Everest Base Camp Trek


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.

The group at Namche airport with the 6 seater B3 helicopter ready to fly to Lukla

The group at Namche airport with the 6 seater B3 helicopter ready to fly to Lukla

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.

The kids from Home Away From Home in their new jackets

The kids from Home Away From Home in their new jackets

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With Gelmu and her son Pasang Renji

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.

DSC00399We spent two nights there to acclimatise and hiked to Chukkung on the rest day before heading off again to Lobuche.

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Dengboche

We took it easy once we hit 5000m and just went from Loboche to Gorek Shep in a day.

Hiking to Gorek Shep with Kala Pattar and Pumo Ri in the background

Hiking to Gorek Shep with Kala Pattar and Pumo Ri in the background

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.

Andrew and I on the ice at the start of the Khumbu Icefall

The next day we headed up Kala Pattar for some amazing views towards Everest as the weather was perfect!

Hiking up Kala Pattar from Gorek Shep

Hiking up Kala Pattar from Gorek Shep

 

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‘Congratulations you made it to Everest Base Camp’ cake back at Zamling Guesthouse

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!

The kids from Namche School performing for parents, students and teachers.

The kids from Namche School performing for parents, students and teachers.

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!

 

 

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The Andes to the Himalayas


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.

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On the way to high camp.

Load carrying to high camp 6000m

Load carrying to high camp 6000m

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SUMMIT!!

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….

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The Swayambunath Temple

The Swayambunath Temple

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

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‘Expeditions’ 2014 Calendar


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!

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‘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-

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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.

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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.

Purchase your copy here and for all my latest news be sure to ‘like’ my Facebook page.

 

 

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Wow Is It July Already??


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!

Climbing at Point Perp, Jervis Bay

Climbing at Point Perp, Jervis Bay

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 🙂

Duncan and I at 89km on The North Face 100.

Duncan and I at 89km on The North Face 100.

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!

Beautiful views out at Kanangra-Boyd National Park

Beautiful views out at Kanangra-Boyd National Park

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!

Heading up the stairs at Wentworth Falls with Eric and David the cameraman. I made Eric carry 14 litres of water in his pack.

Heading up the stairs at Wentworth Falls with Eric and David the cameraman. I made Eric carry 14 litres of water in his pack. Perhaps it was not enough!

So lets take a look at what my goals for the year were-

Train harder

Work harder

Keep positive

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!

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Everest Base Camp Trek Clothing and Equipment List


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.

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Trekking Equipment

  • 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)

  • Hiking sneakers

  • Set of trekking poles

  • Gaiters (optional)

  • 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)

Clothing

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!

Upper Body

  • 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

Lower Body

  • 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

Feet

  • 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

Hands

  • Insulated windproof gloves x 1 (ski gloves work well)

  • Fleece or polartec powerstretch gloves x 1

  • Polypro gloves x 1

Head

  • Warm beanie

  • Buff

  • Sunhat or cap (cap and buff works best up high as it all fits under your hood)

Everything Else

  • 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)

  • Camera

  • Lightweight novels, journal

  • Light weight towel and soap

  • Small pillow

  • 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

  • Music player

  • Tips for our Sherpa staff

Everest Base Camp Clothing List | 8 Comments


Speaking Testimonial


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 allie@alliepepper.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.

Regards

Lindsay Chappell

AF-CRM Division Manager

St Jude Medical Australia & New Zealand

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Speaking Video


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 allie@alliepepper.com

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Everest Base Camp Trekking List Part 2 Video


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.

 

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Everest Base Camp Trekking List Part 1 Video


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!

 

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Here We Are at the Start of 2013


Posted on Friday 4th January, 2013

So here we are at the start of 2013, already! What a year 2012 had been. I have met some really special people over the course of the year and lots of very inspiring ones that have touched my heart. My expedition in April and May was such an amazing experience and my summit day on Manaslu stands out as one of the most awesome days of my life so far. The support I received for this trip from my sponsors, family and friends was overwhelming and I am very, very grateful. Now moved from Blackheath to Wentworth Falls, I feel like I am probably close to or perhaps the fittest I have ever been which feels great. It has been fantastic to share so many adventures with so many people during during the year. Whether that be with Dawa Sherpa and the other climbers on Manaslu and Lhotse this Spring season, my climbing and training partners back home here in the Blue Mountains, clients I guide on day adventures at ‘High and Wild’ or the students I teach at TAFE, we have had some fun in the outdoors and have learnt plenty more about ourselves along the way.

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Dawa and I at Camp 1 on Manaslu, April 2012

In my last blog post I mentioned that I was undertaking a new challenge which was the Sydney Marathon in September and I also said I had hopes to finish in under four and a half hours. I would like to say again that I don’t see myself as a runner. Sure I train by plodding along the trails up here in the Blue Mountains and hiking up and down stairs with a back pack however I have never really run regularly as a form of exercise. The longest distance I had ran before the marathon was 25 kilometres so you can imagine I was very nervous on race day! I was really just hoping to finish the 42.2 km at that point and didn’t care too much about my time. Luckily my friend Nick Murphy came along to support me and rode his mountain bike around meeting me to top up my water bottles and give me gels so I didn’t need to carry too many. It was awesome as this really motivated me during the race. I finally met one of my biggest inspirations Pat Farmer who ran from the north pole to the south pole. We had a great chat for about 20 minutes as he was the 4 hour pacer. I eventually had to tell him I couldn’t talk anymore as I was getting too tired talking! He slowly slipped away as I could no longer keep up. Anyhow I ended up finishing in 4 hours and 15 minutes. I could’t believe it and really surprised myself. I went in this race for my charity and didn’t expect that I would actually have so much fun! It hurt like hell but only for a few hours and compared to a summit day on Manaslu of 18 and a half hours it wasn’t too much to suffer! In the back of my mind I thought that if I made the qualifying time for the 6ft track marathon I would go in it. I made it with five minutes to spare so that is now my next training goal. The race is on 9th of March and starts in Katoomba, heads along the 6ft track and fire trail and ends at Jenolan Caves. I have been training a lot lately so feel pretty confident I will make it. If you would like to support me by supporting the local fire brigade please go to my fundraising page- http://www.everydayhero.com.au/allie_pepper Thanks heaps guys!!

