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So this is the end...

So this is the end, we have landed back in the UK after much excitement to see our loved ones again. The flight from Nepal almost seemed as exciting as the flight into Nepal, yet this time more anxious to get home that last time. Most people on both flights slept, you could honestly tell we were all absolutely exhausted from the trek and the time spent in Kathmandu. Once successfully through the airport we headed to our final destination for us as a team, another journey well spent will all of us asleep as had become all too common on the way home. When back we almost fell asleep immediately, waiting for the morning to start planning our presentation for the many of whom we were all so grateful to for helping us along our way, be it funding or training.
We have all learnt and seen a lot over the last 18 months, throughout the training and the expedition itself. It is almost simple to see when looking back at us so long ago, when we all met one another for the first time, how much we have changed not just in appearance but we have all grown up. From the leaders of our expedition, who had never lead an expedition before stepping up to do what is the best for us all even in the most dire situations; to the younger ones in our group, when it was their turn to take the lime-light and keep the team going, they did so to the best of their abilities, keeping us all motivated to reach our goals during the trip. So you can see that it is not just a physical change that has undertaken us when travelling from the high reaches of the Scottish Cairngorms to the even higher point of Island Peak  in the Himalayas, but also a mental change. The bonding of a team from not many of us knowing each other to us becoming the best of friends that we could really put your faith in for situations when we needed them the most.
During the training and the expedition we have had some brilliant times, people falling into rivers and down snow slopes; sleeping in snow-holes in Scotland and watching the impeccable starlight night sky above us; having some of the scariest flights known to man and meeting, laughing and spending time with all of the Sherpa Guides that took us so far in such a little time. We could laugh it all away, no one was injured – of which is always a good thing – and we most defiantly all had a wonderful time.
The presentation went well, with only a few tears shed, but now it is time for us to be going our separate ways for a short time before we shall be doing something, anything, somewhere and somehow. It is sad to say the least to be writing this, but it shall not be the last from HSX and nor from many of the members from this expedition.
Many thanks to all that helped us along the way, from sponsorship in the Light My Fire Adventure Blog, our parents for putting up with us all for the next few months endlessly talking about our adventures and finally the expedition leaders and Sherpa guides who made this trip happen and for it to be most defiantly one of the best around.

You will be hearing from us again.
Goodbye and Thanks!


Back In Kathmandu


Once we had arrived back in Hotel Thamel we had a quick de-brief, being advised to shower and wash our clothes before they rotted off of us, giving us lunch money for us to go our separate ways for lunch. We were then given free-time to go and explore before we had to meet at 6 for dinner at K-Too Steakhouse.
On the Saturday we were treated to another cultural tour to Changu Narayan , another temple where Buddhists and Hindu's can worship together. Our tour guide taught us whilst walking around about the many stone statues within the temple area. From here we left and headed for Bhaktapur Durbha Square, of which was many small squares not just one. Within one of the many squares there was a temple, one of the few to be left standing after the 1934 major earthquake.  After lunch we were shown around some more then headed back to the hotel before free-time for the rest of the day and to head out in small groups to get our own dinner.
On Sunday we drove for a few hours out of Kathmandu and into the foothills of the Himalayas to go white water rafting. We we six to a raft with some of us sharing with a group of guys from the Czech republic. The rapids were awesome with some of them being graded as 3+ (on a 1-5 scale). We all sat on the edge of the raft with our feet inside the raft positioned such that we didn't fall out. However the river had other ideas. On one of the first rapids the boat went down a drop in front of a big wave and gave an unexpected jolt. The next the we knew was Chris was about 20m from the boat going down the rapids head first. He was rescued by a kayaker and was soon back in the raft, looking a bit shocked. Between rapids we were allowed to swim in the river, this was refreshing as it was really hot. People were doing forwards and backwards somersaults into the water off the rafts. The group was provided with lunch and then we were back on the river. All to soon it was time for us to head back to the hotel.
On Monday morning we visited Narayantiti palace museum where the Kings of Nepal had lived until 2008 when Nepal got rid of it's monarchy. We saw different rooms where visiting heads of state (including our own) were welcomed and stayed. During Monday afternoon, Tuesday and Wednesday morning we had free time to buy souvenirs, presents and to explore some more. In the afternoon we packed our bags and made sure they were under the weight restriction.
Written by Lhotse patrol

