camp so sun cream was soon needed and I removed my top layer and walked in shorts.

The Everest region lies at 28% north latitude – just beyond the tropics – and as soon as the sun rose high enough to penetrate the depths of the valleys temperatures soon sore. Our lunch break was at Jorsale 2,085m/9,202ft at noon for an hour and this was very enjoyable. It is essential that you do drink a lot of water each day (a minimum of two litres) and this is a task a lot of people found difficulty with. Some form of energy flavouring might have been of benefit and this is something to consider. The trail took us past glades of juniper, dwarf birch, blue pine and rhododendrons. Snow covered mountains were now all around and we crossed some six swaying metal bridges, the last one, the Larja Dhoban, being very high with a large drop below into the gorge. Such bridges were of great concern to me but if you wanted to do the trek you needed to cross them, so this I did. Here the dirt path abandoned the banks of the Dudh Kosi and very steeply zigzagged up the canyon walls, ascending through aromatic stands of pine. First views of Mt. Everest can be seen as you climb but while Mt Nuptse and Mt Lhotse could be seen Mt Everest was covered in cloud behind the long Nuptse ridge. The spectacularly fluted ice pinnacles of Thamserku 6,608m/21,679ft and Kusum Kangru 6,367m/20,888ft pierced the sky more than 2 vertical miles above as you looked to the right. Two days into the trek and I realised this was a magnificent country and I could not take my eyes away from the touring monthans everywhere you looked. It was very hot as we made our way into Namche Bazaar where our tents were being erected on a steep slope beside the lodge we were to use to eat our meals. I had my one and only shower at 240rps before dinner at 6.30pm. Thank god for ‘wet wipes’ which I used for the rest of the trek. Shower facilities as we know them do not exist and the temperatures are so cold you risk frost bite! We were all in bed by 9pm. Here we did need ear plugs as dogs barked all thought the night and one BIG one did parade round our tents- it must have been his/her ‘territory’ we had invaded without necessary permission.


Namche Bazaar is perched halfway up a precipitous mountain side with views directly across the large and deep valley to the monstrous mountain called Mt. Kwangde 6,187m/20,298ft.

Day 3 Thursday 20th March We visited the Sherpa Villages of Khunde 3,840m/12,600ft and Khumjung 3,780m/12,400ft. 5miles/8kms. approx. (7hrs.)

It was a lovely hot morning as we climbed out of Namche Bazaar looking across to Mt. Kwangde. Very soon we were gaining height and for the first time we were able to see Mt. Ama Dablam 6,856m/22,493ft and other white giants in the distance. A fascinating mountain and we were to see it from so many places as we made progress on the trek. Khunde lies at the foot of Mt. Kumbila 5,761m/18.900ft.

As we approached Khunde and then Khumjung (and other hamlets along the trail) you could see that every area of arable land was terraced and being planted with crops and vegetables. Strings of prayer flags can be seen all around. Ancient Buddhist Chortens or Stupas made of rock and often containing sacred relics are seen as are many prayer wheels. In passing these, protocol demands you must always pass to the left. You also pass on the left side of mani walls. Mani stones are small flat rocks that have been meticulously carved with Sanskirt symbols and these are often placed together to form long, low mani walls; in the middle or to the sides of paths.

We saw the Khunde Hospital and the Hillary School that Sir Edmund Hillary built for the Sherpa people. We ate our packed lunch in the Everest View Hotel which was very luxurious with views in the distance of Mt. Everest but again cloud prevented us from seeing the mountain. This very enjoyable acclimatisation day started at 8am and finished at 3pm. On our return we visited the town to post cards, visit internet cafés and have a look around the shops.

Geraldine Westrupp, our leader, had pointed out that going to higher levels and then descending at nightfall is an important discipline to adopt in your acclimatisation program. The human body adjusts in many ways to this new and strange environment and a very important inter-action is the changing ph of your blood, to radically boosting the number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells. You should not ascend more than 300m/1,000ft each day and you should take a day’s rest i.e. sleep two nights, every 1,000m/3,000ft.


Day 4 Friday 21st March We are bound for Kyangjuma at 3,620m/ 11,874ft. 2miles/3.25kms. approx. (3.5hrs.)

The dog chorus was very loud all through the night so it was up early for the loo. Little or no sleep. Today kit bags and rucksacks needed to be packed before breakfast. It was a steep climb at 8am up to the Sherpa museum.

After seeing round the museum we were on a very pleasant path and at 10.15am we did see our first clear views of Mt Everest away in the distance. At 11.30am we arrived at our next camp site and here the lodge was very nice. The afternoon was free and I went for a short walk before coming back for tea at 4pm. I was looking across to Thamserku Central 6,608m and West 6,348m and Kang Tega West 6,685m and East 6,779m all fascinating white covered mountains.

Along the trail Sherpas and Sherpanies strained beneath back breaking loads of supplies bound for Everest Base Camp, aluminium ladders used to cross the crevasses (gaping cracks of varying sizes and depths in the glacier), wood to build houses and lodges and supplies of food etc. for hamlets further up the trail. This traffic of humans and yaks goes both ways and make sure you do stand on the inside of the path letting the yak pass on the edge of the path nearest to the exposed edge. These animals are well balanced but the slightest nudge from them could send you down the mountain side. Yaks (male) and Naks (female) carry the majority of these supplies. The majority of these animals are dzopkyo/dzom, which are male/female crossbreeds of yaks and cattle.

