Tuesday, 18 May 2010

The Waiting Game......

Pictured in the group photo are: Josh Lewsey, Geordie Stewart, Major Keith Reesby, Matt and Pete. The last photo shows some very snow covered tents on the North Col.

Finally, it looks as thought our weather window has arrived!! Tomorrow, Tuesday 18th May, we depart for advanced base camp, to start the final big push to stand on top of the world....

We have been back at base camp for just over a week now, trying to relax, re-fuel and fully recover from our stint on top of the North Col. I'm pleased to say we are both now fully rested and ready to go. This past week has been a big waiting game, with continual weather forecast checking and various potential summit dates being floated around. The weather window is decided upon on one or two key factors. The climb to the summit is hard enough without having to battle against the elements. So firstly we need no snow and a clear sky. Secondly and arguably more importantly the jet stream, which resides roughly above the summit of Mount Everest, needs to be where we want it to be - not over the summit! It naturally moves slightly away every now and then during the course of the season, and we have little choice but to wait until the stream is off the summit to avoid winds of 70-100mph plus...

As things stand, we think we may have spied a window for the 23rd-24th May, so hopefully if the weather forecasts hold to their word, and things go to plan, we'll be holding our heads at 8,868m around then...

During the last week or so it has been massively important for us both to remain focused on the summit, without falling into the trap of settling for a weather window that isn't right in order to 'smash and grab' the summit. It's a trap easy to fall into considering there is not a great deal to do to occupy your time at BC, and is known as 'Summit Fever', or a 'Summit or die' attitude. To counter this our time spent waiting has had to be as constructive as possible. To give you an insight into a standard Base Camp life day, one would wake up after a solid 12 hour sleep and breakfast would be at around 9:30. The rest of the morning would consist of personal admin, washing etc. One small bowl of luke warm water has been our only source of hygiene cleansing from the start of the trip! On the contrary to the Adventure Peaks publisised hot shower (which consists of this small bowl of hot water being poured over you by a sherpa). This is followed by a mid-morning nap or some light reading. To expand on 'light reading' Matt has taken it upon himself to read 'The Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E Lawrence' however he is not showing any signs of being more wisdomous! I however am trying to imporve my bantering skills by reading ' The Book of Advanced Banter' which apparently is also not working according to Matt (and the rest of the team...). Lunch is around 14:00, followed by maybe more 'light reading' or listening to music, with an afternoon nap thrown in for good measure. The highlight of the day is a game of Risk with the lads (accomplined by Wary Music...) which would nicely flow into Dinner. Finally to finish, a DVD or Pub Quiz before bed.... In all, sleep has been the main effort of our rountine.

We never seem to be too far away for a practical joke. There appears to be a phantom drinks-bottle thief (nothing to do with us!). The huge barrel of luxoury treats keeps going missing only to be found in our tent minus flapjack, though I have protested my innocence to the group, and as there are 17 males in the team and only one female, a full 'Man Day' was decleared on Sunday 16th May. The first rule about man day is you can't talk about the rules of man day, so I will leave what we got up to your imagination.

As much as we have tried to pass our time humourously, there has been a serious side to our downtime, in all honesty, the last week has been about as easy as it sounds, but with so much on our minds, so much to look forward to and such a massive mountain to climb, this past week has been immensely valuable, if a little on the un-eventful side. Reflection on this journey that has been our past year, and why and who we are doing this for has never been far from our thoughts. We will leave tomorrow with tremendous excitement, knowing that within a matter of days, we will stand on top of the world.

We want to leave you with a quote that has seen us through this past year..

'All men dream; but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.' T.E Lawrence

We'll see you when we get back down...

Pete & Matt


  1. Very impressed guys, fingers crossed for the 'window' wishing you both lots of luck and look fwd to hearing all about it when you come home safe!

    Take care

  2. Linda and Pete Thornton18 May 2010 at 23:19

    Matt and Pete we wish you both all the very best for the challenges ahead. Our thoughts will be with you all the way - go smash it guys!
    Much love Linda and Pete xx

  3. Dr Barry Jones29 May 2010 at 12:11

    Dear Matt and Pete, Many congratulations on your fantastic achievement together. Matt - you are one of only a handful to have summited after suffering from HAPE which makes your summit even more extraordinary. Having followed the team closely, I was worried you might get hit again. That you both summited indicates what a good team you made under difficult conditions. Well done again and thanks for your company during April.