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Organising a trip to see a client in London and the train tickets are £38 for 2nd class or £29 1st class. Now let me think about that one for a few minutes.

Ama Dablam – limited space available

I’m not quite sure what is so special about Monday 4th July (apart from in the USA of course) but for some reason I received an unprecedented 5 enquiries about this year’s expedition to Ama Dablam. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, but I’m just surprised it was 5 all on the one day rather than being spread through the week.

A couple of them are for the regular KTM to KTM trip but the rest are for bespoke itineraries taking in a bit of trekking initially and then meeting at Base Camp so I’m cracking on with those schedules today. There’s now only a few places left so if you are thinking of coming along then please get in touch sooner rather than later.

This is on top of the 3 enquiries I’ve had about Everest 2012 just last week so at this rate it looks like it’s going to be over subscribed. There are also folk interested in Everest 2013 and ’14!

Helped out on a Bob Graham leg 5 a couple of weeks ago – a great family event with loads of kids involved from Littletown back to Keswick. But commiserations to the friend of Roel and Kerry (Ama 2009) who completed in 24 hours and 8 minutes.

The B&B is looking pretty busy for July and August with some weeks having limited or no availability. Our housekeeper Suzanna is doing a sterling job and maintains the highest standards, as you would expect from a 4* establishment.

As ever I’ve had the usual calls selling advertising in far away counties, or buying top places on the interweb, so I’ve added a couple of links on to the Elm Tree Lodge home page for advertisers and webmasters to click. Perhaps when they read that we are already on Page 1 or high on Page 2 of Google, and that over 60% of our enquiries are from search engines, of which 50% are our organic listing on Google, they will leave us alone. We’ll see.

Ama Dablam 2011 and Everest 2012

Another busy day. Looked after the kids because Ali was on the 10 in 10 event (10 mountains around Buttermere in under 10 hours raising money for MS. Unfortunately in the pouring rain and thick mist). Met up with them fleetingly at Honister.

Took a booking for Ama Dablam so that expedition is now nearly full. And have managed to get some more pics from the 2011 expedition on to the Everest 2012 website.

More to follow …

A slideshow for a small audience

Gave a small slideshow presentation … for Grace’s class. Really great to manage to show them all what it is that ‘Grace’s Dad’ does when he goes away. Just kept it short as they are 5 & 6 year olds but it was nice to get them answering questions about what they thought the various pictures were of like; ‘what’s in the cylinder?’, ‘so why do we use oxygen?’, ‘what’s that animal?’ etc etc. Loads of questions at the end as well – so they seemed to have been interested in it all. Which is cool.

Have eventually managed to get back to being on the top page(s) of Google and Yahoo again. Hadn’t realised that being away for 2 months would have such an impact on the various websites and we were on a lowly page 3 and even Page 4 for some keyword combinations. Yikes!

Launched a new website last week and we’re on Page 1 of Yahoo and Page 3 of Google already. Yip yip. Page 1 here I come.

Climbing, Ama Dablam and Project X

Well it’s been a while but I’ve managed to clear my post Everest in tray, catch up with the family and start to get out and about a bit.

Supported Fiona Grove on her Bob Graham Round and what an effort she put in. I was sort of (post expedition high) tempted to join her but I’m glad that I didn’t. Supported leg 5 and when we got in to Keswick it felt like I’d done 3 or 4 of the legs back to back. Absolutely nothing left in my legs after being severely depleted on Everest.

Have had quite a few Ama Dablam enquiries for this year and next (the mailing list for enquiries for Ama 2012 has topped 20 already) and have met various people for the next couple of expeditions.

Got out climbing with Ali the other day and turned up to the crag without my harness (it’s been a while. In fact this was my first summer rock route since last September). So I tied in around my waist and climbed old school – but I tell you what you don’t half feel vulnerable when you haven’t got a comfortable padded harness on. So we pootled up Eve and had a great time.

Have managed to get some interest for me to do a lecture circuit next winter. Not quite sure how many venues but it will probably just stay in county. Although, as I write, I’ve just remembered a couple of venues who were showing interest before I went away. So I’ll get that lined up and publish a programme accordingly.

Am also in talks with various people and comapnies regarding ‘Project X’ – a massive personal undertaking that I have planned for next year.

In the meantime don’t forget to check out the various video clips from the recent Everest expedition (embedded in the Blog – see below) and I have added a 5 part series to YouTube of an hour long film I made of the expedition. If you are interested in having your own copy then get in touch and I’ll drop it on to dvd for you (there’s a £5 charge to cover P&P).

Sit back and enjoy the show.

And lest we forget there’s the B&B. We appointed Suzanna as housekeeper to run the show whilst I was away and are keeping her on until the autumn. She is doing a terrific job and keeping the place in tip top condition. This is great because not only does it mean that we can go away for our first ever summer holiday, but it also frees me up for the climbing bookings that I have throughout summer and will make the run up to the next Ama trip that bit easier as well. Plus plenty of time and energy to devote to ‘Project X!’

Watch this space.

… summit push continued

So … Giles was at C2 and the rest of us holed up at The South Col. We could have perhaps made it down further but we were very tentative about the fact that we would have then been on The Lhotse Face in the heat of the afternoon having probably not really had enough to drink through the previous 4 or 5 days. Not a great combination. So we dived (crawled) back in to the tent and brewed up and rested. Effectively this made it our 3rd night at, or above, the South Col. Quite a long time to be loitering at around 8,000m but with a little bit of oxygen every so often and with pretty much constant brewing up we maintained and looked after ourselves and kept in good order. Well worth the investment in time and effort.

May 21st – up and away and down the ropes towards C2 (and Giles was off down to Base Camp). A longish day but reasonably straight forward given that it was pretty much downhill all the way. Nice to be back down to a more oxygen rich environment compared to the altitudes we’d just been subjected to for the last week or so.

It was a great shame to find ourselves sliding down the ropes past a dead Japanese climber. We’d seen him on the summit push – just sitting in the snow with his hand held out – but he’d already died on the 12th and the weather had been such that recovery of the body had been impossible until the 20th. The long and short of it is that we’d heard it was his 3rd attempt on Everest and, for whatever reason, he’d had an argument with his Climbing Sherpa. He’d told his Climbing Sherpa to piss off, which he duly did, leaving the Japanese chap to his fate. Anyway it was a poignant reminder about the environment we were in and a suitable focus to make sure that we were going to make it down to C2 safely.

May 22nd – Spent the night at C2 and then up (at 5) and away early (6) to make sure we were down through the Khumbu Icefall before it started hotting up too much. It was amazing to see the differnce between how it had been a fortnight ago and what it was now like. There had been many subtle (and some not so subtle) changes and movements and it was definitely better to be there early morning whilst everything was still cold and frozen.

Talking of cold … when we got to Base Camp we were given the BEST bottle of coke EVER.