It was the birthday party of one of the trek members so a lovely cake had been made by our chef Krishna and ‘Happy Birthday to you’ was sang by all.

It had been a lovely hot day but cloud came down at 6pm and it became very cold and for the first time I did bring out my Rab duck down jacket. As we were looking up to the star lit sky we did see a UFO over by Mt. Ama Dablam 6,856m in the distance. Bed at 9pm to a very cold and frozen tent.

Day 5 Saturday 22nd March It is the crossing the Mon La 3,900m /12,792ft to enter the Gokyo Valley which is the main drainage for the glaciers of Mt. Cho Oyo 8,201m/26,900ft. We are to camp at Dole - 4,050m /13,284ft. 3.75miles/6kms. approx. (7 hrs.)


We did see round the ‘Prayer Room’ of the lodge before leaving at the back of 8am and then it was a steep incline and we did stop for a break at Mong at 10am. Lunch was at 11.30am at a lovely spot by the Dudh Kosi river. We left at 12.30pm and it was another steep climb through trees before arriving at our destination at 3pm. It was cold and snowing when we did arrive. It was another very cold night at -20%c.

In this location we were again surrounded by splendid mountains namely: Tawoche Peak, 6,542m Cholatse, 6,501m Arakamste, 6,440m Khumbui Yul Lha, 5,761m Phuletate, 5,597m Teninbo, 5,839m and Kyajo Ri at 6,186m.

Geraldine proved to be a very knowledgeable and approachable leader and readily imparting her vast trekking knowledge when asked to do so. Her acclimatisation knowledge was so beneficial at this time and for the days that lay ahead. The group was always led by a Sherpa guide, there would be one in the middle and one taking up the rear of the walk and with this person always carrying the first aid bag. The overall group did very soon fall into two categories namely:
• The front group who walked much faster.
• The rear group who walked at a slower pace.

Kenny (Kodak) filtered between both groups but was often seen on his own well of the path to confront ‘yeti’ and any other wild creatures who might bring danger.

Geraldine was keen that people did walk at a comfortable pace and she took the time to alternate between both groups encouraging all to drink plenty of water.

Day 6 Sunday 23rd March – Easter Sunday The trail climbs steadily up the valley to Machermo at 4,465m/14,645ft. 3miles/5kms. approx. (7 hrs.)

At 6am or sometimes earlier it was time to commence the dreaded ritual of emerging from the warmth of my liner and sleeping bag, wash, and shave with great difficulty and then dress. During the night my breath exhalations had condensed on the inside of the tent fabric to form a fragile interior lining of light fluffy frost and on moving about to dress, this instigated a ‘blizzard’ that was both cold and wet and to say the least, unpleasant. Oh for a higher tent or a smaller body!


It was another steep morning climb but this levelled out and we did stop for an enjoyable coke at a Café at Liga Ahaka and then a further incline and at the top the views all around were absolutely fantastic. At 12.30pm we arrived at Machermo where we were to stay for the next two nights. A hot drink of orange awaited us and then it was an enjoyable lunch. Lunch normally lasted an hour and had three courses. Soup, meat and sweet which was usually fruit. There was always hot water and hot milk with every meal to make a drink of tea, coffee or chocolate.

I unpacked and organised my tent and had a lie down in the warm sunshine for half an hour before tea at 4pm. Inside the tent it was essential to keep everything covered and at night you kept the likes of your camera, batteries (kept in insulating wrap) in your sleeping bag for warmth. My walking boots and approach shoes I kept in my boot bag. Everything within my kit bag was retained in individual waterproof tying bags for during the day time as well as at night time, as the kit bag itself, just like your rucksack is not waterproof.

A hot stove in the middle of the lodge kept us warm as we were having dinner. After dinner each night we did have a review of what happened during the day and what we were to expect on the trek the following day. Everyone was invited to contribute to this welcomed daily discussion.

On vacating the lodge each night you were given your two, one litre water bottles, filled with boiling hot water which you kept in your sleeping bag and by the morning these were cold and became your drinking water for the next day. Leave these uncovered in the tent and they would be completely frozen in the morning.

Day 7 Monday 24th March Acclimatisation day in Machermo. 3.75miles/ 6kms. approx (3hrs.)

It was a later wake up call at 7am and after another cold night the tents were covered in frost. Low cloud was all around so it was not until 10.10am that we left to do a ridge walk this taking us to a ‘top’ at 5,228m. From here we directly looked across to Mt. Kyajo Ri. The sun came through as the cloud did break but it was windy on the ridge. We saw eagles on two occasions flying just above our heads which was a lovely sight. It was a hard climb and the effects of high altitude were beginning to tell. We reached the top at 12noon and Mt Everest, Mt Makalu 27,765ft/8,463m and other mountains could be seen all around. Lots of pictures were being taken. It was about turn and we were back at camp site for lunch by 1pm.


We were now in a world that was bleak and desolate, yet mesmerising in its austere beauty. This is a land of moraines, shattered rocks, ice, rugged barren valleys, glaciers and all of this being overlooked by soaring white snowy mountains. The name ‘Himalaya’ means the ‘abode of snows’.

At 3pm Geraldine had organised a talk by a young Australian lady doctor at the local Medical Centre on Acute Mountain Sickness (“AMS”) which essentially causes fluid to accumulate in tissues of the lungs (HAPE) or around the brain (HACE) as the body is deprived of adequate oxygen. This possible sickness, which can ruin or stop your participation on a trek, was brought to my attention by a number of people who had trekked at high altitude and in reading about the problem myself and in seeking medical advice I decided to take Diamox tablets from the second day of the trek and I stopped taking Diamox two days before the end of the trek. Here my prescription had advised me to take one tablet once a day but I took half a tablet each day at around mid-day, the almost immediate effect I found was that I had to urinate. AMS is not normally a concern below 2,800m/9,000ft.

