Saturday, June 24, 2006

Update from Dubai

Thought I would put a final entry on to the site for completeness, 3 weeks to the day I returned to Dubai, and 4 weeks since summitting.

News from the other guys is not good. Pommie, Ben and Andreas have all lost many toes each to frostbite, Pommie his two big toes from both feet. What with the 17 deaths on the mountain, just makes one realise how lucky us in the 2nd team were.

For myself, physically a bit weak still, surprised how much its taken out. Mentally fine though, and re-live the summit climb every single day. But it does take time to get over such an intense experience - if you ever do.

There's been a huge coverage of the expedition in the press, and sometimes have been a bit surprised by the extensive interest, but I do hold a great responsibility to my sponsors - Al Tayer Motors / Land Rover, Shell and Rolls-Royce PLC - and Im dellghted they've got so much coverage in return for putting their faith in the venture.

Finally, totally humbled by all the reaction and congrats recieved since returning to Dubai. Sincere thanks to everyone, it really is very, very much appreciated.

23 June

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Trek Out

Tues 30 May

What I hoped would be a fantastic trek out somewhat spoiled by food poisoning the past 2 days, the worse Ive had on the whole trip. Cest la Vie.

Now arrived Namche Bazaar, and we just hope that we get some good weather tomorrow for our helicopter to fly us out to Katmandu.

This is probably the last blog update I'll enter before we go home. The blog was only ever meant to be a personal diary/logbook to keep for posterity, as well as for a few close friends/family, but seems to have become more widely known about. Whatever, if its entertained....

The Ice8000 website ( has the full expedition log for anyone interested.

Thanks very much to everyone who sent texts on my satellite phone, or E-mailed their congrats, and everyone else for their kind wishes and support. Its been overwhelming.

Finally, a huge thanks also to my sponsors, Al Tayer Motors/Land Rover, Shell, and Rolls-Royce PLC. Thanks a million guys, wouldn't have been possible without you, and hope your happy with the exposure you've got - and looks like will continue to get for a few weeks!

Im totally walking on water and am still on top of the World....

Post Summit Reflections

Mon 29 May

On the trek back from Base Camp to Namche Bazar where we hope to get a heli back to Katmandu on 31st.

The last entry was compiled from my (probable) garbled voice from the summit of Everest, thus, now I can breathe again, a more concise account of summit day:

We had everything going for us - a strong team of 5, 5 strong sherpas in support, and perfect weather conditions. However, it wasnt without a few hiccups....

Rob and myself, and our Sherpas Tindu and Topgen, set off at 1045pm, about 20 mins behind the 2 Tims and 45 mins behind Mike. We caught the others up after a while, and the four of us (Mike had dropped back by this stage) and our Sherpas completed the first part of the climb - the steep climb up to the Balcony - in an excellent time of around 5 hours, arriving around 3am.

The 4 of us then set off for the 2nd phase of the climb, the ridge climb to the South Summit. Sunrise occurred in this phase in which I took some spectacular video and film, but this was also the phase when I started to drop behind - at first thinking it was just exhaustion but after a while realising my Oxygen mask was not working properly. The other 3 got further and further ahead, and eventually Henry got on the radio to warn that I was going too slowly.

Can well remember being swamped by huge feelings of doubt and worries that it was all going to end, unbelievably, in failure, which shocked the hell out of me.

Thankfully, we got the mask working 100mtrs or so below the South Summit, following which (as Henry later told me) Tindu radio'd base to say that "I was flying and he couldnt keep up with me" - the ultimate complement from a 3 times summit Sherpa! Nothing magic, just shock and something to do with making sure I wasnt going to be turned around...!

The summit experience was described in the previous log. Two thoughts came over more powerfully than any other, Firstly, a deep, deep sense of satisfaction of the "ive done it" mode, Secondly, the totally outstanding view and complete feeling that you were indeed on top of the World. Indescribable.

I can remember every minute of the hour or so we spent up there, felt (relatively) fantastic, strong and mentally fine, even though we dumped our packs and oxygen, and just breathed the natural air. Weather was perfect and I felt very very comfortable - too much in retrospect.

When we started the descent problems no 2 and 3 hit us. Firstly, Tindu's oxygen mask got stood on and damaged. Secondly, my mask failed to work properly for the second time, at least we think that was the problem. The result is we descended to the South Col without oxygen - or, in my case, whatever small amount was coming in my mask. Though it took us 6 hours, still a reasonable time, this was one of the hardest 6 hours of my life. In the thin air, fatigue and drowsiness were overwhelming and it was a tremendous fight to stop oneself falling asleep, from which it was possible you wouldnt wake up, as happened to countless on the North Side.

Henry had contingency plans in place if we did succumb, as he did for the ascent, but thankfully we finally got down to the Col around 4 pm.

The next day I clinmbed down from the Col to Base Camp, which is when we could finally relax.

Gotta be one of, if not, the hardest days of my life, as one would expect, but you cant assume any different - though, sadly, some on the North possibly did.