From dirty to clean

We left Khumjung at 9:00am in miserable and cloudy weather for an hour walk to Namche Bazzar. A short walk but still plenty to see in the poor weather. As we dropped over Namche hill we could here the drums from local school doing there morning aerobics, they where all lined up in their play ground. We watched a couple of helicopters land around Namche, which seemed crazy given the poor visibility. After just an hour and ten minutes we arrived in the lodge that we had stayed in on the walk up. We immediately noticed it was more busy in the town, more shops were open and more people about. The rest of the day was spent playing cards and chess, or just relaxing for the next day.
The next morning we had breakfast at 7:00am,  filled our water bottles and set out for a long day back to Lukla. The walk back was the first and only day on our trek that it rained. Dressed from head to toe in water proofs we were in good spirits for a damp and slippery walk.
On our walk home we saw an awful lot more tourists heading up the track, who were quite excited to see a group of scouts. It stopped raining after the first hour and we all began to over heat. We stripped down and plodded on till lunch which seemed to take forever. We stopped for lunch Phakding which was pasta in red sauce as usual, then we carried on to Lukla which was another 3 hours walk. Passing loads of donkey and yak trains on the way.
We arrived at Lukla at about 4:00pm very tired and worn out. We drank tea and relaxed till dinner, which was chicken and rice. We also got chatting with other tourists, finding out what was bringing them to the Kumbu. Shortly after dinner we left to our rooms to pack for an early flight the next day.
We all got up at 6:15 and were ready for breakfast at 6:45 it was jam and toast, for once the toast was warm (we knew it was going to be a good day) we then walked the 2 minutes to the airport and checked in our bags. After saying an emotional farewell to our Sherpas, Kasang and Lakpa who had been exceptional and a really good laugh throughout the trek. We watched a few planes arrive and leave and then got on ours back to Kathmandu.
When we arrived in Kathmandu we immediately noticed the heat and humidity, and the city's certain aroma (mainly poo). We where met by our guide from 'Asian Trekking' who greeted us 'welcomingly' (yes we know this isn't a real word). We then got on to our minibus on the manic streets of Kathmandu, back to Thamel hotel for a long awaited hot shower!
By Nuptse Patrol.

Leaving Khumjung

Saturday 21st September 2013                                                                                                                                                                                                                             We walked from Khumjung to Pengboche today, it was really hot and because we had acclimatized in Khumjung, the walk was fairly easy. En-route we came across Tengboche bridge which had collapsed. We had lunch at Tenboche and had the perfect view of Everest up the valley. We arrived at Pengboche and Lakpa took us to the school where the 2007 did their community project. It was nice to see what Ollie and Chris had done the last time they were here.
Sunday 22nd September 2013                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Today we walked from Pangboche to Pheriche and we saw our first view of Island Peak. We saw where the valley split in two, we were taking the left route to Everest Base Camp and Kala Pathar. We finally arrived in Pheriche and had the best meal of the whole trip, including pancake covered mars bars!
Monday 23rd September 2013                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Today we had 700m to climb from Pheriche to Lobuche. We stopped in Thukla for some tea and we met some people from Dorset, one of which was a scout leader. We carried on up the valley in the sunshine and when we arrived in Lobuche (4950m) we saw Kala Pathar behind our lodge.
Tuesday 24th September 2013                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Today was a really long day. We set off to Gorek Shep, the last village before Everest Base Camp. We had an early lunch here. The walk to Base Camp (5345m) was long and it snowed along the way. It took us 1.5 hours to reach and when we got there we saw multicoloured tents and the Khumbu Icefall through the fog. Some of the group got talking to the Italian team, who were going to climb Lhoste and then ski down it! We filmed for buff by advertising and demonstrating how we wear them. Whilst we were there, we also witnessed an avalanche on the other side of the valley. The Dorset scout leader was there as well. Once we had got back to Gorek Shep, we realised we had walked 14km at altitude, which we were all proud of. The resat of the day consisted of recovering and preparing for the hike tomorrow morning up Kala Pathar.
Wednesday 25th September 2013                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Today we woke up at 0430, ready to leave at 0500 for Kala Pathar. The stars were our and we didn't need our torches as the moon was so bright. It was reflecting off the snowy peaks around us. It was surprising how quickly it got light and after 2 hours of climbing, we summited the 5550m peak. We spent half an hour at the top taking pictures and admiring the  beautiful views before heading back down to Gorek Shep for breakfast. We then spent another few hours hiking back to Lobuche, where we spent the rest of the day.
Thursday 26th September 2013                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Today we had a short walk from Lobuche back down the valley to Dingboche. It was fairly easy as it was mainly downhill and the weather was good again. We got an even better view of Island Peak from a small ridge, outside Dingboche (4410m).
In the next few days we will be trekking up the valley to Chukung and preparing to climb Island Peak.

