On May the 12th 2011 I achieved my dream to climb
Mt Everest the worlds highest mountain. This was a culmination of years of high altitude mountain climbing, physical and mental training... Read more
Posted on Sunday 13th April, 2014
Back in Namche now after our adventure to Kyajo Ri. How to sum it up!? Well it was a lot further to get to than we thought. There was a lot more boulder hiking, snow and glacier to get to the mountain than we thought. There was a lot more blue ice on the mountain than we thought! So basically we did around 7 pitches on the mountain itself of rock, snow and ice. We turned around about 4 or 5 pitches from the summit due to the fact we either had to climb them all on blue ice which was very hard and slow going or we had about grade 18 rock to climb with no rock gear! It was getting late so we headed back down. I think that basically the whole trip would be a lot easier and faster later in this season when the snow has melted lower down and there would be more snow higher up on the top of the blue ice, forming alpine ice. Or perhaps in Autumn, that is when most folks seem to climb it. So Kyajo Ri will have to wait for another day! It was however a fantastic training mission!! Carrying the pack for hours over loose scree and boulders at altitude gave me a great workout and warm up for Lhotse!! My knees are still sore! So here is our adventure in photos.
Tomorrow Dawa and I are off to attempt Pachermo 6187m, close to Rowaling. We should be back in around 5 days so lets hope we have some better conditions on that one.
Thanks for following
Posted on Thursday 3rd April, 2014
I have just had a few wonderful days of rest at the end of our Everest Base Camp Trek. Today I got the lungs pumping again with a trip up to Kundi Ri which is the ridge above Kundi Village. It is about 800-900m higher than the guest house here in Namche and I chose to head straight up rather than follow the track so it was very steep but good training. Once again I am staying at the Zamling Guesthouse which feels like my Namche home I just love it here.
So I left off my last post saying that we would fly by plane into Lukla however that day was horrible weather so we ended up in the helicopter YAY! My favourite way to fly around the mountains here and much safer than the plane. As Dawa and I were the lighter passangers we got to sit up the front of the helicopter and all the four men sat in the back. Unfortunately they had all the luggage piled on top of them the whole 45min flight so it wasn’t so comfortable. Still we made it in and had a wonderful view of Lukla as we landed.
Thus began our trek towards Base Camp taking it nice and slow as the guys had never been to high altitude before. We had three porters, Dawa and assistant guide Chirri. We stopped at Namche for two nights and unfortunately I was sick for one of them and a day. Andrew and Arthur were even less fortunate to be sick when they hiked up the hill to Namche so they had a really tough day.
Tsedam Sherpa the owner of Zamling Guesthouse also runs a boarding house for children to stay while they attend Namche school. Kami, Tsedam’s daughter, is a teacher at the school. The boarding house is wonderful as it allows kids from neighbouring villages to attend the school when it would be too far for them to walk each day. Many of the children there come from extremely poor families or are orphans so they have sponsors that pay for there education. Andrew organised to donate new warm jackets for all the kids in the boarding home and it was such a special moment when we went to see them in their new jackets. They had a little ceremony for us and had all written cards for us and Andrew had a thank you cake. It brought tears to my eyes. We have since helped four other children attend Home Away From Home by sponsoring them. My fiance Nathan and I are sponsoring a little boy from Dawa’s village called Pasang Renji. His mother would never have otherwise afforded his education. It is very meaningful to me to be able to help in this way and not just come here to climb.
So off we headed up the valley first stop Deboche and Rivendell Lodge. Dawa’s sister in law Ang Jungmu owns this beautiful lodge in the middle of the forest. I love her she is always so much fun! So I got in the kitchen and started cooking as she had a new gas oven! I made a roasted honey, mustard chicken dish with veges and apple crumble for dessert. It was a winner with the group and lots of fun for me to entertain as I get sick of never cooking over here, well not that sick of it!
It snowed all night so it was really beautiful the next day when we headed off toward Dingboche.