Not sure whether it was my mask or simply running out of gas that was the problem, as in my fogged up brain I never managed to check the latter. But we'll find out when we check the system out.

Whatever, we made it and, remarkable, are all down unscathed and damaged. A huge bonus.

Very tired and weak, but determined to enjoy the trek out.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Summit: 8,850m


Quick update...arrived on the top of Mt Everest, 9.15am Nepal time (0730am Dubai) - absolutely exhausted but totally elated as you can imagine.

Had a problem with the oxygen mask (not the oxygen system), which didn't work for 3 hours and slowed me up considerably in the middle section of the climb. Thankfully, we got it working again a 100 mtrs or so below the South Summit, and we completed the last section of the climb in good time.

Weather up here is’s cold, but there's only a little wind, and the clouds are far, far below us. The scenery is just absolutely breathtaking.

And there's just me and Tindu on here, the highest humans on the whole planet.

Will be heading back down the mountain shortly and will give a larger account of what happened later.

Its hard to leave this magical place, but must focus on the dangerous descent.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Camp 4: 7,900m

The day I have been waiting for....all the preparation and training that goes into this has come into fruition.

My mind is racing with the thoughts of the anticipated summit, as we sit here resting at camp 4. Jubilant that we got this far, but still apprehensive for the inevitable all night jaunt we have ahead.

The team is in great spirits. I want to say, it has been a great pleasure to have spent this time, with the 2 Tims, Rob and Mike and of course everyone from the first team whom summited last week: Ben, Tom, Squiz, Andries (not Adrian!), Pommy & Serena... you can really appreciate the comradeship and support, you all share on an expedition of this kind. One of the team members, Tim Calder, I have known for many years, and have served with him in the Gurkhas. It is indeed a great opportunity to work along side him again.

The 'team' of course extends to the Sherpas, which we owe much to their huge commitment and dedication to the work that they do here and, I can’t tell you, the amount of help these guys have been to us, and the whole expedition effort.

We set off this morning, clear skies, and calm weather, as expected from the previous day's forecast, to arrive camp 4, at around 3pm, to a colder and windier front. Tonight's wind speed is estimated at 12 knots, so weather does seem to be on our side.

The trek today cannot have been more different than yesterdays, lighter loads and the use of oxygen, have made things somewhat easier and almost eradicated the effects of the altitude sickness. Further, I have to say, yesterday was the worst day ever and, no doubt came through in my blogsite. Today, (probably with the aid of the Oxygen!), I'm feeling confident and raring to go, and thankfully, all the other members of the team feel the same.

It goes without saying, there are times here when you are feeling low, last night in the tent is a good example! But the other day, I spoke to my 7 year old son, Alexander. He told me how well he had done in his swimming and that he had moved up a book in reading...he said he felt quite proud of himself! I congratulated him on his achievements and then he went onto ask if I was, "on the top yet!" Such conversations, while you are here, let me tell you, are quite uplifting. The hours’ one is sitting around waiting, sickness, exhaustion and even frustration at times, can be endless.

Similarly, I just want to thank everyone for all their good wishes they have sent, and believe me, they've all been a great motivator and I do appreciate them.

Anyway, will sign off now and hope the next time I sign in is when I'm on the summit!


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Camp 3: 7,200m

Completed another tough day up to Camp 3, which is on the Ltoste face. Feeling excited, but extremely fatigued and the altitude sickness has set in again, ie severe headaches.

I have to say that I'm finding it hard to get used to the intense heat and heavy loads we've had to carry, and, as such, didnt perform as well as I hoped. Tomorrow should bring extra relief from the loads we carry, as we take lighter loads and also use oxygen for the frist time on a low flow rate.

Presently perched on a ledge, it’s 4pm and I'm looking down at the Western Cwm. You really feel you’re on top of the world here and the panoramic views are simply spectacular.

A further note about the snow conditions on the mountain - another expedition leader, just back from the summit, said its the best conditions he's seen on Everest. This can only go to boost moral within the team, provided, of course, we het the anticipated good weather the next 2 days.

Looks like I'm in for an interesting night.....which will be spent crammed in with the 2 Tim's, in a small tent, perched precariously on the mountain! No doubt kit everywhere, boiling up copious amounts of snow to drink and feeling awful to boot. I have to say I am not looking forward to this at all - at a time when I really need the sleep before the final push tomorrow.

The team will be looking to leave Camp 3 around 9 in the morning, arriving at Camp 4 around 3pm. Here we will be resting before the final assault at 9pm, climbing through the night. With luck we should reach the summit sometime Thursday morning on Thursday.

Wish me luck!


Sunday, May 21, 2006

At Camp 2: 6,400m

Tim, Mike & I completed a long trek up from BC yesterday. Despite the 3rd time having been up and down here, it doesn't get any easier!

Nothing prepares you for the heat of the Western Cwm, a glacier approx 3km long in an amphitheatre surrounded by Nuptse, Lhotse and the west face of Everest. The effect is just a magnitude of sun/UV radiation, which drains every ounce from the body. Thankfully, we have 2/3 days rest at Camp 2.