Dingboche back to Khumjung

We started the Friday morning from Dingboche to Chukhung with only a 400 meter height gain, so a slow and steady day for us. Arriving at half 11, and all still feeling great after a slow day yesterday in Dingboche. Chukhung was rather small with only a few building and not much around. From Chukhung we walked to Island Peak base-camp, only about a 600 meter height gain to 5080 meter, with lovely views  the whole way up over the glacier and Imja Tsho, a lake over 5010 meters that if burst would take 35 minuets to flood the entire Khumbu Valley.
Once at base-camp the climb team, made up of the 3 leaders plus Andy, Louis, Sam and Will, started to sort out their boots, harnesses and crampons for some practice on fixed-lines before their accent the next nay. We were joined by many more Sherpas' for the cook team and another climbing guide, of whom was only 22 and had climbed Everest 4 times - the first when he was 18, who we had played football against in Khumjung.
A 1:30 breakfast for the climb team who then had to leave at 2:30. We all started the $ hour accent to the snow-line in the dark, of which we walked up faster than expected and had to wait for more sunlight - it was freezing - for about an hour. We got to the snowline, put on our harnesses, crampons and helmets before we were tied together then started on the soft snow.
With the Sherpa guides breaking trail, making it better for us walking up. From the onset we could see the summit and we soon reached the final face, yet, from a distance looked like a small slope was in fact an 85 degree wall of ice. The fixed lines were set at 20 meter intervals with a distance of 180 meters to the ridge-line. The final push took roughly three hours for them reach the ridge and the summit, the first set of us summiting at around a quarter to 9. The going was ever to awfully hard with one having to stop every few steps to take a break. Yet still worth it. The view from the summit was awe inspiring with the greatest views over mountains and the glacier below. The rest, bar Louis, summited over half an hour later as it was just so hard, Louis couldn't summit as he was close to fainting and had a huge headache so was made to turn back and go down to base-camp. The first summit group started their accent to the bottom of the slope after the second team had all gotten to the ridge. After sitting in the sun at the bottom waiting for the other team to complete their decent down the face, we all started the decent to base-camp all thoroughly proud and exhausted.
At about 9 o'clock the members of the group who had stayed at base-camp walked around the corner, along the glacier, to see if they were able to see the climbers on the summit. But were unfortunate as clouds were around the summit and thus were not able to be seen. They then sat down and played cards for most of the day until Louis returned with a guide. The rest of the climbers returned in two groups, with a large gap between them, then ran out to congratulate them. The rest of the day the climbers spent recalling tails of their 12 hours of climbing that day, telling the others all about it.
On Monday we began our decent to Pangboche, of 1000 meters, with lunch at Dingboche for about an hour, we then passed down back to Khumjung for the last time, with a long day of walking. We were welcomed to a familiar sight of our lodge and staff from the community project.

Looking forward to the rest of the decent to Lukla.