Snow fell in the evening and I was in bed by 8.30pm to another very cold night and little sleep. (-15%c.)

After sunset, around 7pm the temperatures dropped well below freezing and Sherpa guides, porters and kitchen staff flooded into lodges to escape the coldness and warm themselves around the yak dung fuelled stoves, usually placed in the centre of the main lodge room. Lighting in many of the lodges was solar powered and dull thus your head torch here for reading or writing was essential and it was indispensable in your tent. Very early in the trek I did learn to get every thing ready for sleeping and for the next day in day light and to keep all items in the same place in your kit bag and in your rucksack. It was so enjoyable when you were able to stay two nights at one place, meaning you had not to pack your kit bag one morning.

At night sleep becomes elusive, a common symptom of minor altitude sickness. Other symptoms are breathlessness, dry cough, headaches often severe, fatigue, loss of appetite, anorexia, insomnia and nausea.

Day 8 Tuesday 25th March We are bound for Gokyo at 4,791m/15,715ft which is beneath Mt Cho Oyu, 8,201m/26,906ft. the world’s 6th highest mountain. 4.5miles/7kms. approx. (5.30hrs.)

There was a fresh fall of snow when I rose at 5.30am and we were all packed, fed and watered by 8.10am and away. We passed a herd of wild yaks with their young calves on the way. We stopped at a café for a welcomed coke. I was in my shorts and it felt the hottest day so far.


We stopped for a break at the first lake of the Gokyo lakes, Longpongo Pokhan and enjoyed the very special ambiance of the place and again took many photographs. Here we saw Mt. Phari Lapche, 6075m Dragkya, 5,657m Henjola, 5,925m and Gokya Ri at 5,483m. The scenery was just staggering as we approached our camp site at 1.30pm. After lunch I went for a lie in my tent and then re packed to have enough kit for two days as yaks were unable to go over Cho La Pass at 5,420m/17,778ft. One kit bag shared between two people went with the yaks and the other kit bag (essential items for next two days) was carried by the porters over the pass.

I met a 65 year old lady from Vancouver called Chris who was walking to Everest Base Camp as her husband was climbing Mirror Peak 6,160m. We saw two eagles up high above our camp. At the back of 2pm clouds did begin to form. It was another cold night with showers of snow.

Another essential item to have in your tent was a pee bottle which should have a wide top and at least hold a pint. This prevented you having to go to the toilet in the middle of the night. For ladies there is what is called a ‘slipper urinal’.

Day 9 Wednesday 26th March A BIG day ahead with the ascent of Gokyo Ri at 5,360m/17,581ft and then a decent before crossing the Ngozumba Glacier to Dragnag at 4,700m/15,416ft. 5.25miles/8.5kms. approx. (8 hrs.)

Today was one of the highlights of the trek with the ascent of Gokyo Ri at 5,360m our highest point so far. We left camp at 7am after an early breakfast. It was a very steep climb and we arrived at the top at 10.45am. The panorama was just outstanding and the views of Mt Everest the closest we had so far seen. It was also a lovely day with excellent visibility. We had a snack on the top and left at 11.30am and getting down for lunch at 12.30pm.

It was at 2pm we left to pass the lakes once again and then cross the Ngozumba Glazier to Dragnag where we were to stay the night. This was hard going as in parts the path was very difficult to follow as you went up and down over many mounds of shattered rock, ice clumps and moraines. We finished at 4.30pm. It was to bed at 8pm as a long and difficult day lay ahead.


Within the tent it is essential to have a thermarest. This is blown up or self inflating and goes under your sleeping bag. Your sleeping bag and inside liner needs to be of the right quality to keep you warm during the night. Frostbite in the fingers and toes was always something I thought about. The first phase of this is numbness with the skin turning blue and it would be essential that your were able to re-warm your fingers/toes. If painful, it means you will have had the beginnings of frostbite. Frostbite is irreversible and your fingers and toes may ultimately have to be amputated.
Day10 Thursday 27th March A BIG day crossing the Cho La pass at 5,420m/17,778ft and the decent from the pass, often snow covered, involves the crossing of a small glacier and descending further to the yak grazing area of Dzongla 4,830m/15,842ft. 3.5miles/5.5kms. approx. (9.5hrs.)

Ice axes were given out after breakfast and we left at 8am following a stream up a steep slope and we were soon crossing areas of snow. We reached our first summit at noon and for the first time we were able to see the pass in the distance – everyone was horrified at such a vertical ascent. On reaching the bottom of the pass we had a short break to have some food as we had a packed lunch. On the trek it is essential that you do eat food at the allocated times to give you strength for the constant walking each day.

On our approach to the bottom of the pass we had heard a rock fall and as you cast your eyes to the sides of the pass, rocks could be seen every where, appearing ready to fall, but hopefully not as we passed under. It had to be onwards and upwards and this was indeed steep with loose rocks on the path and to its sides, so everyone had to be very careful.

