The title of this blog is a famous quote by Bruce Lee. It sums up not only the past couple of weeks but pretty much every struggle and triumph of the Everest journey so far.
First of all, this week’s shout-out from Twitter goes to Steve @steadyhandsteve! It seems he doesn’t let his own obstacles get in his way making the most of life- top man!
So yesterday I realised it’s exactly 9 weeks until I waddle through Manchester Airport in my gear to avoid paying excess baggage, and fly to Nepal to begin the journey of a lifetime. It still doesn’t feel real. I narrowly avoided a lynching as I fly the day before Mothers Day- oops! Better not forget the flowers this time…
I’ve got 4 meetings next week, and a great team of PR volunteers from Chester supporting me. I essentially work 7 days a week on fundraising, whilst dedicated to an endurance training plan, and a part-time job too, so it’s great to share the workload and have them on my growing support team.
Training has been hardcore. Keeping up 75% of max heart-rate for 3 hours on the bike. Basically the same as a marathon. Agony. A few mishaps this week. Forgetting my Garmin for my swimming intervals session, a broken heart-rate monitor and then a broken bike. It’s like Laurel without Hardy. I can’t afford to miss a session nowadays. It’s funny, how years ago I despised sport and finished last in cross country at school. Now I really spit my dummy out when I have to miss a session!
I had a great time in Scotland last week with my friends Lorn and Pete. Both Scottish guys and really good company. On Monday me and Lorn hiked up to Halfway Lochan on Ben Nevis at about midnight. It was a beautiful night so we went for our original plan- to camp! Lorn was more of a man than I in his bivi-bag, I’d borrowed a tent off my friend Chris.
The next day we set off for the Carn Mor Dearg arete. Have been pushing myself hard recently so an early start wasn’t on my cards although I did faff round too much up with the packing up! Have to stay as healthy as I can- not the time to get ill. Due to a fast stream and my not-so-Bear-Grylls-like skills with crossing it, we didn’t quite make the arete sadly, it was late in the day and we didn’t want to be caught on it in the approaching high winds or darkness. We had stunning views of the Ben and it’s imposing North Face cliffs in full Winter glory with a gorgeous sunrise.
We’ll be back again soon I’m sure! A magical place. Check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfh9vgvZGMs for a video of our wee microadventure and Lorn’s Facebook page for some more great photos: www.facebook.com/LornStevensonPhotography
That night I camped alone in Glen Nevis, in a field in about 40mph winds. At about 8pm I’d walked past the Youth Hostel with it’s warm glow, lit windows, central heated bedrooms and cafe ushering me in…. and kept walking. ‘Man up!’ I told myself. I’ll be camping in much worse on Camp 4 on Everest. I had to make-do with a cheap sleeping bag and it was a relief to see Pete the next day! Conditions were a wash-out so we chilled out and went to Kinlochleven Ice Wall- my first time on steep ice. Deceivingly hard work but good fun!
The next day we headed South to slightly better conditions up Beinn Ghlas. I navigated to begin with and made the schoolboy error of following other walkers (who were going the wrong way!). We were soon in a typical Scottish white-out. It was my first experience but I loved it. Balaclavas, hoods, and thick Marmot gloves on as our faces burned. ”I think it’s turning around time” as the wind, freezing cold and spindrift engulfed us in Soup-like visibility. But we pressed on a bit further.
We were only a hundred metres from the summit and I was strangely enjoying the force of the weather, but I’m known to push myself too far and didn’t want to contravene Pete’s experience and knowledge so we both hesitantly agreed to head back. Sometimes safety must prevail. The hills were shut once again! It was an incredible experience though and fantastic prep for Everest- it’s so important to be able to look after yourself and there’s no place like Scotland! Big thanks to Pete for helping me get into the hills for a great experience. Check out his blog and pics: http://petesoutdooradventures.wordpress.com
I also went out alone in Snowdonia on Wednesday. A 5am start to go up to Capel Curig and climb Carnedd Llewellyn. Didn’t see a soul all day- probably because the visibility was so poor and the rain never stopped. The opposite of the forecast. Near the summit I found thick snow and steep, open slopes with a potentially nasty slip so the crampons came on. I found myself on the summit in what felt like Scottish Winter conditions! My Scottish friends will be glad to know I agree the Scottish munros are far better than the UK hills 😉
The race is on to get in Everest shape. I can get to base camp knowing I’ve done everything I can and I’m with the best team and support around me. The rest is down to Mother Nature- she always calls the tune.
On that note, I still need to do my weights session… it’s dark and raining outside but as Sir Ranulph Fiennes once said ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather- only bad clothing”!