A visit with Geoff a relative of the Beinn Eighe Lancaster crash crew to the Memorial at RAF Lossiemouth.

2018 May a visit to the Lancaster Memorial at RAF Lossiemouth it’s nearly completed.

Yesterday the body was struggling after a busy few days and I was walking like the “tin man”but after sorting out my gear I had a busy afternoon. Geoff who was with us yesterday on the walk up Beinn Eighe came over from Torridon to visit the new Memorial. His Uncle was Flying Officer Strong who was killed along with the rest of the crew. The time at RAF Lossiemouth and the current RAF Rescue Team spent some time with him.

It was great to see the attention he got and the kindness so thanks to all as the team was in the midst of a big visit from the Headquarters Flight. All the folk made his short visit a bit of magic and he went away very happy and so proud of the team and it’s work that few know about . Thanks  Shane , Willie, Simon, Ed and all the troops who went that extra mile.

After that we visited Wendy who husband Eric Hughes helped build the memorial in the 80’s at RAF Kinloss Mountain Rescue Hq. It had been taken of the hill by good pals from Grantown On Spey Activities Centre Tom Jones and Jim Morning plus a big squad of officer cadets and the SAR Helicopter.It would not have been an easy task as the propeller was on the top of the ridge about 50 feet down on steep loose ground, Health and Safety nowadays may have a fit?

 

1954 this is the Propeller that the boys from Grantown moved to RAF Kinloss it was just of the main ridge

Now it is in its new base at Lossiemouth Mountain Rescue and looking superb thanks to all involved. This would not have happened especially the Army engineers at RAF Kinloss who moved it and rebuilt the plinth. These things matter so much despite this being from an tragic accident 1951 it shows how we still care for those who gave so much.  Geoff is away home today he also visited the graves of some of the crew who are interned in Kinloss Abbey cemetery.

It was a dreich day yesterday Morayshire was not at its best but we need the rain as there is more sun on the way. I am still a bit sore so will give it a day before getting out on the bike. Over the last few days I have been blessed to meet so many good folk and meet some great new ones on Ben Nevis and Beinn Eighe.

As you get older you appreciate things more and it was great to see the attention Joss got at the Kinlochewe Hotel it was overwhelming as was the kindness throughout the weekend. There are so many great folk about all live busy lives yet never put of that visit to someone you love or care about, nothing is more important and as so many of us have love of the wild places we can give so much back. Many are getting older and as the health goes and life gets difficult spend some time talking about memories with those who are struggling. Make that call. visit that pal we spent so much time many of us in Mountain Rescue looking and risking our lives for those we do not even know. Look after those who have given so much, they deserve it. Fill you life with the young folk and live of their enthusiasm and it is great to see them grow and learn from the past and our mistakes.

This is a sad day as it is the Anniversary of the Manchester bombings and the media is full of it. Yet there is so many good folk in the world who we never hear about. I met a lot this weekend.

My mate Willie MacRitchie said these wise words.

“The kit on the outside and the equipment may have changed.
Underneath the heart and soul of the teams remains the same”

How true.

 

 

 

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Early start for Beinn Eighe from Achintee Ben Nevis to Torridon a wet day. A humbling experience among the great cliffs.

Sat night – I had an easy night leaving the group to relax after a lovely day on the Ben where we stayed at the Ben Nevis Achintee bunkhouse. I was up at 0500 had a quick breakfast and then headed for the 2 and a half hour drive over to Beinn Eighe. Leaving at t 0600 it was warm and windy as I left the car park at Achinttee at the bottom of Ben Nevis and there was no one going up the Ben yet!

The drive over was magical the roads quite and I cut over to the North West from the A82. It is not a road I  use often but what a cycle that would make it is interesting so many hills there were. I had great view of Ben Wyvis and then watching the dark crowds slowly coming in on the West.