At 2.30pm we had reached the top of the pass where a high wind did hit us and it was very cold. We could see the glazier ahead which we crossed safely but with great care. It was then a decent down a rocky steep slope to level ground below at 4.30pm. At 5pm we were treated to a lovely bowl of soup by the kitchen staff which gave us strength to finish the day’s trek at 5.30pm at Dzongla. Flurries of snow were falling and low cloud was well formed as we arrived. Bed at 8.30pm and another cold night. People had various degrees of headaches, diarrhea and nausea as the trip progressed and here the secret was to control these with Geraldine again being of great assistance. I found taking one paracetamol tablet each morning was so beneficial.


Day 11 Friday 28th March It is another long day and we join the main Everest Base Camp trail at Lobuche village (4,910m/16,105ft before reaching Gorak Shep at 5,140m/16,859ft. 4miles/6.5kms. approx. (8.5hrs.)

It was a later start at 8.30am and initially a down hill walk but then a steady climb and lunch at Lobuche in a lodge at noon. I found Lobuche a very grim place and here I visited the worst toilet I have ever seen – thank goodness I was not desperate so it was about turn for me. At 1pm we left for Gorak Shep our highest camp site. As we left flurries of snow were falling and it was not to long before we had to put on waterproof gear and also cover our rucksacks. At 5pm we did arrive at our destination and all was white all around and very, very cold. We sat by the fire in the lodge and then went to amalgamate our kit bags.

This was my worst night. I had tried to sleep and just could not. It was all a bit of a panic with me having great difficulty in breathing. Bill and Kenny also had the same problems. I kept switching from breathing through my mouth to through my nose and this was completely wrong to do as you cannot take as much air in through your nose as through your mouth.

Steve Hopkins remembers seeing a Min/Max thermometer with -33% on it.

While my intense studies of medical matters did concentrate on day activity I had given little attention as to what happens to your body during the night, a period of some nine hours when you are very much on your own in a very cold atmosphere. Your lips become very dry and cold and thus chaff. It is essential that you apply lip cream. Your fingers cut very easily and refuse to heal and without the application of savlon they can become very sore.

Day 12 Saturday 29th March We trek to Everest Base Camp, 5,310m /17,700ft. 5.25miles/8.5kms. approx. (7.15hrs.)
Here there is approximately half as much oxygen as at sea level and at the summit of Mt Everest, two vertical miles higher than Base Camp, only a third as much. Camp 1 is a vertical half mile through the very dangerous ice fall at 19,500ft. Other important heights on the mountain are:-
• Camp 2 – 21,300ft
• Camp 3 – 24,000ft
• Camp 4 – 25,700ft
• The Geneva Spur – 25,900ft
• South Col – 26,000ft
• Southeast Ridge - 27,600ft
• Top of Hillary Step – 28.900ft
• Summit – 29,028ft.


In the ‘thin air’ and sub-zero cold above 26,000ft you are in a place climbers call ‘The Death Zone’.

It was an 8.30am start for Everest Base Camp on a very cold morning but with nice clear skies. It was hard going up and down over shattered rock and jumbled moraine. The scenery all around was breath taking as you looked up to the high mountains all around. We arrived at Base Camp at 12noon where we ate our packed lunch and took photographs.

We did have a walk around but there was little activity (no Internet Café!) as the main climbing season had yet to commence. However activity was building up as supplies were being delivered, some tents were erected and ladders for the Khumbu Icefall were arriving. The Khumbu Icefall, just in front of us, is one of the most dangerous places in the world which is constantly moving and has been measured at between 3/4ft a day. You are aware of creaks, moans and water noise because the landscape here at Everest Base Camp is also on the move.

We left Everest Base Camp and we were back at our camp site at 3.45pm where hot soup was waiting for us. Oh how good. Another cold night but a much better night for me than the previous one.

Day 13 Sunday 30th March We climb to the top of Kala Pattar 5,600m /18,368ft the highest point of the trek. The words mean ‘Black Rock’. It is then a decent to Pheriche 4,350m/14,268ft.) 8.5miles/13.5kms. approx. (10 hrs.)

At 8.30am we leave camp for the ascent of Kala Pattar which is very steep all the way to the top and with the lack of oxygen this makes the going very hard indeed. It was another lovely morning with clear skies and good visibility getting us to the top at 11am. I tied a handkerchief belonging to my late Mother, to prayer flags at 11.10am. I took a number of photographs and looked directly across to Mt Everest some six miles from us. This is a place I always wanted to visit and with Mt Pumo Ri 7,145m looming up beside you it is a very special place to experience. At 11.30am we left the top and we were at the camp site for 12.30pm for soup, bread and cheese. At 1.30pm we left for our next camp site at Pheriche. At around 5pm we arrived at Thugla and we had soup awaiting us in a lodge. It was a quick snack as it was still around an hour to the camp site and we wanted to get there before it got dark. There were flurries of snow and very low cloud as we made our way along this high path. We arrived at 6.30pm just as the light was fading and had dinner at 7.30pm. I had my first good night’s sleep since I started the trek.


Day 14 Monday 31st March The trek follows the main Everest Trail via Pangboche to Tengboche where a visit to the monastery is paid. It is then a decent to the Imja Khola/Dudh Kosi rivers before a final steep climb to Kangjuma. 9miles/14.5kms. approx. (8.5hrs.)

We descended through a lovely valley on a sunny morning stopping at a number of places to admire the lovely views and to take photographs. It was a climb up to Tengboche where we arrived at 12.30pm. It was very hot as we had lunch. We visited the monastery when it opened at 1.30pm. We left at 2pm with a steep decent to the river bed and then a massive ascent up to our camp site at Kangjuma, arriving there at 4.30pm.

