It is now only 9 days to go until I depart for Nepal. The first two bags with mostly food and high altitude gear are dispatched and are now on their way to Everest base camp. Fittingly, I spent the last outdoor training session again up in Scotland with Di Gilbert (who will climb K2 & Cho Oyu this season) and team-mate Rory (Everest bound). This time I picked the overnight sleeper train from London to Aviemore, which proved significantly more comfortable than the bus last time (even though i didnt book a berth for the journey). Once on the train, Rory and I had time for a review of gear lists and all sorts of discussion around our upcoming expedition. Exiting times. And so close now.
Day1: Cairngorms – Climbing the ‘hidden chimney’
After a day of mountain biking as warm up (see Moun
tain biking around Aviemore: Videolog), we hit Cairngorms on Saturday to work the bits of frozen snow that the thaw left us. Di picked us up at the youth hostel early on and we made our way to the usual starting point at the Cairngorm mountain center. The hike in was painless though some traffic on the hill made for a slow ascent and added some waiting time up the hidden chimney route. Rory did well on his first stab at technical climbing with two axes (as opposed to one for the usual high altitude mountaineering). In the end it was a rewarding route with some more technical bits in the upper section. While fun, the warm weather had a rather melting effect and left us all with soaking wet gloves (thank god we all had spares ;o). Just not a great winter overall this year I guess!
After the climb we headed back to the hostel, hit the pub and had lunch at the Cairn Gorm hotel (rating: good price, good portion, average quality). Rory kept sticking to his alcohol free beer while I enjoyed a few proper pints. There would have been the option to listen to climbing legend Cedar Wright and see some of his climbing movies at the Aviemore adventure festival, but we didn’t quite make it leaving Di all by herself (well, actually I hear it was well attended so she was certainly not lonely).
Getting to sleep was naturally painless that evening ;o)