The Season of No Everest


Painting of South Col, based on a photo I took in 1996, during the great disaster. You can get the photo through the doco crowdfunding link


22 May 2015, Natimuk.

In five days, it will eighteen years since I was on the top of Everest.

Where was I, on 22 May 1997?
26 May arrive South Col from Camp 3.
25 May Camp 3, too windy to go up.
24 May arrive Camp 3 from Camp 2
23 May arrive Camp 2 from Base Camp
22 May Base Camp, I presume, decision made to go up…

How did I feel then? I’ll have to go back to my book to find out…

“Today is the 22d (Ha! I was at Camp 2 on 22d!!!), and almost 30 climbers are scheduled to try for the summit tonight…cripes! I am glad I am not up there. Never liked crowds. I can see a line of dots leaving camp 3, stretching past the Yellow Band, going into the swirling cloud above. It looks like last year. There are members from OTT, Adventure Consultants, Nova ( the film team), the Malaysian team, the Canadian team, plus Andres and Tenzing Lama. Quite a brochette of nationalities! We rest, we look up, we eat. TNT ( That’s dear Thomas and Tina, the Explosive Couple as I called them!) gave me some tinned ham , which I share with the rest of our team. Our supplies at 2 are quite low, there has been no money to go shopping lately. Just as well I brought my own tucker with me.

Late the next morning, I tape some comments on my small Sony recorder: “Camp 2, May the 23th. Andres and Tenzing reached the summit this morning at 9.30, which is great news, along with with vast crowds. By about ten o’clock, fifteen people had summitted, so that means that there is probably a nice track going up the lower part of the mountain ( being the summit pyramid from the South Col), and.. I do get those little butterflies in the stomach, and a bit of envy at those that have already climbed it, and don’t have to go up anymore , and can get down and celebrate.. I am confident that I will do well, and that our group, seven of us, mostly Henry’s team, Thomas and Tina, and myself, will get there and do it too.. That’s if the weather is with us of course, which, we can never be sure off, but if it’s not, well, bugger it, you know, what does it take?! We’ve been careful, and following the weather forecast, and, maybe maybe maybe, it will help us be there in the right conditions. Mind you , the forecast for today was reasonably high winds up there, and from what we’ve heard, it has been very quiet, and not a breath of wind, so what can you believe? Anyway. I am packing up all my shit to go up to camp three tomorrow, wondering what to take, what not to take, and generally having a nice quiet time, trying not to get too stressed about things, trying to keep my energy for the climb ahead, for going to the summit, because I feel that it’s not just me, so many people are up there with me, so many people, …I’m going to need their energy. It’s been such a long time waiting at BC that it’s quite hard being motivated now, but, I guess as I get into it tomorrow, I should be all right. And pray God that the weather is fine…on summit day the 26th. ”

( continues in “The Wind in my Hair”, which you can buy HERE in its ebook version. All proceeds go to the Beyond the Smile Documentary.

I know there was a song in my head, ‘It’s now or never…’ which would be replaced by a mantra in the following days, step after step up the mountain: ‘ Country one, country one..
How do I feel now, eighteen years later? There is no one on Everest this year,  no one to witness the moods of the mountain.
There were only a few of us on the Big E then, most expeditions had wrapped up already. Henry (Todd)’s group was still around, one of his guys, Yuri, was going to make it to the summit just before I did.

I’d been moving mostly on my own,

occasionally sharing time and steps with one or the other.

Hello and smile between two breaths,

someone on their way down.

Some things never change.

Lunch at the Natimuk Cafe, greeting, chatting a little, smiling.

Breathing is soo much more easier, down here.

Little moments shared,

Precious memories of sweet nothings that make our life

The amazing, enriching experience it is.



Gompa compound after the earthquake, Lura

In the aftermath of the earthquakes, a reminder that life is precious, each day a gift.

As Master Oogway so wisely said in Kung Fu Panda ( I do know my Classics 🙂 )

“Yesterday is history,
Tomorrow is a mystery,
And today is a gift…
That’s why they call it present”

Image 17

Greeting ceremony, last Well Being Well Doing Trek, Lura

Next Well Being Well Doing Trek

‘Beyond the Earthquake’

16 to 30 November 2015, ex Kathmandu.

Ideal for families, friends, anyone really!

Buy my Ebook: The Wind in my Hair

Book a Speaking Engagement

 I share my passion for

‘live your dream, don’t dream your life’,

Inspirational Speaking is also how I fund the many hours of

volunteering I happily give

to the Beyond the Smile Program in Lura.


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