Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Namaste! Kathmandu.


Namaste; Hi from Kathmandu!
We arrived yesterday, safe and sound, at the Kathmandu Guesthouse in Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal :)
Although we did suffer a few mishaps along the way, including a worrying problem with the flight bookings, along with Dave and Wilco getting lost in the airport at Dubai! They went through the wrong exit, passed through immigration, and ended up going in to the city to view the Burj Khalifa instead of hanging out in the transit lounge for eight hours with me. I’d call that a lucky mishap!
We spent our first day exploring cool Kathmandu on foot in glorious sunshine and managed to purchase our trekking permits and bus tickets along the way. It is so nice to back in the melee of Asia once again.
We ate great local food; the Chilli Chicken Mo Mo is particularly fine and the local beer is very nice too!
We have a very early start for the bus tomorrow; Dave didn’t realise that you could actually get out of bed at 04.45am! We have a long day on the bus; the guy at the ticket office says it is six hours so that usually means at least ten! :D
We are looking forward to getting to Jiri now and getting started on the trek.
See you soon

A few images of Kathmandu

Stupa in Kathmandu

Some of the local art is amazing

Wilco collecting his trekking permit

Dave and Wilco in the local market

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Everest Base Camp weather!

Dave Slater mentioned to me that he had been checking the weather forecasts for the Everest Base Camp recently; so I thought I'd take a look. Makes for very interesting reading. I might have to pack an extra pair of socks!
Minus 50C in the mornings and "Feels like" minus 67C. At least it warms up the afternoons with a positively balmy minus 31C out of the wind! :D Very sunny too though; I'll pack my shorts!

Massive Thanks to Oakley UK Ltd.

I'd very much like to thank Ronnie Loveridge from European Customer Care at Oakley UK Ltd for outstanding service above and beyond normal expectations.
I had quite specific requirements because I needed 2 sets of lenses that would be compatible for both the Base Camp Trek and The Yak Attack. Unfortunately when I went to place my order for custom sunglasses on their website both of the lenses were out of stock. I was very close to hitting the panic button! :D
I contacted Ronnie for help. As soon as they were available Ronnie arranged for the assembly of the glasses and the lenses immediately; and then shipped them overnight so that I would receive them in time for our departure.
This is a process that normally takes 7-10 days plus shipping. Ronnie pulled it off in under 48 hours!
Now that's customer service. 
Huge thanks and huge praise from me for Ronnie Loveridge and Oakley UK Ltd.
World class service from a world class manufacturer.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

New sponsor announcement - PicStop.co.uk

 What Digital Camera BEST ONLINE RETAILER 3yrs running!

I'm very pleased to announce that PicStop have come on board with an unsolicited offer to supply us with Memory Cards and spare Camera Batteries for the trip.
Dave contacted them to make an order and asked if they could deliver them urgently. He then got chatting to Peter as to why he needed them so quickly and they were so impressed with our endeavour that they offered to supply them free of charge by way of sponsorship; and also very kindly added links to our blog site on their webpage! What a fantastic bunch of guys! :) Thank you very much Peter, we really appreciate your support. Hopefully we'll be able to return the favour with some great images of The Himalaya!

They also have a hugely popular Facebook page that is worth checking out here:  http://www.facebook.com/PicStop

And can be followed on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/#!/PicStop

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Neil and Dave visit the Rab factory.

Neil Cottam, Dan Thompson and Dave Slater at the Rab UK Headquarters.

Dave and I called at the Rab UK Headquarters in Alfreton, Derbyshire today to collect the Neutrino Endurance Jackets and Ascent 700 Sleeping Bags for The Himalaya Quest. Many thanks to Dan Thompson for arranging this for us and the generosity of Rab's parent company Equip Technologies for supplying them to us. It's been a great help and has allowed us to focus on the many other things we've had to deal with.