I was going well so stopped as I was heading to Kinlochewe in the small car park to one of the great views to the village! It was a bonnie  scene and I saw a few stags about! There were lots of dark skies the forecast was not great with rain and gusty winds. For now it was a surreal view and I love it how many flash past here! I always stop I always make time and this is some view! Loch Maree and Slioch dominate and the Glen was in moody mood. The small village of Kinlochewe has a toilet open which is now a rare thing in the Highlands early morning. It was a quick stop and there were lots of van,s parking the night there. The Hotel at Kinlochewe was where the RAF Kinloss Team based itself in March 1951 in the car park in tents on the Lancaster Crash. It was a huge tragedy with all the crew sadly dying and due to the location of the crash it took several months to get all the casualties off the hill. One of the Team in 1951 Joss Gosling was a very young man on the RAF Kinloss Team now in his 90’s he manged to come up and while he stayed in the Hotel with his wife Annie all his family Ian, Heather and Andy has planned to come up to the Crash site a good 2 hour plus walk into the wild corrie.

The crew of the Lancaster that died on Beinn Eighe in 1951.

Also going up to the crash site was Geoff who annually makes a pilgrimage to visit the site. Geoff comes up for a few days and visits Joss and Annie and lives down South. We also had a few pals Mark, Kalie and Susan plus two dogs Islay and Lexi so after all arriving by 1000 we set of to foreboding skies. Just before we left we were amazed to see a big hind watching us at the car park, it looked pregnant and must have had a hard winter this year.

Geoff the relative of Flying Officer Strong

Photo – with the new plaque to go on the propeller up on the hill if we could get the old one off! Heather made me a couple bacon butties and a brew and i needed it as I was a bit stiff from yesterday and we were soon sorted and of up the hill.

To me this is one of the finest walks in Scotland it takes you through amazing mountain scenery. It is a “must visit” a great stalking path through stunning scenery. The weather was threatening but we were soon off and it’s a steady pull up to the beleach. It was then the wind and rain hit us and the start of on and off gear for the day. It was get the wet gear and a hat but we soon warmed up on but the path is great the river easy to cross and we only met a couple of folk!

It was so peaceful after the Ben Nevis walk yet both so different have so much to offer us. We are so privileged to enjoy these special places.

Its hard going I felt a bit tired due to lack of sleep but all were fine we stopped on the way up and I showed Heather, Ian and Andy where Joss their Dad and the Team  brought some of the casualties of the hill onto the Coire Dubh path. It is steep and loose and in winter formidable ground. I have always been amazed by what they achieved with such limited kit and equipment. I often took team members this way down in winter and the were amazed at what they did all those years ago.

Today there were few views of Liathach just mist and rain no views of the three great Corries or the Northern Pinnacles, this is God’s country whatever the weather. I love it it is never the same ever changing like the weather.

Photo A break out the wind just before the lochan where we had limited views sadly. There was still snow on the gullies and the mist was down as we walked round the lochan there would be no swimming today.

We soon saw the first wreckage in the distance and I pointed out the landmarks to all. Fuselage Gully still had snow in it and the rain was still on us but the wind had dropped in the Corrie. Ian told us as a young lad he and his Dad had climbed the gully in the summer nearly 40 years ago and  that was great tale. The gully is loose if you go up it summer and a propeller is jammed in the gully and is an historical piece of the Corrie now.

The wheel still looks huge !

When you see the wreckage scattered about you must never forget that 8 people died here in 1951 and to me it is a sacred place to many. This is hallowed ground and everything was looking well after a wild winter as we wandered about looking at the huge engines and wreckage including wheels.

THE CREW:-   PILOT   –  

 

Flt Lt H S Reid

SECOND PILOT Sgt R Clucas
NAVIGATOR Fg Off R Strong
SIGNALLER Flt Lt P Tennison
FLIGHT ENGINEER Flt Sgt G Farquhar
SIGNALLERS Flt Sgt J Naismith
  Sgt W D Beck
  Sgt J W Bell

Photo – The group at the memorial and great to see the whole Gosling Family together and getting an understanding of what Joss the team and the locals did at this sad time. It never seems to amaze me how special this Corrie is and how magnificent the cliffs are today shrouded in mist they were still impressive. I had a few hard days climbing some of the routes here many years ago.