It had been a lovely hot day up until around 1pm when it did dull down. By the time we went for dinner at 6.30pm (we also had our second birthday celebration of the trek) flurries of snow were coming down with low cloud across the large valley in front of the lodge. During the night there was a fall of snow.

Day 15 Tuesday 1st April – April Fools Day From Kangjuma it is on to Namche Bazaar and a steep decent and final short climb to Monjo for an overnight halt. 5.25miles/8.5kms. approx. (3.5hrs.)

We left at 8.30am and arrived at Namche at 9.30am. Eagles were again seen above us. We looked around Namche before we had lunch and at 1.30pm we left. We left the National Park at 3.15pm and arrived at our camp site at 3.30pm. As we got into our tents the rain started but this only lasted for a short while. It was lovely to see many of the trees now in blossom and this had not been seen on our outward journey. It did rain during the night and on high ground this fell as snow.

Day 16 Wednesday 2nd April It is back to Lukla and the end of the trek. A big surprise awaits us – we are staying in a motel at the Airport. 7miles/11kms. approx. (5.45hrs.)

I am up at 5.30am. Running water passes through the toilet and there is a ceramic bowl the second we have seen during the trek. It was a nice morning, but dull, as we left at 8.15am. I was again able to walk in shorts and we stopped for lunch at 12.15pm. We arrived in Lukla at 3pm and it poured with rain from around 4pm.

Having adequate Insurance Cover in place is essential. On the trek we did have two helicopter rescues.


In the motel we were staying in, a party had been organised to celebrate the trek and to give gratuities to the porters (5pm), dinner was at 6pm and at 7.30pm it was presentations to the kitchen staff and Sherpa guides. It was then dancing and drinking and we all had a wonderful evening. I ended up in Dave’s and Geoff’s shared room with pints until around 1am. Our first alcohol since the start of the trek and Everest beer was ever so good. The end of the trek, memories of which will last for ever. Some 80 miles or 131kms. approx. in total and around 103hrs. of walking.

Thursday 3rd April
It was a morning call at 5am with a welcomed cup of tea. 5.30am saw us having breakfast and at 6.15am we had to walk to our flight that was due to leave at 6.45am. We were to be on the first flight out. Visibility at Kathmandu was poor so the first plane did not arrive until 8.50am and we were on it and away at 9am and with a very pleasant flight we were into Kathmandu at 9.30am and a very lovely warm morning and back at the Hotel for 10.30am.

We all had lunch at the Northfield Cafe. An evening meal was arranged for 8pm at Rum Doodle Bar & Restaurant and while some got taxis home four (two in each rickshaw) had a rickshaw race along the rough and unlit streets of Kathmandu back to the hotel. While an agreed price for this journey had been agreed and paid over, true to form the two drivers tried for even more money! At 1.30am after drinks and a recap it was time to call drinking to a halt. Members of the trek had already left for the USA and UK and others were departing the next day.

Friday 4th April
A day in Kathmandu with a lovely hot morning but with a very heavy thunder storm in the afternoon which saw me taking shelter in the Northfield Café after catching up on e-mails and my blog but missing saying goodbyes to Glyn and Dave who were bound for London that afternoon. Many apologies guys.

Charlotte, Roger and I had an evening meal at Third Eye which was very good and we did walk there and again back to the hotel.


Saturday 5th April
Up at 6.30am and away at 8am by taxi to Bhaktapur. Charlotte had got the fare down to this acceptable price (400rps for two people). It was such a dangerous drive for an hour or so but arriving in one piece and then paying 750rps each to enter the area. It was a lovely hot morning and with a guide who was paid 100rps + a tip we did enjoy a great time walking round the streets and visiting temples etc. We were back in Kathmandu at 1pm. Charlotte was going back to the UK in the early evening. It was a meal at the Road Head Café for Dave, Roger and I.

Sunday 6th April
Went to the Hotel De L’Annapurna for morning coffee. Had a G&T in Nanglo Café & Pub and a curry for lunch at Moti Mahal, all places I had read about in the Durbarmarg area of the City.

New Orleans was our venue for an evening meal and we very much enjoyed this. We went for a final drink at Sams Bar and we were back at the hotel for 11pm.

Monday 7th April
Today it was a flight leaving Kathmandu at 5.15pm back to the UK so it was goodbye to Kathmandu and Nepal after a great time.

Important Note
These notes are taken from a log I kept on the trek and other comments are very much personal ones. Spellings of places, heights of mountains and distances recorded may not be totally accurate. Any comments made on medical matters are again personal and anyone undertaking trekking activities should seek their own medical advice.

This log has been compiled to help and encourage people who wish to trek, which is such an enjoyable activity. I am very happy for you to make comments or to seek further information directly from me. Under no circumstances should material on this website be copied.

Fraser Mackay
30th June 2008

Thursday, 1 May 2008

A Review of 2011 & Festive Greetings

The year is about to end and we are all preparing for the “Festive Season” and welcoming in a New Year – 2012. I hope it has been a good year for you.

For me the year has flown and has been crammed with activity. This month sees me 10 years retired from the Bank and with the continuing difficult economic conditions across the world I decided to shut down my own Company due to lack of business and continuing costs and any consultancy work I do in future will be in my own name.