The rest of the Community Project

On Sunday and Monday we continued painting and varnishing various rooms.
On Tuesday we had a day off so after breakfast we headed for the local monastery. The only Yeti skull in the world was held at this monastery and we paid a small donation to see it. It just looked like the top of a goats head. After visiting the monastery we walked up a hill behind the lodge to a chorta which had some information on Sir Edmund Hillary. If it was clear we would have been able to see Everest from here. Unfortunately, there was a cloud right where Everest would have been. We saw a bunch of other mountains, including Lhotse, and Lakpar took a group picture of all of us in front of the view. Once we got back our patrol repacked the barrels with all the stuff we would need for Island peak. In the afternoon a bunch of us played football. It was all against all and then we played in pairs and Chris and Joe won. After that lots of people did some washing outside using the eco wash we’d bought and hung it out to dry in the Sun. This evening we had some bonding time where we all sat around the table discussing our favourite things. It was nice to get to know people more.
On Wednesday morning some of us varnished the rest of the dining hall as well as the tops of some tables. A couple of people finished painting the roof green whilst others painted the school office. In the time before dinner and after tea about half of the team played football. We played England vs Nepal which was a very even game. In the beginning we outnumbered them but they had the advantage of being used to the altitude. Our side were tired easily after running the length of the pitch. When we had to go in for dinner the score stood at England 12 Nepal 11, a narrow win.
On Thursday our patrol worked for the whole day, painting several classrooms. The top half of the room we painted custard yellow with the bottom half being light blue. In the afternoon we had quite a large audience of children watching us. As we painted their classroom the children had to learn outside.
Friday morning between breakfast and starting work all of us walked back up to the chorta with the hope of seeing Everest given that it was clear. However when we got there a cloud was blocking the mountain yet again. Our patrol went for a walk around the mountain whilst everyone else went back to the school to do the mornings work. We walked up to the top of the hill where there was a really nice lodge. Continuing on we saw some spectacular views and saw our patrol’s first glimpse of the summit of Everest. Then we went  around the hill spotting the airport we passed on our way to Khumjung and walked back into the village. In the morning the team had finished all of the work that we needed to do. So in the afternoon we went back to the school to say goodbye to everyone up there. They wanted to thank us for all the work we had done so gave us Carter scarfs after some tea and biscuits.

Community Project so Far...

On Tuesday all three of our patrols headed down to the Khumjung School for the first time.
After all the leaders had been briefed on the work needing to be done at the school, they then briefed us. Some if not all of us started on painting, some on the outside of one classroom, others on the theatre hall and a few started varnishing tables and chairs. This then carried on for the next couple of days with one patrol having the morning or afternoon off to help with the acclimatisation, meaning that two patrols would be working at a time. On the Thursday we finished the the theatre hall, in a dashing custard yellow and dark blue, with many of the painting of walls being done from ladders precariously placed, others of us started on rooms for the children boarding at the school from areas around the valley.
Friday was National Children’s day in Nepal and so the Khumjung School held a sports day with other schools, Namche and Pangboche, coming to join in in the schools activities. During the day there were many events such as the triple jump and hurdles. After the children had a go we all started to join in and give it a try, the children found it rather amusing when we dove into the mud pit used for the triple jump. The leaders, Josh and Andy tried the 100m hurdles, of which most definitely exhausted them, it was funny seeing them jump over the hurdles in such strange ways. They were then shown up by the local school children who ran it much faster and for longer. In the afternoon we continued painting the rooms for the boarding children.
On Saturday we headed back to the school to find it empty as we’d become accustomed to the noise of the children there. Later we finished off painting the rooms and started on the theatre roof, where it was rather hot and a little daunting to start off with as the roof would bend and creek as we moved across the roof, but once over the initial fear we were managed to get most of it done before lunch.
Written by Lhotse Patrol.