We spent two nights there to acclimatise and hiked to Chukkung on the rest day before heading off again to Lobuche.
We took it easy once we hit 5000m and just went from Loboche to Gorek Shep in a day.
Then we hiked to Base Camp and had some lunch there. I got to take the guys out onto the start of the icefall and this was a definite highlight for them. It was so awesome to take Andrew to my world so he could understand a little more what I do. It was very special for me as he and Jenni have supported my expeditions. I was really happy to help fulfil his dream of seeing Mount Everest up close and visiting the Base Camp.
The next day we headed up Kala Pattar for some amazing views towards Everest as the weather was perfect!
So back down the valley we went and the guys ended up at Zamling for one last night before heading off the next morning once again in a B3 helicopter. They had a wonderful scenic mountain flight around Everest before landing in Lukla then catching the plane out to Kathmandu. I am pretty certain that they all had a very memorable adventure!!
Yesterday I went to the school with Tsering to watch the end of school year dance performance. Kami had spent the whole last week practising the dances with all the students. They looked fantastic and for how young they were I was pretty impressed how they could memorise so many moves!
Dawa is coming tomorrow afternoon and we are finalising our supplies for Kyojo Ri then we will start off the next day. I am really looking forward to heading into this valley where not many people go, it will amazing. Also to climb a mountain in alpine style before we hit Lhotse will be lots of fun.
Thats it for me for now. Thank you everyone so much for following my journey. More to come soon!
Posted on Monday 17th March, 2014
Hi folks!! Super long time since I have written a blog post so I apologise to everyone that has been wondering what I am doing and is not following me on facebook. I am currently writing from the Courtyard Hotel in Kathmandu and I can’t believe it has been two years since I have been here and seen my friends Michelle and Pujan, the owners of the Hotel. It is so awesome to be back again and it feels just like home, as always. I have just been here for a few days getting ready for my expedition. Yesterday the four blokes arrived, Andrew from Northcote Pottery and co. We are heading in to do the Base Camp trek tomorrow and they are super excited! Northcote has sponsored my Everest expedition, Manaslu and Lhotse in 2012 and also this current one. So what am up too??
Well lets go back a month. One of my students from Tafe, her friend and another friend (Katie, Kylie and Laura) and I all headed off to Argentina to climb Aconcagua from Plaza Argentinas, across to Colera high camp on the normal route, to the summit and back down to Plaza de Mulas and out the Horcones Valley. As I do not have much time right now to right more detail about the trip I will just pop a few photos up. It was a great expedition where I caught up with loads of old friends as it was my tenth expedition on the mountain and I previously lived in Mendoza…. for three years. The trip was a great success with ‘Las Chicas’ Team all reaching the summit and back safely.
This expedition was a warm up for me for the one I am about to undertake now. Since I turned around on Lhotse in 2012, I have wanted to come back. This time however I am planning to give it a crack without the use of bottled oxygen. I was a little disappointed to use oxygen on Everest and also Manaslu as I would much prefer to summit without. Prior to Everest I had not climbed at altitude for three years and this was obvious up high as I was much slower and colder than normal. On Manaslu Dawa and I were unable to establish a high camp on the plateau at 7400m so we had to leave from 6800m to the summit at 8100m. This was too far for me to climb in one day without the use of gas. We were fortunate however to have the only day since we had been there without a storm in the afternoon so that led to our success. When I was guiding Aconcagua and climbing in Peru I was much stronger up high and this is why I felt I did so well on Cho Oyu without oxygen in 2007. This expedition is certainly not going to be easy for me as I have only been to 8200 without oxygen before and Lhotse is 8516m and very steep up the face. However I love a challenge obviously so I am giving it a go with plenty of preparation and planning in place to be as safe as I can while doing it. I am once again only climbing with Dawa Tenzing as he is one of the only people I trust to climb with up high and we make very safe decisions together…. and he is strong! Part of my preparation was the trip back to the highest mountain in the Andes, then I had two weeks back in Oz before heading across to the Himalayas!