Highlights of the year have been many and here I mention some of them:-
*3 Coast2Coast (“C2C”) bike rides:
-Runcorn 2 Hull
-St Bees 2 Robin Hood’s Bay
-Fort William 2 Inverness (Great Glen).
*A C2C walk from Ullapool in the west of Scotland 2 Ardgay on the east coast some 55kms and thoroughly enjoyable and challenging in one day.
*I got to the top of 134 mountains across the UK/Madeira and a special delight was to finish all the high mountains in Sutherland on the top of lonely Ben Hee in July.
*I competed in two long distance races in Isle of Man:
-Parish Walk – 85miles
-End2End Walk – 40 miles.
*I competed in the Welsh 1000m Mountain Race, finishing once again but alas half an hour outside the nine hour time window. My fellow walking friends Geoff and Paul finished within the time with Paul winning the Male Vet 40 Section in a splendid time of 7hrs 24mins.
*I put a lot of effort into the Welsh 3000s Challenge (15 mountains over 3,000ft) and did this demanding walk over two days on two occasions. Alas on the day of the challenge four of us pulled out but Paul finished the route in an excellent time of 13hrs 25mins. So well done by him and encouragement for me to try again in 2012!

I hope you have a lovely Festive Season, health, happiness and continued success in 2012.

Very best wishes, Fraser.

21st December 2011

Monday, 7 April 2008

Last Update from Nepal

I am leaving Nepal today @5.15pm.

I would like to thank all the members of the trek Group (16 in total) that accompanied me on The Ultimate Everest Trek. A very hard trek. To Geraldine Westrupp our lovely leader - a massive thank you for all your support to the Group and to all of us also as individuals. I am at The Hotel de L'Annapurna, Durbarmarg (No 1 address in Katmandu) as I post this final note.

I am leaving Nepal with so many lovely memories and a massive sense of achievement:
* The lovely high mountain scenery that surrounded us each day. We were so lucky with the good clear weather. We did have 3 very cold nights with falls of snow where temps did fall to -20%C

*Laughs and discussions over the 16day trek - concerns of one member as to where his sunglasses were? They were where they should have been!! A Yak left the track to join Dave as he was applying sun cream - we put it down to the 'Lynx effect'.

*Is Kenny about?

*Getting to the top of Kala Pattar @ 5545m and seeing Mt. Everest so clearly some six miles away. I did hang a flag of Scotland in memory of my late mother. Helen it was so sweet of you to take a picture and I did not notice you doing this.

*The great support of Kumaar and his sherpas, cook and kitchen staff and the great porters and their yaks who carried all the tents, kit bags and other equipment.

*All the lovely Napelese people I had the pleasure of meeting.

*To Charlotte, thanks for the great day in Bhaktapur. What a magic experience depite two dangerous taxi rides chased by a 'mad bus'!!

*A massive thank you to all the people who have supported me in my charity fund raising.

* To Jayne, thanks for all your support.

Best wishes. Fraser. 7-4-08.

Update from Fraser, Friday 04.04.08

Here I am back in Kathmandu arriving at 9.30am on Thursday 3rd April and staying at The Shanker Hotel which is a very nice and an oasis in the busy and noisy City. It is a beautiful hot day. The first thing I did was have a shower which was great.

I hope to read my book with a Gin & Tonic by the pool.

The trek was much harder than I did expect but I made it all the way round and did enjoy it. I also stayed away from beer/spirits for the whole duration of the trek - a great feat.

Best wishes. Fraser.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

At last, an update from Fraser ...

I am still alive and making my way back. I am currently in Namche Bazaar from where I sent my last and only msg. I have done the whole trek and got to Everest Base Camp at 12 noon on Sat 29th March and on Sunday 30th March I climbed Kala Pattar and got to the top at 11am - my goal achieved. It was a lovely sunny and clear day and the views were outstanding. A massive panorama of massive mountains, the tallest of which was Mt. Everest.

The trek was much harder than envisaged with long hard daily walks the longest being 10 hrs. Temperatures went down to as low as -20%c and falls of snow on a number of nights. The sun comes out at around 7.30am and the day soon gets hot even at the high altitudes we are walking in.

The trek ends on Wednesday 2nd April.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Fraser's well and truly on his way ...

I received this email from Fraser early this morning:

It was a 4am start on Tuesday 18th to Lukla with the walk commencing at 8.30am and finishing at 1pm at our camp site. We did a local walk for a couple of hours and the heavens opened at 3pm. My first night in a tent for many a year. Dinner was good and it was away to bed very early. Up next day at 6am to hot chocolate, a wash and shave, breakfast at 7am with our trek commencing at 8am. It was a lovely day as we made our way up a valley crossing the river many times on metal bridges which did shake and the secret is not to look down!! We arrived in Namche Bazaar at 3pm after a day of just spectacular scenery and the first glimpse of Mt. Everest shrouded in cloud. Dinner at 6.30pm and another early night to bed at 9pm. Drinking of alcohol has stopped completely. Today it was a seven hour walk up to 13,000ft and so far coping well with altitude. Tomorrow it is another early morning start and ending up in Khunde at 12,000.

I hope he manages to send some more messages our way.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Equipment and medical supplies


{Yes dear reader, Fraser is well and truly on his way. His last text message reached me at 3.30am GMT Saturday 15/03/08 that he had arrived at Abu Dhabi. And he left me with stacks of requests to update his blog. So here's the latest addition ...