Thanks Guys. You're The Bomb! :)

Tricia Whitt commented  on our Facebook page that "It is all starting to look mighty real now!" OMG I think she's right! Seven months ago it all looked so far away; now with just over seven days to go it's starting to look a bit scary! :D But in a good way ;)
We are really looking forward to it now and I can't wait to see my old friend Wilco Voulon when he arrives in the UK, from The Netherlands, next Saturday to travel with us. :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New page added: Travelling light. Advice for Backpackers

After posting my Yak Attack pack list earlier I decided to do more detailed post on my normal travel packing.
I travel the world, whenever I can, with carry-on luggage and it's comfortably possible to do this with a pack size of around 35 litres and a weight of 8-10kgs.
Why not take a look at the new page and see if it helps you to travel lighter. 
With a smaller luggage burden you'll also being doing the environment a favour too. Double win! :)

Travelling Light. Advice for Backpackers

Don't forget you can follow us on Facebook:

And Twitter:  https://twitter.com/#!/HimalayaQuest

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Packing for Yakking!

I thought it might be of value to my fellow travellers to give you a look at how I pack light for travelling and in particular my pack list for our upcoming Himalaya Quest.

I’m one of those backpackers who likes to travel as light as possible and have been around the world using just carry-on luggage. I really got into this because of the budget airlines and the ability to keep my travel costs low by not having checked-in luggage. I then realised the value of not dragging too much stuff around and the freedom of being able to walk straight out of an airport without wasting valuable time waiting for my luggage to meander around the carousel. (And my backpack never gets lost!)
I normally use an Osprey Atmos 35 litre pack and if I can’t fit something in I probably don’t need it!
With a little thought and the use of versatile clothing it’s amazing how far you can travel with pack weight of under 10kgs. (Actually I’ll write another piece specifically for travelling light and stick to my Himalaya trip for this one).

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Under a wandering star.

Dave enjoying the view from High Tor, Derbyshire.

Dave and I headed to the hills again today for a spot hiking and to continue breaking our boots in for the trek. It will also help to condition our leg muscles for the rugged terrain on the route to Everest. Hopefully!
We met at Matlock in The White Peak area of The Peak District National Park at about 9.00am and sensibly headed straight in the nearest Costa’s for a cup of coffee! The thermometer was reading -5c and we fancied a warm up first :D

The view from The Limestone Way across to Riber Castle.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Trails & Tribulations.

Always smiling! Derbyshires Peak District National Park. Ladybower Reservoir in the backdrop.

Today (Thursday) we set out for a Dark Peak epic!

However as often happens it didn’t turn out to be quite the epic we had planned (no change there then! :D).
Mitch and I set out about 08.20am to hopefully meet up with Mark Franklin in Edale; the beating heart of Dark Peak mountain biking. The Captain (Mark Bishton) couldn’t make it today which was a shame because whenever The Captain comes out it means that I’m not the slowest rider! En-route Mark Franklin informed us that his van wouldn’t start and he wouldn’t be coming either. Just me and the wing-man today then (or am I his wing-man? Probably!).
The forty mile drive to Edale always flies by when you have the beautiful Derbyshire countryside for company and Mitch and I arrived in good time. It was unexpectedly windy when we opened the car doors and not a warm wind either. We shivered and grumbled as we got changed and prepared the bikes. It was a ‘jackets on’ job for the first few miles until we warmed up. Once mounted we retraced our steps along Edale road towards Nether Booth before climbing steadily up the bridleway that traverses Nether Moor, through Jaggers Clough and up on to ridgeline at Hope Cross. I stopped briefly to take a couple of photographs of the stunning views all around us; it is a truly beautiful place and I never tire of it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Health, Happiness & training tips for mortals.

Disclaimer (:D): I am an ordinary guy with a full time job and a life. I’m certainly not an athlete nor am I a sports scientist. Here I’m going to try and give you an insight into how I train and how I’ve been training for the Himalaya Quest. I’m not sponsored so every product that I recommend is tried, tested and paid for with own money. None of this may be suitable for you; although I’m sure some of it will help.

Anyone thinking of taking up a challenge like our Himalaya Quest or just wanting to get fitter should consider seeking advice from a professional; you can find plenty of advice online or consult an adviser at your local gym etc.
For me there are three important criteria for preparing for an event or for just living a balanced and healthy lifestyle; which is pretty much what I try to do these days.
All are equally important to me and help me to function better.

Fueling, Hydration and Recovery.