Phakding to Khumjung

Saturday 7th September 2013: The group woke up in Phakding after a good night’s sleep, which made a difference from being hot all night! We had a nice breakfast in a conservatory before leaving for Namche Bazar. We saw the yaks for the first time, the yaks and sherpas head off before us in the morning with our duffel bags. We hiked up the Khumbu valley, crossing the Dudh koshi river, by way of high bouncy bridges, now metal, but were once made of wood… Scary! The paths were rocky but as a group we managed to keep a good pace. We ascended 400m up Namche hill (across a new bridge opened last month which takes some considerable time of the journey!) which seemed to take forever however once we got to the top we saw great view of Namche Bazar; the Sherpa capital. The houses here reminded us of dolls houses and this place was much colder than before; there had been a lot of cloud in the valley recently. For dinner we had a very nice curry which had to be eaten by torch light as there is no electricity here… Bliss.

Sunday 8th September 2013: Today was a rest day to acclimatise. After breakfast, Lakpa (our head Sherpa who HSX members may remember from 2007) took us up to the Everest view point, in the hope of seeing the highest mountain in the world. Even this short walk was harder than it should be due to the altitude. At the top it was really cloudy so we couldn’t see Everest however we saw a few snowy peaks through the gaps in the clouds which was enough to whet our appetites. We then looked around the National Park HQ Museum about the natural history of Khumbu and the people who live there. Ellis also broke a bench outside… The rest of the day was spent resting, chilling out and exploring Namche. In the evening everyone got hyper and ran around in the dark. Sam put his stobe head light on and people were pretending to be the weeping angels from Doctor Who! … A symptom of the altitude?

Monday 9th September 2013: We set off for Khumjung and our community project. We were taken via a hill which had a monument dedicated to Sir Edmund Hillary, his wife and daughter at 3900m… The highest place that many of us have ever been. The monument was placed here because it is another view point for Mount Everest and is an apt reminder of Hillary and his contributions to the Sherpa people. The going was hard but we decended for lunch in Khunde before the short walk to Khumjung (our base for the next two weeks). Members of the group have been up early enough to see Ama Dablam when the cloud clears, an awesome way to start the day…

Flight to Lukla: Attempt number 2

Friday 6th September 2013: A 0930 revised flight was booked for today, and for once we even made it to the airport! After finally checking in and eventually getting through the security, an area not before reached by us, and a hour wait before our flight in the departures lounge, our flight eventually was announced and we all moved over to the correct gate where a bus awaited us to take us to our plane. Out the windows we passed planes slowly getting smaller and smaller until we reached ours. It really didn’t look like it would fit us all on, but somehow it did. Up the smallest set of stairs and many of us bumping our head getting through the smallest door, where the smallest air hostess showed us our seats, not like we had many to choose from, but we all fought for the left hand side as you get a spectacular view of the Himalayas. After the not so bumpy flight, we unloaded in Lukla, the smallest airport many of us had seen or been to, in one piece. After lunch in our first tea house, used by the explorer Team in 2007 on their final night in the Khumbu, we began our trek. The trail, led by our lovely guide Kasang, followed the river through many ups and down, over many pretty sketchy bridges. We arrived in Phakding and moved our kit into our rooms then retired for some tea in the lodge. We had some free time before dinner, of which started off with soup and popcorn, followed by curry with dhal – a spicy soup – followed by fruit salad. Before dinner some of the group played catch and ball games with a local girl, of which was fun. That evening we all went to bed with the sound of the river flowing close to us, we are all thankful to have left Kathmandu and could breath fresh air from the pine trees all around us…