2018 May heading down.

Sadly we could not get the palque off the troops had bolted in in in 2001 and it would take more tools and time to replace and remove it. That is for another day. It was a hard walk out the weather was not kind to us but we had a few stops in the driving rain it was a wild afternoon and most were in their own world and its a long way out. I was in my won thoughts of some of the epic rescues in this corrie and on Liathach huge call -outs some lasting 12 hours when the helicopters could not fly. I was young and strong then ad felt invincible. Yet today was so moving and what a place to be with lovely folk.

The weather clears quickly

Heather and Andy went ahead to collect Joss and Annie from the Hotel they were staying at and we had planned a meal at the Kinlochewe Hotel with all of us. My feet were sore from the Ben and we all got down safely even Islay having a wee sleep on my knee on a break and Lexi the other dog emptying my bag for food.  The stops were short and we soon got down about 1730. It was a quick change of with wet gear into the Kinlochewe Hotel. Joss arrived with Annie and it was an emotional time and such a privileged to see and speak to Joss . When I met Joss we were both emotional he is such a fine man as his family is and despite his memory falling we were soon chatting about his epic days on Beinn Eighe all those years ago. His memory came flooding back no ego just doing my job he said along with his mates. We follow in the footsteps of heroes.  He was treated royally by the Hotel Staff who knew his story it was wonderful and heart  warming to see.

Photo – Joss with the memorial in 2001 on the 50 th Anniversary.

Joss at the memorial in 2001

To me Joss is a wonderful man, such a kind man and one of my heroes he has such an insight into Mountain Rescue in the 1950’s . A special man to me along with his family!

Sadly I told Joss we could not get the old memorial off as the weather has badly rusted the bolts so it will be another visit soon to get the new memorial up. Joss was happy with our efforts and got to see it again and we had a laugh about our attempts too get it off. The new plque was designed by Heather and paid for both her and Geoff.  I promise with help we will sort it out.

The meal was great the Hotel looked after us royally and treated Joss and Annie with huge respect which made the day. Thank you that was so kind of you all. It was now getting on I said goodbye to all, some  were staying the night  and I headed home getting back  just after 2200. I was so tired and the body in bits it had been a long weekend.  I was so well looked after all day and all weekend and the company was superb so many kind friends and for Geoff to revisit the site again was great. To me to see Joss and the family especially up with Heather, Ian and Andy was great to see what their Dad and those hardy souls did all those years ago. It was all worth while. It is also great to be able to explain how hard a time Joss and the troops would have had in winter of 1951 with their gear and such a tragedy to deal with to his family.

Thanks to  all for a different weekend.

Geoff a relative of the crew who makes an annual pilgrimage to Beinn Eighe. Happy again after revisiting the crash site.

For more information there is much more on the crash on the blogs.

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Grand day on the Ben with the crowds – “and still they come” watch the sun lots of sun burnt folk about.

It was lovely day on Ben Nevis I was out with some old friends taking there pals up the hill. They had travelled from mainly down South a long drive up North Jenny visiting Elma at Crianlarich on route. Seemingly Elma the Grandmother of RAF MRT was in fine form.

Jenny one of the stars from RAF Mountain Rescue and her husband Val , Jamie (Val’s son) Eggy) another star from Mountain Rescue and supporting caste of Jenny,s dental-pals and colleagues.

In the Car park as we left.

We left the hotel in the Fort William and had an Indian Meal on the Friday night after everyone arrived.

It was a very good meal and hotel bunkhouse was fine. We were at the car park in Glen Nevis by 0915. The Ben was very busy with lots of sponsored walks on! There was a bit of worry by a few of our group as the reputation of the Ben to many is of the “Venomous one” It is amazing how more experienced climbers and walkers take a day on the Ben by the busy Pony track granted. To many it is quite rightly a big day and we had Zoey aged 10 who took it all in her stride.

it was the usual grind up the pony track hit to start with but we made reasonable progress and within the first

hour we were settled into a slow and steady pace! At the half way Lochan we had a break it was windy and hot and we needed plenty of drink. All were going well and despite my idea of hell with so many folk about and there were hundreds it was great speaking to the groups and many were doing the walk for Charity for various good causes. There was little litter on the hill which was pleasing and so many kids.

