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orpheus

Joined:

Jul 07

Posts: 982

orpheus says:

Climbing Everest

I've just returned from an attempt on Everest: got beyond the South Summit (8750m) but had to turn around soon after due to frostbite and tiredness. I can sympathize with Sir Ran Fiennes (whom I met and had a long chat with during the walk-in), though the difference is that Everest was probably not his most difficult expedition, but it certainly was mine.

To those who claim that climbing Everest is easy (does that include you, GT?), I'd say just try it.  Yes, technically it's not difficult but it took much more out of me than anything else I'd ever done (e.g. several marathons including the Everest marathon, adventure races and other long climbs) in terms of sheer physical and mental stamina. Even each trip through the ever-shifting Icefall was a gamble (quite apart from the wobbly ladders bridging the gaping crevasses), and the long steep Lhotse Face required several abseils on iced-up ropes (braver souls than me, i.e. Sherpas often just clip on the ropes) to descend. But it was the thin air that really took its toll: by the end, I'd lost a lot of muscle mass (& 1 stone - 10% of my original weight), as well as acquiring a few black fingertips and toes. A Swiss climber died on the South Col after summiting on the day I got up there, and I also passed a body (which had been there some time) on my way to The Balcony.

But apart from all that, Everest was great (is that a Monty Python quote?)....the sight of Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyu and all the clouds below me at dawn, the fantastic & very exposed summit ridge...

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Nolan

Joined:

Mar 08

Posts: 126

Nolan says:

Re: Climbing Everest

Bloody well done. That's one hell of an achievement. I hope the fingers and toes heal well, are they looking ok?

It_must_be_this_way

Joined:

Jun 07

Posts: 1584

Re: Climbing Everest

Well done on what you did achieve which is more than a lot of people. I hope the frostbite isn't too bad if that makes sense.

orpheus

Joined:

Jul 07

Posts: 982

orpheus says:

Re: Climbing Everest

I think I'll recover completely from the frostbite, though the black bits are a trifle unsightly at the moment (until they drop off). And all my toes are numb & tingling, which impedes my walking (and I can't run either, which is probably just as well).

I've also got retinal haemorrhages - yet another hazard of high-altitude mountaineering: have I put anybody off yet? - for which I seeing an ophthalmologist for the second time tomorrow, as the vision is affected in one eye.

[This Reply has been modified by the Author]

It_must_be_this_way

Joined:

Jun 07

Posts: 1584

Re: Climbing Everest

Do you think you'll have another go or is once enough?

orpheus

Joined:

Jul 07

Posts: 982

orpheus says:

Re: Climbing Everest

'Never again' was my answer to a bloke filming me for Brazilian TV (yes, I'm a celebrity now on the other side of the world) who asked me to show my frostbitten digits to camera. That was the day I got back to Base Camp, but I'm now having second thoughts...And I remember saying the same thing after running my first marathon too...

Think I need to see my shrink.

Matt160177

Joined:

Apr 08

Posts: 158

Matt160177 says:

Re: Climbing Everest

orpheus said:

I've just returned from an attempt on Everest: got beyond the South Summit (8750m) but had to turn around soon after due to frostbite and tiredness. I can sympatise with Sir Ran Fiennes (whom I met and had a long chat with during the walk-in), though the difference is that Everest was probably not his most difficult expedition, but it certainly was mine.

To those who claim that climbing Everest is easy (does that include you, GT?), I'd say just try it.  Yes, technically it's not difficult but it took much more out of me than anything else I'd ever done (e.g. several marathons including the Everest marathon, adventure races and other long climbs) in terms of sheer physical and mental stamina. Even each trip through the ever-shifting Icefall was a gamble (quite apart from the wobbly ladders bridging the gaping crevasses), and the long steep Lhotse Face required several abseils on iced-up ropes (braver souls than me, i.e. Sherpas often just clip on the ropes) to descend. But it was the thin air that really took its toll: by the end, I'd lost a lot of muscle mass (& 1 stone - 10% of my original weight), as well as acquiring a few black fingertips and toes. A Swiss climber died on the South Col after summiting on the day I got up there, and I also passed a body (which had been there some time) on my way to The Balcony.

But apart from all that, Everest was great (is that a Monty Python quote?)....the sight of Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyu and all the clouds below me at dawn, the fantastic & very exposed summit ridge...



