Tuesday, 27 December 2011

How do you express passion?

How do you express passion?
How do you explain reason to events only you have encountered?

Having navigated my small plastic kayaks down the rivers of EVEREST and K2 I wish to share with others some of the thoughts, feelings and emotions that come from such an act. More will come as I get near to returning to the great mountain - a solo trip this time, a double run on the tears that fall from Everest.

Gazing up the valley from the Rongbuk monastery in Tibet  the majestic peak of Everest (Sagamartha) showed herself through the parting clouds. Beside my small tent sat a small plastic kayak still wet from the river.

Sat against the wall of the monastery  I could not help but choke on the emotions that had built up. All the trials of the past had lead to this moment I had finally become the only person to have kayaked down all the rivers that flow from the great mountain.

The Arun in Nepal. A trip littered with problems not least the encounter with Maoist rebels and the sound of gun shots. Eighteen months later I trekked into Namche Bazaar to run the Dudh Kosi river. In the enforced boundaries of Tibet I had managed to ride the last of the three rivers that flow from Sagamartha. Droplet tears fell down my bearded face. As the realisation of what I had done swept over me.

I had not been alone on any of these river, kayaking with great friends.  But each river had been a different team. I was the only constant on all three expeditions. Even now sitting alone, looking out of the rain stained window of my cottage I find it hard to identify with what I have achieved.

Those that ask often look blankly into mid distance as I reel off story after story. How do I rationalise what I did? How will those that listen understand the private thoughts. In the telling all bravado and ‘extreme experiences’ seem to emanate from the words although this is not the reason. Through the re-telling it is hoped that the perception of ‘extreme’ sports offer more than just  an adrenaline filled lifestyle. 

This is a journey for myself, a solo quest, I know that I will find the truth. That moment when you are with your god. The moment when the devil of your mind runs away and hides in the memory.
It is this time, the place I must force myself to go, that I crave. I want to know myself, to deal with my own whim, without the pull of peers, or the ties of blood. I ache to know the feelings of the night, when the dark sky forces sleep and the dreams grow cold in the soul.


Tuesday, 20 December 2011

What to wear.

It is a task that I have looked forward to with a mix of pleasure and guilt. What Berghaus products should I take on this expedition. What do I need, over what do I want. Sure in our comsumer world the best is always seen as the most expensive. But that is not what its all about.

Over the weekend I did a mock gear list, using gear I already own and have used on previosu trips. I took the gear lists from the Stikine, Tibet and Pakistan trips, along with the Alsek gear list I had.

A constant feature on all these trips was a good jacket for camp and off the water time. I need a jacket that offers a warm shell but also a small pack size, as it will spend lots of time in a drybag  stuffed in the back of my boat.


I have chosen the Men's Mount Asgard Hybrid Jacket.

It is a simple fact that a cold night or morning will kill the spirit and make for negative emotions to breed. This jacket will help in keeping the spirit lifted. I have also added a gilet for extra protection at high levels. Men's IgniteVest.

For  the trip a selection of baselayers both thermal and coolmax have been chosen, for both legs and body. These range from the simple tshirt style to zipped neck long sleeve. It is proposed that the walk in to the rivers Dudh and Arun I will wear a short sleeve or long sleeve cool max and I will upgrade to a long sleeve (x2) thermal for river use. Camp will return me to the simple base layer of the trek.

Fabrics will be treated as always with Grangers products both during and after tge expedition.

The walk in to these rivers I will be wearing cargo pants, with thermals and shorts worn when on the river. Berghaus have produced a fine shoe, with a low cut and vibram sole, that I know will adapt well to river situations, coupled with some wool socks, the show will also be used on the trek.

I have yet to think about my wet gear. Helmet and pfd are obvious, as is a boat and paddle. I am having trouble with choosing my dry top from my selection, stuff in drybags in Kathmandu. My instinct is to use a none latex jacket. I simply dont want a latex gasket failing me on the trip, if I take the latex out of the equation, thats one less worry. Nookie do a few jackets that have none latex necks, along with the zone that is a full latex free jacket. This is one of my most well used jackets, a simple solution and still 100% dry.

I may be updating this list as time goes on.