So firstly Dawa and I are hiking in to Everest Base Camp with the four men and back to Namche. We then plan to acclimatise on a mountain called Kyojo Ri once they have gone, which is close to Renjo Pass and Gokyo and is around 6100m. Then perhaps sneak in another 6000er before heading to Lhotse. We plan to make the summit bid around mid May. So plenty of time to get strong and acclimatised.
The boys arrived yesterday and it was a special day in Kathmandu, Hindu Holy. This is when the whole city shuts down and everyone runs around throwing coloured powder and water bombs at each other. It was quite a spectacle for the guys just getting off the plane….
Today, after finishing the blokes equipment shopping we headed up to the Swayambunath Temple and had a great view back to the city. It was good to do a couple of laps of the stairs to the temple to get the legs moving. So its up early for my favourite mountain flight into Lukla! I can’t wait to sit up the front of the plane so as to get maximum thrill when landing on the short uphill runway. Off to finish packing then Pujan is hosting a BBQ yum!!
Once again I am climbing for my charity The Australian Himalayan Foundation. I am raising money for their ‘Quality Education Program’ which supports schools in the lower, poorer region of the Khumbu below the tourist route. This program aims to give kids a brighter future through education and over 12 years will effect over 42 000 kids. This money will make a big difference to these peoples lives and it is my way of giving back to the community here. So please help make my expedition more meaningful and fulfilling for me by supporting my charity. You can donate at this link- http://personalchallenge.gofundraise.com.au/page/Lhotse
Posted on Sunday 15th December, 2013
I have been very busy of late creating a 2014 calendar of my expedition photos, complete with the stories behind them. It is now available for purchase here and $5 from every calendar sold will go towards my ongoing support of The Australian Himalayan Foundation’s ‘Quality Education’ program in the Lower Solu Khumbu region of Nepal. The rest of the profits made will go towards paying off my expedition debts!
‘Expeditions’ has images that have been captured during my journey’s to some of the highest and most beautiful mountains in the world. Each month offers an insight into different climbs, mountains or regions that I have ventured to during the course of my mountaineering career so far. The calendar includes images from the New Zealand Alps to the Andes and the Himalaya. In the back of the calendar you will find ‘The Stories Behind the Photos’ where you can read more detail and information about each month. For example here is January and the story behind January-
Everest Base Camp Puja Ceremony Nepal 2011, 5350m- The Sherpa climbers will not set foot on Sagamatha (Mt Everest) without her permission and blessing and so every climb begins with a Buddhist Puja ceremony. A small tower of rocks called a Stupa was erected in our base camp and covered in various offerings, decorations and a photo of the Dalai Lama. A local Lama came to chant Tibetan prayers from an ancient prayer book to ask permission from Sagamatha for a clear and safe passage for our expeditions. As Dawa and I shared our Base Camp with two other foreign teams and many other Sherpa, we had quite a crowd at our Puja. Dawa asked me to place my ice axe, crampons, helmet and boots at the base of the Stupa to be blessed. Juniper bush was burnt which created a fragrant smoke across the camp.
Surprisingly, we were also offered cans of beer which I graciously declined as it was still morning! A pole was held in place in the middle of the Stupa and prayer flags were tied to it then strung above all the tents in our camp. Each flag has a different meaning: yellow-earth, green-water, red-fire, white-air, blue-sky. After this we all rub tsampa barley flour across each other’s faces, which resembles a grey beard symbolic of a long life. Lastly, once the Lama finished chanting all his prayers, the Sherpa stood in a line to sing and perform their traditional dance. The mesmerising song made it a profoundly moving experience; I felt honoured to be let in on a part of their culture. I felt for certain that along with the blessing of the Lama Geshi from Pengboche, our sacred Puja ceremony and my lucky summit necklace from Cho Oyu, that we were blessed, and that Dawa and I would have a safe and successful climb.