On the way upto Camp 2, we met the summiteers from the 1st team. Whilst Serena & Squiz were relatively fine, Pommy & Ben had frostbitten feet, Tom frostbitten hands, and Andreas was in a very weak state indeed also with bad frostbite. It was actually quite sobering seeing them all.

Rob will be joining us from BC tomorrow, to complete our team. Therefore, with Sherpas rested from the first team summit, we should hopefully be moving up to Camp 3 on Tuesday.

Heavy snow today. As such, some problems in communications, as unable to solar charge mobile. Hope to let you know more in the next day or so.



Friday, May 19, 2006

First Summits

Back at Base Camp. Been thru the most suspenseful and fascinating 2 days I have virtually ever experienced....

First our good friends from Jagged Globe (Kenton, Rhys, Baz, Carlos and 2 sherpas) paved the way for the rest of us with the first summits this season from the south. Breaking trail thru deep snow and fixing lines as they climbed, they only summitted at 15:15 hrs local, way past safe turnaround times, and the whole of base camp listened to their progress with great nerves and worry. Thankfully they all got down to the south col in remarkable time.

Then today, our 2nd team went for the summit. Serena Brocklebank summitted in an incredible time of 7.45 at 05:15 hrs local time, followed a few hours later by the brothers Tom and Ben Clowes and Andreas Botha, and finally a couple of hours later by Pommie and Squiz. A huge achievement for the team which inspired all of us.

We're now set to head up Saturday for a possible summit Wed/Thur, all dependent on weather. It's all getting very nervous and worrying, but we just hope for a weather window like the guys today and will give it our very best.

18 May

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Everest Update

Took a bit longer than planned for the 2nd despatch, but here goes.....

Well! We've been here 6 weeks now and the past month has basically been a case of going up and down the mountain (5 times in total) to increasingly higher elevations - for the purposes of acclimatisation and load carrying/camp set up.

That phase is now complete, and, like most teams, we've now come right down the valley to the (relative) oxygen rich environment of 4000 mtrs to rest and recuperate before heading back up to Base Camp for the summit attempts. Without sounding too philosophical, its like walking in the garden of Eden! And last night we had a stormer of an evening in the Lodge at Ochu with a load of Serbian trekkers, including a famous singer and some other musician's, who'd brought along a guitar. The inevitable followed....

Back to Everest. Sue Todd will continue updating daily events on the website. Of the 2 general sites, is much better than except that the authors have a personal vendetta against Henry Todd and Ice 8000, so dont expect to read anything of our team on it!

Finally, the personal stuff that wont go on the site. In a team of 11 (plus the two Llotse climbers) living in incredible close proximity over such a length of time, team dynamics, individual performances and individual mental attitudes are fascinating to watch. And Henry, Kami (the Sherpa Sirdar) and all the Sherpas have (as we learned two days ago) been watching us all very carefully over the past month.

Henry thus set the two team groupings two days ago based on all this. Im in the 2nd group along with Rob Cassiley (who's summitted before), my ex Gurkha Officer mate Tim Calder (who got to 300mtrs from the summit last year), Aussie Tim and one other TBC. Henry's told us this is the strongest group, but, whatever the theory, as long as we summit none of us mind if were 1, 2, 3 or 10th group!

Tim said last night that he thinks its by far the best position to be in, and that all the Sherpa's think the five of us have an excellent chance of summitting. We hope so, however, a long way to go.

Reckon first attempts will be taking place around 16/17, with us a few days later, but all subject to change.

Presntly I feel good, excited and just waiting to give it our last efforts. Already, its probably the hardest thing ever done - and thats before summit attempt!

Thanks for the comments and support by the way, very much appreciate.

All the best,


Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Hi there,

This site was the idea of, and kindly set up by, my good friend Johan Premfors - who also posted a first post that sadly had to be deleted for family viewing reasons .....

If you find your way here for some reason, we are currently in a village called Namche Bazaar en-route to Everest Base Camp, as part of the Ice8000 Mt Everest Summit Expedition 2006. Total of 11 climbers now in the party, as follows:

Mr Henry Todd, British - Expedition Leader (non-climbing)
Mr Tim Calder, British
Mr Adrian Hayes, British
Miss Serena Brocklebank, British
Mr Tim Colquhoun, Australian
Mr Mark Squirrell, Australian
Dr Andreas Botha, South African
Dr Michael Brennan, British
Dr Robert Casserley, British
Mr John Pomfret, British
Mr Ben Cowes, British
Mr Tom Clowes, British

We should be in Base Camp on 13th April. The team website will commence updates from around that time, once base camp has been set up, in its "expedition news" section of the website.

Otherwise and carry full updates from all expedition teams.

Regarding this site, I have no idea if and when I'll be able to do anything from Base Camp, but if possible, will do!

My sincerest thanks to my sponsors - main sponsors Al Tayer Motors/Land Rover, co-sponsors Shell, and support sponsors Rolls-Royce PLC - for making this whole trip happen.