 

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The finish of my first full marathon!

 

I mentioned in my last post that I was super psyched when I returned from Nepal at the end of May. I really felt like I did well on my trip and made good decisions even when it meant I had to turn around on Lhotse. I felt more driven than ever to climb more 8000m mountains and was really keen to get back to Lhotse and/or head to Pakistan to try the Gasherbrums this year. Unfortunately I still have quite a lot of debt from my last two Himalayan expeditions which means I am unable to head off again quite so soon. I have struggled with this mentally the last few months as I really enjoy having something big to train for and that has been a large part of what has motivated me in my life the last few years. These types of Himalayan expeditions are not cheap so I have had to refocus my goals again for 2013 so I can be in a better financial position. Of course this is a great lesson and I am reminded of how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to climb this last year which is largely because of Northcote Pottery and Andrew and Jenni’s support and belief in me. If it wasn’t for those guys I would never have been able to go on my expedition to Manaslu and Lhotse so I can’t thank them enough for helping me to live my dreams. I would also like to thank Moore Stephens, Asian Pacific Group and all those at Marcellin Football Club for their support of my expedition. It means so much to me that you all believe in and support me and it inspires me to be my best and train harder. I have decided to focus towards planning the next big trip to take place in 2014. Details of the adventure will be disclosed as plans are concreted but it looks to be a big one and I am actually now very happy to have the whole of next year to train and prepare for it!

Marcellin at Everest Base Camp

Marcellin at Everest Base Camp

 

Back at home I have a lot to be grateful for. I have shared and continue to share adventures with lots of people in my everyday life which is really inspiring for me. During the year I work for TAFE NSW in Lithgow and Wentworth Falls in the Outdoor Recreation departments. I have had the pleasure of working with some amazing new guides that have done some great jobs as bushwalking instructors. Its wonderful to think that I can now train students in the very course that changed my life back in 1999 and ultimately led me to an ascent of Mount Everest. I have also had the pleasure of meeting some fantastic  young adults through the Tvet outdoor programs I teach. One of them even inspired me to go fly a plane! It is great to see how students gain confidence in themselves through adventure in the outdoors especially the ones that may have difficulty at school and in their home lives. To all those from my programs last year, you guys rock and don’t stop believing in yourselves. I know sometimes it is tough at the end of school and you may not be sure what to do. However just do what interests you and you never know where it may take you. Also have an open mind and don’t be scared to give it a go. Just like when we went rock climbing,  you never know what you might achieve. In fact this is probably good advise at any stage of life and also something I follow in my own life.

In Summer I work as a senior instructor with High and Wild Adventures in Katoomba. The last few trips have been great as I have had return clients. We have been out in the National Park climbing and canyoning together again. It is always nice when someone has such fond memories of a trip that they come back  years later to do it again, sometimes from overseas. We have lots of fun out there in the outdoors and I look forward to more adventures in 2013.  If you are keen for an adventure in the Blue Mountains and have never done one of our wonderful canyons here please contact Darren or Aidan. If I am available I may even be your guide! Perhaps this is a good chance to step outside your comfort zone in 2013 if its something you have never experienced.

Tvet students in Dalpura canyon

Tvet students in Dalpura canyon

In November I headed down to Melbourne to talk at the Victorian Outdoor Education Association AGM. I met some really great people on the night and it was fabulous to be in a room of folks also so passionate about the outdoors. We were all reminded of the importance of outdoor education in young peoples lives and I shared my story from my first outdoor course to the summits of the highest Himalayan peaks. I am really looking forward to doing more speaking and sharing my story in 2013. It is certainly a different type of challenge to the challenges I face in the outdoors, speaking to a crowd. My teaching skills help a lot and I definitely love to tell a story! So it is something I enjoy very much and is also very rewarding for me.

 

On January 1st I ran 44 kilometres of trail here in the Blue Mountains with my training partner. We wanted to start the year with a hard run as we both aim to get super fit this year. We ran a good amount of the North Face 100 trail race track starting in Wentworth Falls heading to Katoomba and Narrowneck Plateau then back across the valley and up Kedumba Pass. We started quite early but unfortunately it was a crazy hot day so we both suffered in the heat and it took us longer than we estimated. I had thoughts of what it would be like to run these crazy ultra races through the desert in 40 degree heat, man that would be hard! However I really enjoyed it, even the suffering of course! I am keen to do it again soon and try beat our time on a cooler day. As I wasn’t sure for a while if I would be around in May this year I didn’t enter the North Face 100 race. However I am now keen to do it so I am on the wait list. This means I will probably get a place as everyone on the wait list last year was offered one. So I am training for it and super motivated with my trail running right now.

Such a fantastic training ground I live in!

Such a fantastic training ground I live in!

 

So New Years resolutions-

Train harder

Work harder

Keep positive

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

I may not have any huge Himalayan goals this year but I have plenty of other challenges planned which I am really looking forward to. So heres to a happy and healthy 2013! I hope you guys have some great resolutions and good luck with achieving them. Lets always remember that we never know what we can achieve unless we give it a go. No harm in trying!

2013 January | 3 Comments


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