I want send out a massive thank you to Nathan from Ablaze Print Race Bibs for all the hard work to make this in time for Xmas!! Also a huge thanks to Sophie Vivian and Kirsty Mckenzie for the editing and Julian Andersen, Dawa Sherpa and Conor Ashleigh for helping with the photos.
Posted on Tuesday 9th July, 2013
Hey folks! Hope everyone is well and enjoying the Winter so far. I just realised after doing my Tax today that it is past the middle of the year already! I have not written a blog post since the start of the new year…wowzers. So why not? I suppose life just cruises along and because I am not on expedition I sort of forget about my blog as I am updating on the old Facebook fairly regularly. Well seeing as its the middle of the year I think its time to look back at my New Years Resolutions and see how I am going so far. Basically this year I have been working hard to pay off my expedition debts that I still have from last year and even from Everest. So on that front I am getting there but slowly and I still have a way to go. I feel happy that I have got it down considerably however! So I suppose there has not been so much playing this year as the focus is not to spend. I have been enjoying some local adventures here in the Blue Mountains and went on a little climbing trip to Point Perpendicular for my birthday which was awesome to spend time with friends, climb and even see the whales cruise past underneath us!
I spent most of the first part of the year training for the North Face 100 trail race in May. I was running around 50 to 60km of trail a week to get ready for it and my longest run beforehand was 55km of trail and part of the actual course. It was tough! I keep saying I am not really a runner and never really have been. I did not grow up doing any sports. I run some trails during my training for mountains but not this sort of distance. I truly did not know if I could make it. However I like a good challenge and it gave some sort of physical goal to work towards while I don’t have a big trip to stay motivated in my training. The day was pretty amazing and I couldn’t believe there were 1000 runners. Also that 300 of them did not make the finish! I started out feeling great and in fact the first 55km felt pretty good. Duncan and I were running together, laughing a lot of the time and some other runners called us Mr and Mrs Chatty! It was the fastest I had ran in our training together and the best I felt too. As we got to around 60km though it started to get tougher. Then as the sun went down and when it turned cold, running got more difficult. Then we hit Kedumba Pass and ouch that hill hurt! I was actually set to get to the finish in under 16 hours as we left the last check point of 89km at 14 hours of race time. I was super excited as I never thought I could do that time however I twisted my knee at 94km and things changed. I could not bend it and had to hobble up and down hundreds of stairs over the last 6km kilometres with tears streaming down my face and hypothermia setting in. Then the finish was finally upon us!! I made it over the line in 17:26min. Not bad for my first ever trail race and second ever running event! I could not have done it without the help of my awesome support person Emma Newell and also all my other friends that cheered us on! Special mention to Shan and Cillo
I have been pretty solidly teaching Outdoor Recreation at TAFE in Lithgow this year with loads of Tvet HSC programs this first semester. It is always fantastic to meet so many young adults and to spend time with them in the outdoors. Adventure is really such a great tool to bring out so many qualities and skills they never knew they had and its great to watch their confidence build as they challenge themselves. This is probably the most rewarding part of my job. I have also worked with some fantastic new students doing their Cert 3 and 4 in instructing bushwalking. We have had some amazing times out there exploring and navigating in some beautiful terrain. I have felt so proud of them as their skills have developed and they are now very competent navigators. Guiding assessments start soon and I am sure they will crush it! Go team!
I have started training ABC reporter Eric Campbell to climb Everest. Yes its a little crazy, as he has no previous mountaineering experience, not a very high fitness level and lets face it, probably not such a healthy lifestyle either! So basically the idea is to follow his progress as he trains to climb the worlds highest mountain. It is basically a four part documentary for Foreign Correspondent that looks at what it takes to get to the top and also a report on how many people are on the mountain these days and what led them to be there. I plan to be on Lhotse while Eric is on Everest so I will be part of the Nepal footage also. We will be doing some more filming in a month or so as we amp up the training!