 

Well done fella!! Thats one of my goals, to do Everest....One day.....Soon I hope.

Life's too short to stay indoors, so get out there and do it.
It_must_be_this_way

Joined:

Jun 07

Posts: 1584

Re: Climbing Everest

Actualluy Trail should get in touch with you for their 'Did It' article. Except I think this one could do with a double page spread dedicated to it.

[This Reply has been modified by the Author]

Shuttleworth

Joined:

Sep 07

Posts: 1277

Shuttleworth says:

Re: Climbing Everest

NIce one. I thought you said you were going up a different Himalayan mountain this year? Was that to throw us off the scent?

Any photos yet?

[This Reply has been modified by the Author]

CLOUDWALKER
Lowey

Joined:

May 08

Posts: 26

Lowey says:

Re: Climbing Everest

Wow!! Nice one mate! Dont really fancy the idea of walking across those ladders. You got bigger balls than most!!

Base camp would be a great acheivement for me in itself. I'd stick with the pictures others take of the rest of the climb.

“Not all who wander are lost” Tolkien
Davebrown135

Joined:

Oct 07

Posts: 53

Davebrown135 says:

Re: Climbing Everest

Excellent job mate - well done.

I'm hoping to go to the Alps next summer - Mont Blanc maybe. Never really considered Everest an option, cost/experience etc ......

 

Good to hear it's possible though.

Nice one

LostMe

Joined:

Sep 07

Posts: 1716

LostMe says:

Re: Climbing Everest

Congrats

???

If you are not ready to pay a certain price (cash not accepted), then it would probably be wiser to stay home.
sloboy

Joined:

Mar 07

Posts: 2958

sloboy says:

Re: Climbing Everest

Hey orpheus,...You've transcended an article in TRIAL by a country mile!!!!,........Congats and an "I ain't worthy"..from me. Awesome stuff,....Hope evrything gets better!!

........YOU THE MAAAN!!!!!

"Don't need a Weather Man to know which way teh wind blows, ...I love teh smell of eVent in teh morning"
It_must_be_this_way

Joined:

Jun 07

Posts: 1584

Re: Climbing Everest

LOL - is that a country walking mile?

 

Probably transcends a quote from Wayne's World too.

[This Reply has been modified by the Author]

cozy

Joined:

Mar 07

Posts: 2939

cozy says:

Re: Climbing Everest

Nice one orpheus.

8750 meters, what an achievment, meeting sir ran, Did you speak with mr cool?. Hope your bits and bobs get better,

I thought you were going up Cho Oyu, did you get there after all the chineese malarky?

Glad your home safe.

ATB

orpheus

Joined:

Jul 07

Posts: 982

orpheus says:

Re: Climbing Everest

Yes, I was booked to do Cho Oyu till the Chinese scuppered that plan,,,,and I'd already booked 2 months' leave. Then I was offered Everest from Nepal - together with a few others who had to switch from Tibet, and as I'd always intended to try Everest if I succeeded on Cho Oyu, it was a no-brainer. The only thing was I'd never gone above 7500m, but hey, what's a thousand or so metres between friends?   And it turned out none of the others in the team had done any 8000er either, so I wasn't the odd one out.

I met Mr Cool with Sir Ran first in Dingboche during the trek in, then occasionally passed them in the Icefall: cool guys both, if you get my drift. Ran is a really nice bloke, completely unpretentious despite his fame (how many baronets are like that?) and he corrected me when I asked him how many people in his team were going to climb Everest - ''You mean, attempting  to climb Everest' ''.

By the way LostMe, the Jagged Globe team was there in force - most of them were Irish, with one lone Scottish lady. We swapped DVDs with them at Base Camp (yes, we staved off the long boring hours in BC by watching DVDs).

Mountain Dan

Joined:

Mar 08

Posts: 297

Mountain Dan says:

Re: Climbing Everest

Well done on the climb Orpheus - to make a last minute change of peak you're attempting must have still been a little tough to call.  I know you say that Everest is not that technical, but that extra height it has on Cho Oyu means having to dig a hell of a lot deeper both mentally and physically.