This is an area that took a lot of research to complete and between
equipment and medical requirements putting all this together is an expensive
exercise. I am making a listing as people reading the site now and in the
future might find the section useful in compiling their own listings. I
thank all the people who did give me advice. People need to seek their own medical advice.
Equipment (Weight limit for kit bag - 15kgs/33lbs)

Tent (Hired)
Sleeping Blanket - have your own and would not recommend hiring (4 or 5 season bag) and sleeping bag liner. Adds to warmth and prevents washing bag which is not good for it.
Thermarest - have your own and would not recommend hiring
Thermal underwear – marino
Boots (1 pair) Lightweight. (4 season boots for winter conditions or even plastic boots for high altitude
Approach shoes (1 pair)
Spare Lace
Walking socks ( 4 pairs) + liner socks (2 pairs)
Gaiters (1 pair)
Flight Socks (1 pair)
Foot care - will be doing more work than they're probably used to so take great care of them. If you feel a "hot spot" or a blister developing, stop immediately and cover it with a tape or gel plaster before it is too late to prevent damage.
Trekking Trousers (I pair)
Trekking Shorts (2 pairs)
Waterproof over trousers (1 pair)
Underwear (3 pairs pants + 1 thermal long johns)
Knee Supports - could be needed on a long trek
Waterproof Jacket with hood(1 pair)
Down Jacket with hood(1 pair)
Fleeces (3 pairs)
Thermal base layer shirts (2 short, 2 long)
T-shirts (2 pairs)
Casual shirts (2 pairs)
Swimming trunk
Watch (make sure it is adequate for extreme weather conditions)
The layering principles - understand this
Lightweight thermal gloves (2 pairs)
Waterproof over gloves (2 pairs)
Glove liners such as capilene
Thermal balaclava
Warm Hat
Sun Glasses - glacier glasses and don't skip out on these
Reading Glasses - if needed
Goggles for high altitude and snow spin drift
Wash bag and toiletries
Razor + blades
Deodorant – under arm + body
T. brush/paste
Sun protection cream + lip & nose protection (SPF 40 or better) (Boots have sun and after sun with insect repellent)
After sun lotion
Clothes line plus pegs
Travel wash
Antibacterial hand wash (2 tubes)
Wet wipes anti-bacterial (4 packets)
Creams needed
Toilet roles (3)
Pee Bottle/Slipper for women
First Aid Kit
Insect repellent (75-100%deet)
Malaria tablets
Diamox tablets
Blister pack
Diarrhoea tablets Ciprofloxacin 500mg tablets (One twice a day) and obtained under a private prescription
Antibiotics for really bad stomach upsets
Blister treatments
Sole Euca Menth Cough Tablets
Foot cream
Make sure you have visited your doctor for required inoculations
Other Essential Items
Ice axe (Walking)
Walking poles, snow baskets and crampons
Rucksack + liner(s) + rain cover+locable cover. Adjust strapes to fit properly on your back.
Water bottles (2 x 1lr)
Energy tablets or energy powder to mix in your water bottles
Torch and head torch
Survival Bag
Spare bulbs and batteries (keep warm at all times to prevent these going flat)
Camera + storage cards. Ensure that you have adequate storage and that you are able to charge your batteries. (Solar battery charger)
Kit bag + lock
Dry bags to store clothes in kit bag
Pen knife + scissors (these and any other item that could be construed as offensive weapons should be packed in your check-in baggage)
Duck tape
Needle and thread
Stickers to be placed on items to recognise them
Travel Clothes etc
Fleece Jacket
Walking Boots as case could be lost.
Waterproofs + warm jacket
(Rucksack as carrier on plane)
Mobile and charger + charger world plug
Ear plugs
Bag to leave clothes in hotel
Labels + distinguished marking for luggage
Reading Material
Jotting paper
Addresses for postcards
Info on Nepal + map
Maintain a diary of events on daily basis
Record what pictures were taken on a particular day (Nos. 1- 34)
Pen (2)

Air tickets
Credit/debit cards
Money and money belt (Take US$ as reserve currency)
Insurance cover documentation (travel/medical/cancellation)
Addresses for parties you wish to send postcards to
Fruit pastels
Dried fruit
Gifts for Nepal
Sweets 4 kids on route
Charity Bears
Other Items
Keep items in the same place in your kit bag and in your rucksack. This way you will find them easier
Know kit weight limits as to plane and on trek. These will vary from carrier to carrier

If possible keep up to date to keep readers informed

The above is a useful check list for treks and other holidays but you may need to add to for certain specialist treks.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Please leave your comments

This is a message from Jayne (Document Direct). I've been helping Fraser with this Blog and you have all kept me rather busy with your constant support and sponsorship. Fraser would love readers to make any comments they wish to make under the various sections.

Notice at the bottom of this post there is a word "Comment". Please click on this word and the webpage will change to a simple form for you to complete so you can leave any comments you like.

You don't even need to have a user name as there is an option to post "anonymously", but it would be nice if you left your name in the Comment Box.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Nepal at a glance

  • China to north and India to the south, east and west
  • 147,181 (occupying only 0.1% of the total landmass of the earth)
  • 23.1million population with 101 ethnic groups
  • Nepali is the national language (92 spoken languages)
  • Currency - Nepalese Rupee
  • Seasons - Winter:Dec-Feb, Spring:March-May, Summer:June-Aug, Autumn:Sept-November.
  • The elevation of the country ranges from 60m above sea level to the higest point on earth, Mt. Everest at 8,848m, all within a distance of 150km, resulting in climatic conditions from sub-tropical to artic

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Charities to be supported

I hope to raise much needed funds for the following charities:-

CLIC Sargent. Is the UK’s leading children’s cancer charity providing the widest range of care and services for children and young people with cancer – and their families.

Claire House Children’s Hospice, Bebington, Wirral. Caring for children 0-23 years with life threatening or life limiting conditions and their families from Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales and the Isle of Man.

