Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Update from Kathmandu

Well so much has happened since my first blog that I haven't had time until now to write an update. At the moment I am staying at my friends Hotel in Kathmandu and having a rest day... Finally! It is such a beautiul place the Courtyard Hotel and is situated hidden away right in the heart of Thamel. The greatest thing about the hotel is definately the hosts Michelle and Pujan. They make such an effort to welcome everyone and make sure they have a great time while they are here. I really feel like I am at home and very relaxed. Michelle put me such a beautiful room with the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in so I am feeling very well rested.

So in my last blog I mentioned that I had no sponsorship to date. Well since then alot has changed and I have been overwhelmed with the amount of support I have received. Firstly Mike Garben from Villawood Indoor Climbing Gym sponsored me a free membership. This was very unexpected and appreciated as it is my favourite indoor gym to train at with fantastic lead climbing facilities. This meant plenty more trips to the gym and it was great to keep climbing even when the weather in the Blue Mountains was raining.

I sent quite a few gear sponsorship proposals out and Sea to Summit (Tim Macartney-Snape) decided to support me by giving me some gear and selling me the rest of the things I wanted from them at a pro-deal rate. This really helped me alot as I needed to update alot of my
equipment for this trip. Through Sea to Summit I got some fantastic Smartwool thermals and socks and Vasque approach shoes given to me. I ordered alot of Black Diamond gear at pro deal and also Acteryx. I bought all my Backcountry Kitchen high altitude food off them too.

David Edwards from Mont also offered to sponsor me some gear and ended up giving me their top of the line Main Range sleeping bag, an Icicle down jacket, a pair of Julbo glasses and two giant sized duffle bags. This was fantastic and I cant wait to try out the bag on the mountain.

The North Face offered me pro deal on the last of my clothing and pack needs which was very helpful so I managed to get the rest of the items I needed for a great price. During all this I was told that it was possible to apply for a financial grant through The Australian Geographic Society so I rang Kylie Piper about it. She said I should apply for the The Nancy-Bird Walton Grant which is specific to women adventurers. I really didn't think I would be awarded this however I found out a few days before International Womens Day that I had actually got it! It was so exciting and the grant was for $5000 so I was very happy to put that money towards the trip as it definately helps. I went down to the office in Sydney to do a photo shoot, get interviewed for Outdoor magazine and pick up my Australian Geographic paraphenalia which included a flag to take to the summit.

When the Society press released that I was awarded the grant lots of newspapers published the story. Andrew MacMahon from Northcote Pottery happened to read the article in the Melbourne Herald and he and his family became interested in my trip. They wanted to support me with financial sponsorship and to provide me with an ipad and iphone which I am about to get sim cards for so I can update this site at base camp. As I only just researched how all this works a short time before I was to leave I was a bit under prepared and realised I would need something to charge this stuff. Luckily I saw an advertisement in Outdoor magazine for a solar charging system called Goal Zero. Adrian Kelly from Goal Zero was kind enough to sponsor me the equipment I needed to charge this new stuff and it arrived just in time for me to pack it! I am really looking forward to setting this up and seeing how it all works. Meanwhile Nikon supported me with two cameras an L22 and a L110 both of which have AA batteries as I have found this works best at high altitude. The L110 supports HD footage which is fantastic that I can shoot some video on the mountain. Goal Zero also included a recharger for the AA batteries so my cameras also can be powered by the solar system.

I am so very grateful for all this support and I never expected to get anything which makes me even more appreciative of it. I am certainly less stressed now about my budget and being able to tip my Sherpas well at the end of the trip. I am very happy that I pretty much have the best gear possible for my expedition so now its just up to me to get on with the job! Hopefully years of training, guiding and climbing will culminate in a successful trip....Not to mention the weather gods need to smile on me! Anyhow I am not thinking about the summit so much right now just the steps along the way and trying to really enjoy my journey and the people I meet. For me the summit is number three on my list of priorities which goes Safe, Social then Summit. Obviously I want to be safe and return home, priority number one. Social is next and that means meeting people, hanging out with the sherpas, learning more about their culture and also that people are more important than the summit. If I come across someone that needs help I will do my best to help them before focusing on my summit attempt. You hear horror stories of people walking past sick climbers on their way to the summit and not stopping to help them. I think that is horrible and crazy that someone would do that. I understand in some circumstances it may be hard to help but people can certainly get summit fever and ignore what is going on around them when they could potentially help save someones life.

So just hanging out in Michelle and Pujans gorgeous library and deciding where to head for dinner. Hard choice in Thamel as there are so many fine establishments here! Tomorrow I will get back to organising things to fly in on the 2nd to Lukla. Need to set up my communications, finish buying my high altitude food and then pack all the gear going to Base camp seperately as that will head in on yaks as Dawa Sherpa and I head off to climb Lobuche first. Babu told me that my cook Pasang is working on a Manaslu expedition which is sad. However I am sure I will have a great cook I just wanted to catch up with him and hear how his family is going. I have heard rave reviews about my climbing sherpa Dawa and can't wait to meet him.

So I guess my next update will probably be once I fly into the hills. Until then thanks for all the support and comments.


  1. Good to read all this and see why you have been frantically busy before the trip. I like your three S's and the priority you have them in!

  2. I'm a Japanese journalist about mountaineering.
    I met Frederique in Japan and she told me about your blog.
    I have some questions for my article about Mr. Yutaka OZAKI.
    May I have your e-mail address?
    Thank you.

    Sumiko KASHIWA