Extra days in Kathmandu

Now that we have a bit of solar power and are able to access the internet occasionally, we can now share our adventures.. From spending 2 extra days in Kathmandu and the start of our trek in the Khumbu. Wednesday 4th September 2013: Another morning waiting for the plane so far our flight had been delayed until 9:30. We got out the cards and chessboards to kill time. Just before 9:00 we got a phone call explaining the weather was still unsuitable to fly in. the next update was at 11:00 so some of us bought chocolates while others caught up on their diaries. Just before 11:00 we were informed that all flights to Lukla had been cancelled. We then went for an early lunch and then to our first cultural tour. The guides name was Kedar Temang but we called him Mr Kedar. Our first stop was the Swyambunath Stupa also known as the monkey temple. It was on top of a hill and there were so many prayer flags it was awesome. We saw a monkey drinking out the wishing fountain which was amusing. We walked up many steps taking pictures of monkeys as we went. We were lead through a shop to the roof to take in the spectacular views of the city. He explained the history of Kathmandu from the rice fields to the Queens Forest, how the valley was once drained from being a vast lake. After taking some photos we returned to the shop where we were taught about the type of art called Thanka. These paintings were used to spread the teachings of Buddha and certain rules must be followed whilst painting. Some of them take up to 24 months for a grand master to paint and use 24 carat gold. Up to 70% of the paintings were done by 1 to 5 hair brushes taken from the neck of a cat. The whole process sounds so complicated. After the monkey temple we went to Durbar square. Mr Kedar told us about all the different temples most of us got confused about the hundreds of Gods they have. We also got to see the Kumari who is a living Goddess and is currently only 9 years old. Some of us were not happy about this as she was trapped in a building away from her family but this highlighted the differences between our cultures. Once we had been toured out it was time for dinner. It was probably one of the weirdest places we had ever eaten. We ate at funky Buddha and it was techno night!!!

‘FLIGHT’ TO LUKLA

Tuesday the 3rd,
All packed and weighed ready for our flight to
Lukla this morning, an early start for us all, getting up at 5am for breakfast at 5:30 and Asian Trekking to pick us up at 6!
Asian trekking picked us up fine loaded up kit and prepared for a bumpy journey to the airport. We arrived at the domestic terminal at Kathmandu airport shaken but in one piece. We carried on through check-in with our bags and barrels checked in with time to spare. We then sat down and waited for our flight.
After some time the man from Asian Trekking came over looking rather worried and informed us the flight was delayed due to bad weather and we had to be patient. After a long near 6 hour wait the man from Asian Trekking returned and told us the flight was cancelled due to the bad weather in Lukla.
He then consoled us by telling us our flight should leave the next morning without hassle.
The afternoon was spent discovering the city more, with some patrols heading off to the “Garden of Dreams” the, “Presidential Palace” – of which is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays – and the rest of the city.
All in good spirits and looking forward to the rest of the trip!
Now praying for good weather!!!!!
Written by:
Stephen
Louis
Sam
And Stu, kinda…

OUR DAY AT THE TEMPLE

Sunday the 1st of September.
The evening after our last entry we headed out for dinner at a lovely place called “Big Belly”.  After our delightful meal out our free time was well spent exploring the city in the evening. Upon arrival back to the hotel most of us headed up to the roof to fullly encapsulate the city from above, this was well timed as we were then able to see the lightning from above, giving an extra light to this magical city.
Monday the 2nd of September.
An early start for us this morning as our first excursion was planned to Boudhanath temple closer to the airport, a short drive away. This was one of the 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu and one of the biggest Buddhist temples in the world. It was an amazing place to be able to see, hundreds of prayer flags were spread from the top of the temple to all four corners of its base. Our guide from Asian Trekking taught us about the 5 colours, green represents the purification, yellow representing the soil, blue representing the sky , white representing water and red fire. Also, prayer wheels representing each reincarnation of the Buddha, linden the outside of the temple and the surrounding area.
Later we got a chance in the temple to light candles and pray to bring us good fortune. The lighting of the candles lead to a Puja ceremony, where monks chanted and blessed us with handmade friendship necklaces, for good luck on our trek.
For lunch we traveled from the hotel to “New Orleans”, a restaurant of which was fabulous! The decor was amazing, with plants and patterned woods everywhere. some people had the largest burger you can imagine and the kebabs were lovely too.
In the afternoon we needed to pack our bags…again…this time for the connecting flights to Lukla on an even smaller plane. We will need to get an early flight, so we will need to be up for 5:45am for a 7:30am flight. Our holdall this time needed to be much smaller with a weight limit of 10kg and our hand-luggage being 5kg. Not much at all, and easy to say that we all struggled and took a lot of time.
Tonight we are going to “K2-Too” steakhouse, it will be our last night in Kathmandu  so we are going to make the most of the good food! We are all very excited about getting into the Khumbu valley and starting our long trek to Everest base camp and to our community project in Khumjung.