The Water Adventure Centre, Droylsden, Manchester. Founded in 1977 it is a charity combining youth work with canoeing, whilst encouraging children and young people to take responsibility for themselves, others and the environment.

Mountain Rescue- England and Wales
. It is totally run by 100% volunteers. You never know when you might need rescue when walking.

Monday, 25 February 2008


Who will I be walking with?
Roger Brown my walking friend who has previously done four treks in Nepal and other parts of the world. We will be joining up with a larger group (total 15 people) which is being lead by KE Adventure Travel of Keswick. I am paying all the costs for my trek.

When do I leave?
On 16th March 2008 I leave for Kathmandu in Nepal. I then fly on in a twin otter plane to Lukla, landing on a narrow and sloping runway in the heart of the mountains, one of the most spectacular flights in the world, and commence the hard sixteen day long trek.

What do you see as the hardest part of the trip?
The steep climb up to Kala Pattar at 18,368ft on day 13. Sleeping (hmm?) each night in a tent with temperatures falling to 16 degrees below will also be very different!!

Do you need oxygen to get to 18,000ft?
No. However you can suffer from Altitude Illnesses. There are no specific factors such as age, sex or physical condition that correlate with susceptibility to altitude sickness. Continuing to higher altitude without proper acclimatization can lead to potential serious, even life-threatening illnesses.

What is High Altitude?
High: 8k to 12k feet
Very High: 12k to 18k feet
Extremely High: 18k+ feet.

What are the symptoms of mild Acute Mountain Sickness?
Headache, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, nausea and disturbed sleep.

Will you communicate with sponsors/friends while you are in Nepal?
Yes this is the intention. Check into this blog to receive regular updates, or better still, enter your email address in the subscribe box on the top right of this page.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Everest Trek Itinerary

Summits of Kala Pattar 5,600m and Gokyo Ri 5,360m
Everest Base Camp 5,310m.
Day 1
It is a short trek to the first night’s stay at Phakding -2,610m / 8,561ft.

Day 2
Following the Dudh Kosi Valley the river is crossed twice as height is gained and making a final steep climb to the Sherpa capital of Namche Bazaar where you stop for the night -3,440m / 11283ft. First views of Everest are seen.

Day 3
Here it is acclimatisation around Namche Bazaar for the day.

Day 4
The trek continues via the Sherpa villages of Khumjung and Khunde to Kangjuma at 3,620m / 11,874ft.

Day 5
Crossing the Mon La 3,900m /12,792ft you enter the Gokyo Valley which is the main drainage for the glaciers of Cho Oyo 8,201m /26,900ft. It is a camp at Dole 4,050m /13,284ft.

Day 6
The trail climbs steadily up the valley to Machermo at 4,465m /14,645ft.

Day 7
Acclimatisation day in Machermo. A climb to a nearby ridge will provide magnificent views of Everest and Makalu.

Day 8
Gokyo’s first and second lakes are passed and the camp will be on the shores of the third and biggest of the five holy lakes at an altitude of 4,791m / 15,715ft. This is beneath Cho Oyo, the world’s 6th highest mountain.

Day 9
An early start (first light) for the short ascent of Gokyo Ri 5,360m / 17,581ft. Here stunning views of Everest are seen; some say an even finer view than from Kala Pattar. It is then a decent before crossing the Ngozumba Glacier to Dragnag at 4,700m / 15,416ft. Depending on weather conditions etc a further one and a half hour walk will take us to a higher camp at 5,100m / 16,728ft.
A big day crossing the Cho La pass at 5,420m / 17,778ft. Approaching the pass we cross a large boulder field. The decent from the pass, often snow covered, involves the crossing of a small glacier. and descending further to the yak grazing area of Dzongla 4,830m / 15,842ft.

Day 11
The main Everest Basecamp trail is joined at Lobuche Village 4,910m / 16,105ft. From here it is an ascent the ablation valley of the Khumbu Glacier to reach Gorak Shep 5,140m /16859ft. Camp is set up here after a longish day of around 8 hours.

Day 12
At first light it is a trek to reach Everest Base Camp, 5,310m /17,700ft. Firstly on the moraine crest, then on the Khumbu Glazier itself through shattered rock and jumbled moraine. In 3 to 4 hours Basecamp is reached which is below the stupendous Khumbu Icefall. The route is then retraced back to the same camp site as day 11.

Day 13
It is an early morning ascent to Kala Pattar 5,600m /18,368ft the highest point of the trek. It is then a decent to Pheriche 4,350m / 14,268ft.

Day 14
The trek follows the main Everest Trail via Pangboche to Thyangboche where a visit to the monastery is paid. It is then a decent to the Imja Khola before a final steep climb to Kangjuma.

Day 15
From Kangjuma it is on to Namche and a steep decent and final short climb to Monjo for an overnight halt.

Day 16
It is mostly downhill following the fall of the Dudh Kosi River but there is a final short climb to Lukla and the final night in a tent.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Everest from Kala Pattar

Asturian House

Remote Emergancy Care

Henry Garcia Tours Madeira

Henry Garcia Tours Madeira
Henry at your Service

Homestay at Evans Bay New Zealand

Rachid Imerhane

Rachid Imerhane
Guide & Organizer of Treks - Mountain - Coast - Desert & Imperial Cities

Clashview Kinlochbervie

Clashview Kinlochbervie
Clashview Kinlochbervie





Bayhead Self Catering, Isle of Harris

Bayhead Self Catering, Isle of Harris