The path is in great condition and little litter and it was getting busier but seemed that everyone was on a mission to fund raise. It was perfect weather and we were soon at the Red Burn more water taken on and still snow left in Gully. It looked Alpine in the sun with plenty of snow about and is always a good place to stop and ” people watch ”

It was staring the get hot and then the final push up the Zig zags and the SAR chopper visited us and it was great to see. It buzzed us all and made folks day . It was a perfect day as the views of the Mamores opened up on the other side of Glen Nevis.

Then it was on past the new cairns into the patchy snow and the summit plateau. The Cairns are to me a great idea and keep you away from the North Face and its huge snow Cornices. They are a life savour in bad weather and I feel they are a great asset to allowing all types of folk to enjoy the hill safely?

As always it got a bit colder but all made it in three hours. The summit was mobbed and the great gullies were still full of snow and there were a pair of climbers on Tower Ridge. I mange do to have a wander over to see the great climbs and so many memories of past fun epic days on these cliffs. Young Jamie was talking about coming back to climb the Long Climb this summer. A big route to cut your teeth on the Ben!

It was great to see the joy of folk on the summit many had suffered from cancer to them this was their day and we must never forget it. I spoke to a few and it was amazing to see the effort and pleasure so many get. I feel we must never forget this aspect of the pilgrimage to the summit of the Ben. The joy and sorrow for many as they do this for their families or for a memory of a loved one.

It was then head of and get out of the wind. The hill was even busier on the way down all shapes and sizes all heading up! Everyone was in good form and we met so many folk enjoying the hill in great weather.

We met this lot today was something on?

We all got down to Achintee where we stayed the night in the bunkhouse and had a meal ! I am away early to Beinn Eighe this morning!

Thanks for a great day Jenny and all the group :

Photo Jenny and her sister Lynn on the Ben !

Val, Jammie Ritchard Andy, Lynn, Zoey

Richard Eggy “The Calendar Girls “Rebecca Abbie Lee Corey Tucker Christy

Plus the dogs Chase Skye and Ruby

“this is a quick blog I will hopefully try to update later”

Watch the sun a lot of badly sunburnt folk about just now!

Off to Beinn Eighe 0600 note to “self must slow down one day?”

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Good night in Fort William heading up Ben Nevis .

I am heading up Ben Nevis today with a big group containing several old pals from Mountain Rescue. Most have come from the Stafford area and arrived at all times last night! They have a lot of pals and we had a great day catching up.

Thanks

We managed a meal in the Fort at the Indian it was excellent and are staying in the Bank

Lodge Hotel! In the group there are many different abilities and a few have never done the Ben before! At times you forget it is a big thing for many so we should have a good day!

It was as always a noisy night with folk up early from various groups. We hope to be away by 0730 and move to Achintee a place of great memories of the past tonight. The weather looks good and it was a warm night in the Hotel!

Hopefully all will have a good day and achieve what they want!

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On way to Ben Nevis

I had a grand drive down to Glencoe today it was a superb day the hills were stunning! Snow was still high up on the hills but every thing was so green. This is superb time of year to see Scotland.

I stopped at Laggan and at the Loch I went to see if the Fly tipping had been moved. Some idiots had dumped a fridge a television and several tyres! I had written to the Highland Council in 2016 and I was told that it was sadly on Ardverikie Estate and they could not move it! It seems that the Estate has now got it sorted and what a difference it is.

Thank you for doing this who ever it was!

It was then down to visit a few pals including Hamish in Glencoe who was in fine form! He was with Rob Taylor we had a great afternoon! There was some great tales a grand afternoon. I also met Ian Nicholson in the village it was a busy afternoon then a quick coffee with Sue in Onich.

I am going up the Ben with a group tomorrow so they were all arriving from down South after a long drive. The weather looks great so let’s see what happens. I am going with several old pals Jenny who was one of the first girls in RAF Mountain Rescue and Val Singleton. Also is Val’s son Jamie and Eggy from Stafford!

It is great to see them all again!

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The Great Mull mystery a missing aircraft and pilot Christmas 1975 !

Last night I was called on the phone by an old pal Andy MacDade and his partner Marion. Andy was with me in my early days (1974 )in RAF Mountain Rescue in the RAF Kinloss Team.