So lets take a look at what my goals for the year were-
Live a healthy lifestyle
Do my best in my trail races
Hone the skills I need to make my 2014 expedition a success
Enjoy the simple pleasures in life
Spend quality time with friends and family
Well it seems that I am going pretty well with them so far. I can always work harder though! I have been working on something lately and it is progressing. Hopefully I will have the website part done in the next month or so and then I plan to have some launch offers. I am pretty excited about it and looking forward to getting out on more adventures with people in the future so I will keep everyone in the loop as plans develop. Ok folks I trust you are all enjoying some quality outdoor time as its great to get out in our beautiful backyard whatever the weather!
Posted on Monday 17th June, 2013
Everest BC Trek Clothing and Equipment List
DUE TO THE HIGH NUMBER OF EMAILS I AM UNABLE TO SEND THIS LIST TO YOU. PLEASE JUST TAKE A SCREENSHOT IF YOU FIND IT USEFUL. THANKS!!
Most items on this list may be bought in Kathmandu. There are some really great gear stores there now with very reasonable prices such as; The North Face, Mountain Hardware and Marmot. In fact most outdoor brands are now available so there is no need to stress if you don’t arrive with everything on the list as its fun to shop there too.
Backpack around 45 litres of capacity
A large durable duffle bag for the porters with a lock
Stuff sacs and garbage bags for inside the duffle bag to organise and waterproof your things
Trekking boots (helps to be waterproof such as gore tex lined)
Set of trekking poles
Lodge shoes or sandals (crocs work well)
Sleeping bag comfortable to -20′C
Thermarest (this helps to sleep on when the mattress in the lodge is a bit average, it is optional though)
Be prepared for extremes in temperature as it is a high altitude alpine environment. You can often go from very hot when exercising to very cold when you stop especially if we have a snow storm. Also keep in mind that you can bring extra clothing like a couple more T-shirts as to what is on the list. I have written the minimum amount that is required to be comfortable on the trek. There is an option to do washing at Namche however beyond there it is not always possible. Sometimes you can hand wash socks and underwear to dry on rest days in the sun if its out. I am also a fan of hanging my socks on my pack whilst hiking to dry!
Light weight thermal long sleeved tops x 2 (medium weight merino or equivalent)
T shirts or trekking shirts x 3 (I recommend having one long sleeve coolmax type shirt)
Heavy weight thermal pull over or jacket x 1 (heavy weight Merino, polartec powerstretch, soft shell, 100 weight fleece)
200 weight fleece jacket or prima loft jacket x 1
Waterproof shell jacket with hood preferably breathable
Down parka preferably with hood
Thermal pants x 2 (light weight merino or polartec powerdry)
Fleece or polatech powerstretch pants x 1
Light weight hiking trousers x 1
Heavy weight hiking trousers x 1 (soft shell is warm and fairly wind proof for higher altitude)
Hiking shorts x 1 optional
Waterproof shell pants preferably breathable (lightweight
Trekking socks, warm ones x 4 and lightweight cotton ones x 4
Thick socks made from wool to wear at night in lodges x 2 pairs
Insulated windproof gloves x 1 (ski gloves work well)
Fleece or polartec powerstretch gloves x 1
Polypro gloves x 1
Sunhat or cap (cap and buff works best up high as it all fits under your hood)
Head torch and spare batteries
Sunglasses that are polarised
Sunscreen (the higher we go, the stronger the UV so I recommend a high factor in a small bottle to keep handy)
Sunscreen lip balm (needs to be kept in a pocket and continually applied during the day)
Moisturiser (your skin gets very dry from the low humidity and can crack easily)
Personal 1st aid kit including personal medication, blister kit, analgesics, throat lozenges, antibiotics (Cypro is a must), iodine or micro pur and gastrolyte.