Watch this space for our next blog update!
The Lhotse Patrol
Louis, Will, Stuart, Charlotte.

ARRIVING IN KATHMANDU!


Friday 30th/Saturday 31st August- We left on Friday evening, after waiting for hours at the airport. Finally we boarded the plane to Deli. Some lucky people managed to get some sleep on this eight hour flight. We waited even longer at Deli, playing cards and watching the planes take off. From the aeroplane we could see rain forest covered mountains and some of the overflowed rivers from the monsoon. The buildings were amazing, all spread out among the green valley. People were so tired by this time, we wanted to go straight to bed.
The team landed in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. We grabbed our bags and were greeted by Asian Trekking and their minibuses. They helped us move our bags and welcomed us all with flower garlans.
The bus was bumpy to say the least and the streets were manic! Pedestrians, bikes and cars were all dodging each other around the stalls and pot holes. There are telephone wires, literally everywhere and animals along the streets. We were all shocked at how different the city was, compared to what we are used to. The women’s clothing was beautiful and all the doors are really low!
At the hotel we had a de-brief, unpacked our bags and met on the balcony before dinner. The restaurant was a five minute walk through the busy streets of Kathmandu. The restaurant, “Fire and Ice” was really nice, the lights and atmosphere was amazing. We all had pizza, which was yummy, then, BED.

Sunday 1st September- Woke up at 08:15, had a mixed breakfast theme and set off pretty much straight away to the Asian Trekking HQ. They gave us some details and hiking tips before being introduced to the climbing walls next door. This was really fun, there were tall walls and a bouldering wall. Then we split into patrols for lunch and the rest of the day. We all had a free day to explore the main city. Everest patrol had a really nice lunch, burgers at a small cafe where the man taught us some Nepalese. Later we all met up and shared our stories that we had about the city (including some bike hiring!)

Written by the Everest patrol - Andy, Clare and Ellis

The Team

HSX Nepal 2013 loving the flowers!
Before I add the next Blog i realize that I've have not fully introduced the team, because we are Scouts were split into Patrols Everest, Lhoste and Nuptse.

We have 3 leaders
Chris aged 25, Nuptse Patrol
Ollie aged 23, Everest Patrol
Joe aged 20, Lhoste Patrol

Nuptse Patrol
Rosemary, aged 20 patrol leader (thats me)
Josh, aged 15
Steve, aged 17
Sam, aged 19.

Everest Patrol
Ellis, aged 18 patrol leader
Clare, aged 18
Andy, aged 19

Lhoste Patrol
Louis, aged 17 patrol leader
Will, aged 18
Stuart, aged 18
Charlotte, aged 19

The patrols will take it in turns to write the blog through out our journey, happy reading!

Final Goodbyes

Nepal 2013 excited and ready to go.
We arrived at West Wellow for 7:00pm for our leaving presentation. The final kit weigh in meant everyone was under the required 15kg…just! After a little bit of mingling, the excitement started to build, with our parents seated in time for an impromptu presentation. Explaining to them what we’ve been up to for the last 18 months, sharing the stories and comic snippets. Chris then gave us the final itinerary for the weeks ahead. The weather holds for a final group photo outside; a last time our parents get to see us clean and tidy before six weeks without showering and coming back smelling! There are lots of hugs and kisses as we say an emotional goodbye to our parents and loved ones. ‘So excited to be finally leaving’ Josh 15, Romsey Explorer. ’18 months prep for this moment, can’t wait!’ Steve 17.5 also, Romsey Explorer. ‘Looking forward to the next 6 weeks with an awesome team’ Sam 18, TNT Network. ‘Still can’t believe I’ve actually got this far! Nepal here we come!’ Rosemary 20, 3rd Hayling. Parents are gone, the halls all packed away. Time for CHOCOLATE!!!!!!