He was up North and staying in the village and they asked me out for a beer and we had a long chat about the characters that were part of our lives then so many years ago . There were so many folk we chatted about and sadly these three are not with us now Mick Trimby , Mark Sinclair, Geordie Jewitt and Sid Green all  gone. They were great characters in our lives at the time and a reminder of how short life can be.. These were the days that all that mattered was the mountains and getting out on the hills even at Christmas.

We talked about big hill days and routes like the Mamores a big day for a new young troop. Andy sadly was a Celtic supporter yet we got on so well! We had some chats about Glasgow and the great rivalry. There is also when you meet a pal in Mountain Rescue a story always of a big call out that Andy spoke about. It was to the Island of Mull. On Christmas Eve in 1975, a tiny aircraft took off from Mull, never to be seen again.

Glen Forsa

The callout is well documented but the RAF Kinloss Mountain Rescue Team were at Fort William enjoying a peaceful break when the Police told the team on Christmas Eve that their was a missing aircraft on the Island of Mull. That was a Christmas Eve that few who were involved will forget! Can you imagine spending several days at Christmas on a big search? We searched the high ground ridges and places along with many Police and volunteers the weather was snow and sleet with poor viability it was hard going.

25-31/12/75 Isle of Mull Missing aircraft.  1 fatal.  Not found on search .  Body of pilot found four months later.  Aircraft found in sea 10 years later. Long hard search in poor winter weather. Great hospitality from the family where we stayed at Glen Forsa.

The plane that went missing that night was a red-and-white Cessna F150H, registration mark G-AVTN. In September 1975 it was purchased by Ian Hamilton, who kept it at the North Connel airport near Oban. But Hamilton was not the pilot when G-AVTN went missing on Wednesday 24 December 1975. At the controls was a 55-year-old businessman from London, Norman Peter Gibbs, who had learnt to fly as a serviceman during the Second World War. Gibbs’s body was found, in April 1975, on Mull by a local shepherd, Donald MacKinnon. It was lying on a hillside about a mile from the tiny grass airstrip from which Gibbs had taken off on Christmas Eve . No wreckage was found to indicate the fate of the aircraft. Gibbs had taken off at night in an aircraft and airfield that was not equipped for night flying and was relying on his partner with a torch to guide him in after a short flight in the dark after dinner. When he did not turn up then a big search started for several days but there was no trace.

We had searched high and low for the aircraft much in awful weather taking in some of the big hills Ben More and others and went back I think at the Easter. We were put up in the restaurant at the Glen Forsa Hotel in Mull near the airfield and looked after so well by the owners. There kindness and hospitality was exceptional and we chatted about the search and the wild days we had after the hill.  The drive from Fort William to get to Mull was exciting to say the least as we were looking forward to Christmas in Fort William. I remember the search it was a hard few days with no sign and we left after 3 days. We went back again a few months later to Mull but again we had no joy . We had all clubbed together to get our hosts a silver salver for looking after us all so well. It is always hard when you find no trace or clues and it became a bit of a mystery.

In September 1986 two clam fishermen from Mull were diving in the Sound of Mull when they reported coming across a red-and-white aircraft on the seabed. From what they were able to see, they did not detect any human remains in the plane. The divers, who were brothers called Richard and John Grieve, (both members of the Glencoe MRT)confirmed that the plane they saw was a Cessna, and that it did bear the registration G-AVTN. Their report was considered credible. It seemed that Gibbs, lost in the dark, had descended low over the sea while desperately trying to locate the airstrip. Somehow, fully clothed and in near-freezing conditions, he had managed to swim more than half a kilometre to the shore and had then climbed the hillside, only to die of exposure. How did so many miss him, the helicopters were using the airfield as a base and though the weather was poor it was a strange result.

It is still a mystery to what happend and there has been so much written about just Google and see.

