In just over a week, I board a plane from Manchester to Nepal to realise the dream of seeing Everest.
I can’t recall when it started, this fascination with Everest. Perhaps it’s memories of Chris Bonnington led expeditions in the 70’s, when news reports on Everest were characterised by adventure, courage and national pride, rather than commercialisation and death statistics. Perhaps it’s childhood conversations with my two uncles, both climbers, both of whom must have been inspired by that golden age of climbing. Whatever the reason it was buried deep in my psyche, a constant background presence, a subconscious interest occasionally brought to the surface by a news report, or a television documentary, or a browse in the travel section of a book shop.
Around ten summers ago it once again surfaced, but this time it didn’t want to go away; a real desire to walk in the Himalaya and see Everest with my own eyes, rather than through a documentary film makers camera, the urge to go while I still had the legs.
Every year since I promised myself I’d make the journey, every year there was a compelling reason that blocked my way, until this year, my 50th year, when I finally ran out of excuses and literally shaking with excitement phoned to book the trip.
So tonight I find myself packing flat pack toilet paper and a small trowel in case I get caught short on the trail, a few days away from setting foot on a place higher than I’ve ever been before, and then slowly by surely as my body acclimatises, heading in the direction of up, to finally discover this epic mass of rock, the highest point on Earth, this place of legends, for myself. All the time remembering that what’s a real adventure for me has been trodden by many thousands of feet before, and is simply the starting point for those who actually go on to attempt the mountain itself.
Of course I’ll be taking a couple of cameras with me to record the trip. The Sony RX1rII, so light and small, you hardly know you’re carrying it, and yet produces images of amazing resolution and quality, and the Sigma DP3 Merrill, which I fully expect to reproduce in epic detail the majesty of the mountains in a way that only a Foveon camera can. I’ve wrestled with buying some sort of travel zoom, but in the end decided to stick with what I have, and what I trust to do the job.
So that’s in for now. With the toilet paper and trowel packed I need to check over the camera gear, order a few last items for the trip, and then head to bed, perchance to dream of the Mountain.
When proof reading this blog post I found the section below, written by Polly while I slept. She’s a real talent for words and tbh it’s the best bit of the blog!
The sheer magnitude of my achievement will make my bowels turn to liquid and spew and spray from my tight black boxers, but i won’t care because i know Polly is proud of me, and I will be careful and come home safely. I will leave my crusty underwear on the wind swept slopes as a gift to the gods, should I ever wander this way again I may see wisps of cotton ( black with brown splatters ) caught in the thorny bushes of Nepal.