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Canyons, Cameras and Cuisine

Posted on Monday 20th February, 2012

Well I have to say it has been an interesting season for weather here in the Blue Mountains this summer. It feels more like the monsoon than the typical hot and dry summers we have where we are constantly worried about bushfire and water restrictions. As I only work as a casual instructor at TAFE I don’t earn a wage during the summer holidays. In this time I work as a canyon and climbing guide at High and Wild in Katoomba which is owned by friends of mine Darren and Aidan. It works out well for me as I can pick the days I want to work and when I want to train. This season has been quite a hard one for guiding however because of the enormous amount of rain and unpredictable weather. Unfortunately last week I happened to be in a canyon guiding clients when one of the worst local storms we have had in years came through. It was very unexpected and we didn’t pick it up in the forecast before we headed in. In short we all got out without injury but it was a definite near miss and something I hope to never go through again. Canyons can be such beautiful places on a fine day but in a flood they are horrendous!

Here is the link to the news footage-

Claustral Canyon taken by Emily Reader

So I suppose I am quite happy to be starting back at TAFE this week and just be teaching climbing again! I only have four and a half weeks to go until I fly to Nepal and its certainly coming around fast. I have done a fair amount of early preparation for this trip however so I don’t think I will have too much last minute stress which is great. I think my favourite way to get stuff done is to write lists. Whenever I think of something I just put it on a list then have the satisfaction of crossing it off. There were a few things from my Everest expedition that I wanted to improve on this trip. One was to get better HD footage as I climb. I really regretted not being able to film walking across the ladders in the icefall as I didn’t have a helmet camera. I just got a new Go Pro Hero 2 camera and bunch of accessories for it. I am starting to play with it and hope to make a little video of the training I am doing. Some other gadgets for this trip include a Thuraya 2520 satellite phone and small netbook that can be used to blog and upload photos from….well everywhere! That is super exciting as last time I only had connection to blog at Gorek Shep and couldn’t upload photos at all.

I have aways had a problem with the cold effecting my hands and feet. I don’t plan on using oxygen on Manaslu so was worried how my feet would go. I bought this feet warming system that is battery operated made by Human Edge Tech in New York. I am psyched to see how this goes and if it works will be very, very happy as a small part of the suffering at altitude will be alleviated. I have also been taking Ginko Biloba tablets since I got back from Everest everyday. I actually think they have made a noticeable difference with my circulation.

Back Country Cuisine, a freeze dried food company have agreed to sponsor my food for the expedition which is fantastic. I have been taste testing meals for the trip so I know I will be able to eat them at high altitude because my taste changes as I climb higher. Also water boils at a much lower temperature so I have been testing which meals taste good by only being rehydrated in warm water.

An enormous part of the success of any expedition is mental attitude. There have been people in my life that have believed in me and really helped me to not be afraid to live my dreams by their example. I am very fortunate to have one of my biggest inspirations as a close friend and also to have her live only one town away. Monique Forestier is one of Australia’s’ leading female rock climbers and is always so positive, motivated and dedicated to what she does. I am so proud of her for living her life the way she wants to and training so hard. She has a beautiful daughter Coco and is married to world class climbing photographer Simon Carter. Simon has taken many of the photos on this website and they are both so inspiring and so good at what they do.

You can find Monique here- and Simon here-

I have also been following some other Australians on their journeys and they all have successfully completed their missions. Congratulations to Cas and Jonesy for skiing from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back over 90 days unsupported! Congratulations to Pat Farmer for running all the way from the North Pole to the South Pole! and We certainly have some very tough and inspirational people in this country and I know there are many, many more but these are the ones that have had my attention lately. So thanks guys for the motivation and now I am off for a run!

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