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Lost pictures of the West Ridge of Everest 

Lost pictures of the West Ridge of Everest

Many will note it is Everest Season just now and the usual media is full of the stars and the annual pilgrimage to the highest mountain in the World. I was very lucky to go to Everest from Tibet in 2001 on the RAF Mountain Rescue Expedition. We had a great trip and it was successful with Dan Carrol and Rusty Bale getting to the summit! It was a none guided group of 12 pals and 6 Sherpas and one of the best trips of my life. It was successful as no one on our trip got hurt and we even helped in a couple of incidents. Most of all we all came back pals and uninjured. Sadly whilst on the mountain on our side of it there were 3 fatalities to other expeditions!

It was an incredible experience and as Base Camp Manager I had an wonderful time! At the end I was left with our 6 Sherpas at ABC at 21300 feet and helped them clear the mountain ! A big storm had come in it was at the end of the season and all the expeditions had left. It was just me and the Sherpas at Advanced Base Camp as we had 3 troops trying a last summit attempt but the weather defeated them. They headed down and I was alone with the Sherpas for 6 days at ABC . It was a wonderful time  but so busy and I got to the the North Col 23000 ft  as the Sherpas brought down so much rubbish and empty oxygen cylinders. The ropes were frayed and gone in places and yet the Sherpas carried so much gear of the mountain that had been dumped on this great Goddess of the snow. Our Sirdar Mingma was crazy when he saw me at the North Col and  was worried about me as I was alone. We had a laugh and he let me take some of the Oxygen bottles down to the camp. It was pretty scary but not to the Sherpas and out cook boy was even up at 8000 metres  helping what people.

There was no one else on the mountain s everyone had left and I was the last European high up, what a privileged! It was a feeling I will never forget I also left some dried flowers for Pete Boardman and Joe Tasker  who had died on the North East Ridge and I had  a wander up to that huge ridge.

My daily view from ABC of the ridge where Pete and Joe went missing.

2001 everest view tent

The Sherpas and I took an extra day to clean the mess left by other expeditions it was a tragedy as the snow melted what a mess! Winter had come early and all the other expeditions left in a hurry snow covering all the mess at the time. Then it thawed and what was left had to be cleaned up myself and our Sherpas took most of it down by Yaks!

Our Sherpas and cook and cook boy what great folk who looked after me and our team so well.

Tibet ABC Sherpas

It cost us an extra 500 dollars to get the rubbish moved  and was worth every penny. We were trying to leave this stunning place as it should be and Mingma and the Sherpas were so upset by the rubbish left. There can be no fires up here as this is a sacred place and many just use this as an excuse and with the poor weather meant after a long trip climbers want to get home. There is an environmental levy but at the end of the season in 2001 no one seemed to care. As normal there was no one there to Police it.

2001 Everest ABC Rubbish

On the trip whilst the team was aclimbitising I went into the West Ridge where friends had tried to climb the mountain in 1988. One of my best friend Al MacLeod was on the summit push which failed in the Hornbein Couloir with Dave Nicholls. It was Al  (who later died on the Matterhorn North Face) who said we should go to Everest and that we could with luck get a purely Mountain Rescue Team on the summit. His expedition in 1988 was a huge trip on a Joint Services Trip. Al was the lowest rank there and Dave was a Captain who later became a Brigadier and in charge of the Marines in later years was a superb man. Sadly he passed away just after he retired as a young 57 year old. I had met him at Al’s funeral and in the Falklands where he was the main man in charge and was very kind to me. Al though the world of him so he must have been some man.

Cleaning up Base Camp on the last day. Take nothing but photos leave nothing but footprints?

2001 everest clean up

The American ascent of Everest by the West Ridge wholly deserves the comment made by Charles Wylie, a member of the 1953 British expedition – ” the most remarkable feat I have heard of in high-altitude mountaineering.” It was remarkable in three respects. The American pair, Unsoeld and Hornbein, achieved a major climb by what was undoubtedly a very difficult route which no previous party had explored at all. In 1953, the British party stood on the shoulders of the Swiss party of 1952, and the Swiss to some extent on Shipton’s reconnaissance of the Khumbu Icefall in 1951. The Americans were on virgin ground for more than 9,000 feet. Second, these two made the first traverse of a great Himalayan peak, ascending on one side and descending another. Third, two American parties reached the summit on one day by different routes. A wonderful day!

