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Kanchenjunga Expedition - update 13 April 2018

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View from Khote, in the Hinku Valley. View from Khote, in the Hinku Valley.
It is always good to be humbled when climbing big mountains.   When we planned this expedition, various discussions with team members had us arrive at a decision to climb the south-west face route, from Kanch’s south base camp.

Going with the team decision, I was happy with that.  I also knew that a New Zealander, Norman Hardie, was on the first summit team that reached the summit in May 1955.  He was from a generation of climbers who forged the way for climbers of today - and he was one of them.  To learn just today that Norman Hardie was from my hometown of Timaru in New Zealand makes this expedition even more special – I can’t believe I did not know this before.  It is a small place of around 28,000 people, off the main tourist bus route in southern New Zealand, but you can see Aoraki Mt Cook from some high points in the town on a clear day.

At this end, everyone here is going great.  Chris Warner, one of the USA’s leading climbers is on our team, and is always an awesome team member – he has a long list of major ascents, has been a guide on kazillion expeditions himself, and you might remember from my old blogs that Chris led a large team of westerners and Sherpas on a rescue/recovery effort on Makalu in 2014 that Lakpa and I were part of.  Chris was part of our team last year and it was an email from him that got me thinking that we would come back this year.  I’m trying to convince Chris to write another book as his stories are so interesting, with subtle messages and lessons and they are way too funny for high altitude.  Few people move as fast as Chris in the mountains so he was pretty handy the other day in fresh snow when all others had to do was follow his footprints – although, Chris said he just followed the dog in front of him that was intent on going the whole distance to the next village with him.

Steve Hart, also from New Zealand, from the deep south of Wanaka, is here and also going really well.  Steve is no stranger to the Himalaya and he and his family have been to Nepal many times.  Steve has come armed with New Zealand treats, only available in New Zealand, so I’ve decided to walk behind him in the hope that some fall out of his backpack.

All other ‘Expedition Base’ team members are in good shape and acclimatizing well, as we prepare for an ascent of Mera Peak in just under a week, weather permitting.  After that, we will fly across to Kanch base camp and prepare to move up.

Our plan is to do one solid rotation on Kanch (maybe 4-5 days), and reach our Camp 3 at about 7,300m, before descending and waiting for a summit weather window.  This would follow reaching over 6,000m on Mera Peak and hopefully reaching 6,476m or so if the weather gods let us summit.

If we have to wait for a summit weather window on Kanch, then we may ascend again to Camp 2 or so to keep up our acclimatisation.

Most likely, I won’t post again until after we come down from Mera Peak.  You can follow here and also on the Facebook page, plus Expedition Base’s Facebook page.

Thanks for following! 

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