My OH got a bit of frost nip to the fingers on a very cold and windy day on Aconcagua about 18 months ago - it took about 3 months for the tingly sensation to disappear fully, but she's OK now, so hopefully your fingers will be fine in a few months.

As for unpretentious and really likeable people, I spent a few nights with Erik Weihenmayer back in January in Nepal.  If you don't know who he is, he's the blind guy who climbed Everest.  As you say it's quite an undertaking to get to the summit, but to do it when blind is something else.  And to put the record straight, he wasn't led up there at all - he is a serious nutcase and a very accomplised rockclimber as well.  We were there doing a winter ascent of Island Peak, but he was over there climbing the Losar waterfall which was a 700m vertical iceclimb that you can see opposite Namche, so it put our climb into perspective !!!!  check out his website 'www.touchthetop.com' where he has some of his photos and other climbing achievements.

any plans to return to Cho Oyu?

Cloudwalker
orpheus

Joined:

Jul 07

Posts: 982

orpheus says:

Re: Climbing Everest

8000ers are off the agenda for the foreseeable future for me (thinking about a nice beach holiday.....) but maybe next year, when my digits grow back and my eyesight is restored, big white peaks might seem more alluring. On the other hand, 6000ers in Bolivia sound great too, as I'd never been there. Hmmmmm...

LostMe

Joined:

Sep 07

Posts: 1716

LostMe says:

Re: Climbing Everest

orpheus said:

.... By the way LostMe, the Jagged Globe team was there in force - most of them were Irish, with one lone Scottish lady. We swapped DVDs with them at Base Camp (yes, we staved off the long boring hours in BC by watching DVDs).


 

Yeah I know, I was kinda ***ked over I feel. Still got my cash back and have some different lunacy planned.

If you are not ready to pay a certain price (cash not accepted), then it would probably be wiser to stay home.
Davedirect

Joined:

May 07

Posts: 96

Davedirect says:

Re: Climbing Everest

Respect !!! - know the effects of altitude from a kili expedition made it to the top but lungs stated to fill with gunge on the way down they were going to stretcher me down but much to the porters relief the symtoms disappeared on descending a couple of thousand feet.  I'd need a new body to even think about going any higher

Dave

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snowman1

Joined:

Nov 07

Posts: 4795

snowman1 says:

Re: Climbing Everest

Can we see some piccies.......sounds amazing...in a pain filled kinda way.Great achievement.

orpheus

Joined:

Jul 07

Posts: 982

orpheus says:

Re: Climbing Everest

I used an old-fashioned film camera & took the photos on slide film...just got them processed, but something must have happened to the camera just after I took the first few shots at dawn from below the South Summit as all the other photos taken on summit day were over-exposed and came out almost white. My biggest regret was not taking any of the summit ridge from the South Summit onwards (which looked like a spiky Alpine top) before the clouds moved in and the weather deteriorated.

I haven't got scanning facilities but might be able to get a friend to scan them and post a few on here in due course.

BikerFool

Joined:

May 07

Posts: 6816

BikerFool says:

Re: Climbing Everest

Congratulations Orpheus, look forward to seeing the pics

Hope you heal back to your former self!

 

Life is not a rehearsal

Live it, love it

Badger_01

Joined:

Jun 08

Posts: 50

Badger_01 says:

Re: Climbing Everest

Congratulations Orpheus, what an incredible experience and accomplishment.  I am sure you have memories that will stay with you forever :-)  I can not imagine what it must have been like to see others that were not as lucky as yourself to get back to the bottom.  I hope your recovery goes well for you.

orpheus

Joined:

Jul 07

Posts: 982

orpheus says:

Re: Climbing Everest

Thanks everyone who posted messages of sympathy, congratulations and support here...I'm feeling a bit guilty now that I know I'll make a full recovery whereas at least one person on Everest this season never made it back to Base Camp, and several others suffered far more severe injuries than me.

Seeing the photos I took at the South Col, one of which showed the body of the Swiss climber wrapped up in a tent just a few metres from mine made me relive the whole experience and remember how thin the dividing line is between life and death in the Death Zone.

But since returning to sea level, I've already put back on a few kilos, and feeling stronger from visiting the gym (can only do swimming and weights as it's still painful to walk any distance!), and made me realise that even the relatively low altitude of Base Camp (5350m ) was too high to allow the body to recover properly. 

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