It is not surprising that the West Ridge has hardly been considered in the past. It requires a longer high-level effort than any other approach. From the South Col, the rise is about 3,000 feet in one mile; from the North Col, the jumping-off point of the pre-war British parties and of the Chinese, it is 6,000 feet in two miles; from the Khumbu La, where the West Ridge begins, more than 9,000 feet in more than three miles. The middle section of the ridge seems to be gently inclined, but the upper part to be rocky and steep. (The climbers ran out of pitons.) Ever since the Nepal approach was open, climbers have concentrated on the Khumbu icefall and the South Col. Yet, oddly enough, the Khumbu La was the first of the possible jumping-off places reached by man. Mallory got there in the first reconnaissance in 1921, but in thick mist, and could see nothing beyond. From lower down, he had enjoyed good views of the North Ridge, and its obvious approach attracted all subsequent parties on that side. If he had reached the pass on a clear day, would the West Ridge have received earlier attention? In 1955 a party led by Norman Dyhrenfurth, leader of this year’s expedition, reached the Khumbu La from the south side. The idea of a West Ridge route may have sprung from that visit.

North_face_marked

  Green line Standard route from north, mainly identical with Mallory’s route in 1924; high camps on c.7700 m and 8300 m (indicated by two triangles), present day camp on 8300 m is located a bit further west.
  Navy blue line Zakharov Couloir.
  Light blue line Messner’s traverse from north ridge to Norton Couloir in 1980 (“Everest Solo by Fair Means”) w/o O2.
  Red line Great Couloir or Norton Couloir.
  Purple line Complete northeast ridge with Three Pinnacles; Japanese route to the top. Climbed before by Russell Brice & Comp., but only the purple-marked part of the ridge, without going to the summit; descent via standard route.
  Yellow line and

Dark blue line

American 1963, “The West Ridge”.
  Orange line Yugoslavian route, 1979.
  Dark blue line Hornbein Couloir.
1 Resting place of Mallory’s body, discovered in 1999 (graveyard with more than 15 bodies, according to Conrad Anker).

2001 Everest base shed

I went into the glacier on my own away from the main route to the North Ridge and  spent two separate trips in this wild place. I met only two others on this side of the mountain. Two Americans on an Alpine attempt on the North Face, how small they looked and sadly they never made the summit. It was an incredible place so wild and untouched away from the crowds and to see the West Ridge was stunning. I took lots of photos and even found a couple of campsites as this was the way the earliest Expedition in 1921 with Mallory had gone when they were trying to find a route to the North Ridge. What would have happend if they had gone this way. As you can imagine I took so many photos as this was a unique place to be and all photos were pulled as we had a photo sponsor Peak Imiging who did us so well with our photos after the trip. Sadly in the return and all the hustle and bustle my photos were not there when we got the Team photos back and over the years I had forgotten about them. Then the other day I was clearing out some stuff and found my diary on the trip.

2001 Good Everest Sunset

I recently emailed them but have little chance of finding any as it was 2001 amazingly 17 years ago but you never know. I live in hope.

My last view of the huge massive of Everest The official Nepalese name for Mount Everest is Sagarmatha which means ‘Mother of the Universe’. Tibetan Name: The official Tibetan name for Mount Everest is Qomolangma or. Chomolungma which means ‘Goddess Mother of the World’.

2001 everest wander to ABC - Copy

Yet I will never forget that trip the amazing trip, our shed, the Sherpas and my lone walk down for ABC to Base camp in a snowstorm with limited kit ahead of the Yaks and the Sherpas. It ended with  my last look at the North Ridge and the mountain before the snow shower hit with a vengeance and hard to believe you were still high up at 20000 feet. It was a struggle all the way back, I lost the path at times in the snow, I felt very tired but at peace. We were all safe and well, we had experienced a lifetime of highs and lows in our 3 month trip.  I felt alone in this wild place I was a couple of hours ahead of the Sherpas and the Yaks  and then it was head down for a few hours into a bitter wind. I was glad to get back to Base Camp and the boys were worried about me. There was still plenty to do in the next two days before we cleared Base Camp at 17000 feet.

What a trip and even 17 years on it pulls at the heart in more ways than one.

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