2 x 1ltr water bottles (one with an insulated cover is recommended)
Toothbrush, toiletries and toilet paper
Face wipes or baby wipes (these provide a ‘baby wipe’ shower when its difficult to get warm water for a wash)
Lightweight novels, journal
Light weight towel and soap
Earplugs (I recommend them as sometimes it can be a bit noisy in the lodges at night)
Personal treats and snacks (can buy in Kathmandu)
Town clothes and shoes
A bag to leave these in Kathmandu (very cheap in Kathmandu)
Shoulder bag or small backpack for exploring around town (optional)
Snaplock bags for snacks so you can divide each day
Tips for our Sherpa staff
Posted on Tuesday 11th June, 2013
Here is a testimonial from a speech I did earlier this year at a St Jude Medical Conference. I just thought I would put it on my blog so it is easy for people to find. Lindsay is quite happy to discuss this further if needed so if you email me at email@example.com I can give you his contact details.
20th April 2013
Re: Allie Pepper
To whom it may concern;
I asked Allie to speak at a sales conference our company held in February of this year. The theme of this conference was ‘Everything is Possible’. The brief I provided Allie was to illustrate to my team that ‘Everything is Possible’ despite what situation you are in, what age you are or what has gone on in the past.
From first contacting Allie to speak at the conference everything was very easy, simple and no fuss. Allie offered to come and meet prior to the conference to get to know me, understand my goals for the talk and share a little about herself. I must admit this was very re-assuring to get to ensure Allie had a clear understanding of what I wanted, and gain a glimpse into how she was going to achieve my goals. She maintained constant communication in the lead up to the meeting which was re-assuring to know everything was well prepared.
On the day Allie arrived early to ensure set up was correct and AV was functioning. This is essential as the photos and videos she has are a central part of her presentation and something that captivated the team she presented to.
I could say many things about Allie’s presentation, she is an amazing individual that has achieved so much in a short time. She is a great story teller and captivates her audience, and she is a confident and relaxed presenter. The strongest testimony I think I could provide Allie is that the group of 80 staff she presented to was at 3:30 on a Saturday afternoon. The remainder of the company had departed for an afternoon of free time and preparing for a gala evening ball. However my team remained behind to listen to Allie. Allie finished on time at 4:00 but questions and discussion easily continued until 4:30. Basically no one wanted to go and enjoyed the opportunity to learn from Allie and hear her perspectives. Even after 4:30pm many people remained behind to look at her gear, share their own personal experiences. This is a clear representation of how Allie connected with the crowd and reflects that her stories do inspire and connect with people.
I have no hesitations in recommending Allie to present to their team whether it be part of a sales conference or other team meeting. Whilst I haven’t personally attended, I would envisage her adventure based trips with teams locally and abroad would also build individuals and teams and inspire others to strive for greatness.
AF-CRM Division Manager
St Jude Medical Australia & New Zealand
Posted on Monday 15th April, 2013
Apart from guiding and teaching at TAFE here in the Blue Mountains, I also work as a speaker. I have learnt so much from following my passion and climbing some of the tallest peaks in the world. These lessons are valuable to everyone and do not just apply when helping to achieve personal goals and ambitions but are also relevent to success in business. Here is a short video from a corporate speech I did in February. For booking enquires please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on Sunday 20th January, 2013
In this part of my four part series I talk about the clothing I use on the Everest Base Camp hike, straight from my wardrobe! Over the years I have used many brands, makes and models of outdoor clothing and have settled on some basic layers. These are the layers I use for hiking in the Himalaya and many of them when climbing there too.
Posted on Monday 14th January, 2013
I decided to do a series of videos that show all the things you need to complete an Everest Base Camp trek. In fact these are all the things you need for any trek in the Himalayas such as the Annapurna circuit or the Manaslu circuit. In part 1 I discuss what shoes, sleeping bag and sleeping mat I take with me and why. I hope that these videos are of some help to you when are planning your Himalayan trek!