Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Acclimatisation begins

So we made it, well this far at least. And here begins the lengthy slog to base-camp – a full 10 days of taking it easy so our bodies can perform miracles to cope with an ever diminishing supply of oxygen.
We have two full days here in Kathmandu to collect ourselves, meet the rest of the expedition and see the sights. This feels like a complete luxury on a film shoot, but we are doing everything a normal climbing client would do on their way in to Everest, ensuring that we are in the best physical condition to cope. You can drive directly to the mountain from here in just a couple of days, and indeed that is what our expedition leader Russell Brice and five truck loads of kit will be doing, but I’m told it’s a totally brutal way to do it unless you have pre-acclimatised. Our high altitude cameraman Mark Whetu has been out here a while trekking so will head in with Russell to film some of the setting up but I believe Russell has just been in Kathmandu organising this huge endeavour. For him to go straight in hints at just what an old tough mountain man he is. No doubt I’ll be writing here how bad it feels acclimatising, even on our gentle route in, so just remember him going straight up to base camp – a mere 5200m! (17,000ft)
We will fly to Lhasa on Saturday – the traditional home of the Dalai Lama in Tibet, cruising straight past Everest in our plane at an altitude well below the summit. We will then spend until the 7th of April slowly winding our way up the Himalayas before we arrive at base camp feeling rough as a dog.
During this time we’ll be exploring the beautiful and mad cities of Kathmandu and Lhasa, whilst getting to know the climbers on the expedition without sticking a camera straight in their face. Already we bumped into Max Chaya, our Lebanese climber on the connecting flight from Qatar to here. And on our arrival at the hotel, Mogens Jensen from Denmark and Mark Inglis from New Zealand were relaxing in the lobby.
It’s great to hook up with these guys again having spent the last few weeks on a frantic round the world tour trying to meet them all. You can see a definite change in the climbers - a reflective and thoughtful edge to their characters as the reality of what they are undertaking sinks in. After months, if not years of preparation, they are finally underway on possibly the most rewarding but dangerous expedition of their lives. Recent emotional separations from families and loved ones obviously fill their thoughts. We said goodbye with a 70day trip to contend with, these guys said goodbye with the summit of Everest - possibly the most inhospitable place on this earth, between them and a safe return home.
There are good omens though. We just finished our first production meeting on the roof of our hotel, and as we sat there we witnessed a partial eclipse of the sun. Amazing.


Blogger Nabil said...

Best wishes, to all of you, of health and success (whatever that may be) on and off the mountain. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

2:04 pm  
Blogger matt reid said...

good luck ed and team, if you do well i'll make sure to tell the Queen

6:33 pm  

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