Here we go – I find myself at the beging of another adventure, but somehow this one feels a little different. For the first time in my life I’m going into unexplored territory and I’m going climbing on my terms. Our aims – Unclimbed Peaks and First Ascents in Nepal. Or in the simplest form, I’m going climbing, because being in the mountains is what I love. I am super excited, yet also largely apprehensive.
Not quite! There are 1000’s of mountains in Nepal and a vast amount of these are unclimbed. Over the past 6 years I have been on 12 expeditions in Nepal: to Annapurna BC, Island Peak, Ama Dablam and Everest, accumulating in over 1 years of my life spent here. But these have all been known quantities: people have climbed them before, written about and photographed them, and people will again. The simple difference this time is that what we are hoping to do what no one has ever done before! We won’t be using any climbing Sherpas, or fixed lines, or pre-placed camps – it’s just me and my climbing partner, and this is super exciting!
I can describe the feeling of standing on top of the world, or a mountain I had thought impossible to climb because I’ve now been there and done it. I’ve climbed in the shadow of doubt and crumbled to my knees on a summit as relief releases every emotion in my body and tears roll down my cheeks. But I have never been the first person ever to stand on top of an unclimbed peak or to claim a new unclimbed route on a mountain. To me thats sounds pretty mega!
To be the only person in the world who has ever seen what I would be looking it. That is special. That is real.
At a guess the highest mountain in the UK, Ben Nevis, has over 400 routes on it, 1 of which 99% of the people who have been up Ben Nevis would have used. There is of course nothing wrong with this, it’s a great day out, but what I personally want from my time in the mountains is ever changing with experience. At one point there would have been only 1 route on Ben Nevis…but climbers sought the ultimate prize in climbing – new routing.
Will and I arrived in Kathmandu yesterday, and i’m pleased to say life seems to be going on as normal for most people. It’s bustling, loud, colourful and exciting – just like I’ve always know it! We spent the day shopping for food, meeting with our agent, eating cake, and just enjoying being here. Kathmandu is a magical place.
What lies ahead, I am unsure. The Earthquake in April caused havoc to tens of thousands of people but particularly to those in the mountain areas such as the Khumbu on the trail to Everest. It is blatantly clear that there are very few tourists heading in there this year, and from early reports I’ve seen the trails are very quiet. I can’t tell you what it’s really like yet or the real damage to the local community and their homes because we fly in tomorrow. The earthquake took away a lot of lives and homes in April, but the Nepalese are the most resourceful people I’ve ever met.
Big love from Kathmandu x