Location: Melbourne, Australia
Altitude: Sea level
Local Time: 1pm, 20th March 2006
Weather: +23C Cloudy
Hi everyone, its Fiona here.
We’ve been overwhelmed with all of your messages – it’s absolutely fantastic to be receiving support from everyone, including all our cycling, hiking, travel and work friends. It’s also great to hear that a Canadian school will be following our quest to climb Mt Everest. (By the way Liane, we’re not familiar with your school system, what age are the students you’re teaching at QECVI?).
A song about climbing Everest
I’d also like to give MC a special thank-you for the song he/she submitted titled “Live Your Dreams”. For those that haven’t seen this, I’d encourage you to have a look (it’s a message sent in to our last update). I think its lyrics are relevant to lots of situations (except maybe the line about “your head it throbs and you feel sick – it’s hard to breath the cold thin air” – that combination of feelings are probably reserved for mountaineering. You’ve set the bar high, but I’ve thrown the challenge over to my Dad who has been known to produce the odd poem when sufficiently motivated. Anyone else out there? These will be great to show around base camp.
Our farewell party – yes, we’re really going
Yesterday, our family put on a farewell afternoon so that we could catch up with most of our friends and family before we leave. Seeing everyone made it all suddenly seem very real – almost everything has been crossed off the list and yes, we’re really going now! It also made us realise just how much we will miss everyone while we’re gone. Two-three months, is not a long time to go traveling around Europe, but it’s a long time to be on the side of a mountain for without many home comforts!
We took along some of our equipment as a bit of a “show and tell” and I loved the question “So if you didn’t put this on [the down suit], how long would it take to freeze to death?” I didn’t have an answer for that one – nor do I really want to know as I don’t think we’ll be forgetting to put it on!
We received a fantastic gift of an Australian flag covered in messages from our friends and families. Its all wrapped up so that we can look at it after receiving the traditional Puja blessing at base camp. We also received a laminated four-leaf clover – we’ll definitely be carrying that with us.
We were very pleased to have John Willis at the farewell – Paul’s outdoor education teacher from St. Leonards who introduced Paul to hiking, climbing and other sports. I think Paul’s father greeted him with something like “this is all your fault you know!”.
Both of our families and many of our close friends have contributed in so many ways to getting us to a stage where we’re able to have a go at reaching our goal of climbing Mt Everest. Whether it’s been fitting in around our rather inflexible training schedules, looking after our house and dogs while we’ve been away, or encouraging us when it’s all gotten a bit much. We both feel like we’ve got fantastic support behind us.
Flying out tonight – if the plane can hold all our gear
It’s now about 12 hours until we fly out of Melbourne tonight. Our flight leaves at 1:15am, flies to Bangkok with about 4 hours stop-over, and then continues onto Kathmandu, Nepal. Our first big hurdle will be negotiating the huge amount of luggage we have (approximately 140kgs!). Thai Airways have given us an extra baggage allowance, but that only takes us up to 80kgs so we definitely have some sweet-talking to do. Will let you know how it goes.
Our next update will hopefully be submitted over the satellite phone from Kathmandu.
All the best,