Training






Nepal Team 2013




We have a team of 12 Explorer Scouts from around Hampshire signed up to the expedition of a lifetime in Nepal this year. We have nearly completed our 18 month pre-expedition training programme all over the UK. These weekends have helped us to develop as a team, teaching us some very useful skills that we will need to use when in the Himalayas.

On the first weekend in May we met each other for the first time, undertaking a number of activities to test our team work and communication skills, as well as being fully introduced to our leadership team. In June 2012 we helped out at the Ferny Crofts Scout Activity Centre open day by cooking burgers and sausages on the BBQ, to raise money.

In October HSX and the expedition team visited North Wales and the beautiful landscapes of Snowdonia. The Nepal team were set to take on Mount Snowdon via the Watkins Path during the morning; for some there first ever mountain!!!

Christmas for the Nepalteam

The weekend started with 10 members of the Nepal team packing bags for Tesco customers in Marchwood. It was busy and hard work, but well worth it as we raised over £500 for the Nepaltrip.

Things started to quieten down around 6:30 so we took the decision to head to Ferny Crofts where some of our team had prepared a delicious chilli con carne for us to enjoy.

On the Saturday the Nepal team joined up with other HSX members and we gathered our teams for the annual adventure race.

At 9.50, maps and punch cards were handed out to each team of two, and they had 10 minutes to plan a route and be ready at the cattle grid at the entrance of Ferny Crofts.

At 10:00, the race started. The aim was to get around the course as quickly as possible, punching the card at each checkpoint. Flags were hidden really carefully and cunningly. They were surprisingly difficult to find considering they are bright orange! There were two categories Veterans for those tough, harden adventure racers and the Newbies, designed for those of us who had never entered a race before.

On Sunday the Nepal team got up for an early 7.30 personal training session in which we all had to hold onto a pioneering pole whilst running through rivers and doing other tasks, including crossing a deep and rather large bog!

Our team work was put to the test as communicating with each other was a key element to carry out each challenge. After commando crawling up a hill we were all covered in mud, and very tired.

The weekend was rounded off with the Nepal team doing a presentation for their parents, informing them of what they have achieved so far this year.


 

Cairngorm Trip

Our next exciting training weekend was in the gorgeous mountains of the Cairngorm National Park in Scotland, after a long ten hour drive, or twelve hour train journey for some, we had arrived to Badaguish; a small area where our lodge for the week was located.

We were kept busy during the week learning Ice Axe skills, self-arrests, crampon skills and snowholing techniques that would be essential in Nepal. This has been made all the more enjoyable in the sunny alpine conditions and excellent snow conditions. The views were fantastic, almost as if you were in the Alps, everybody picked up the skills very quickly and are now super confident that they’ll be able to use them if need be. Chris, Ollie and Joe were put through their paces with Harold, our trusted Mountain Guru, who signed off their technical competency in winter conditions at the beginning of the week.

On one particularly fine day we spent the morning walking up to Coire Domhain where we spent 4.5 hours labouring to dig our home for the night in the snow. We all frightfully enjoyed this, for many, our first snowholing experience. We had clear skies at night, giving an excellent view of the moon and stars over the Cairngorm plateau. Awaking to a white-out, the team successfully navigated off the plateau via 1141 and down Fiacall a Coire Cass before returning to Badaguish for soup, tea and a good old kick about.


 

The Lakes

In April of this year, our team went up to the Lake District National Park, and decided to take this opportunity to join HSX out on the Fells to brush up on their navigation skills, practice some unexpected winter mountaineering and ultimately a spot of team bonding!

We arrived at Great Tower at 1 in the morning after a fairly uneventful, but very long, journey. Luckily for us we had an awesome mixed tape to listen to!

In the morning we split into our three patrols, kitted up in the winter boots and adjusted our crampons (just in case). The aim was for the Nepal team was to lead both in navigation and looking after the group.

We set off from the car park to summit Little Man, taking note of tick features and reading contours the whole way. We had to practice kicking in steps, a technique we learned in the Cairngorms, as there were masses of snow under foot. We summited Little Man, all 865m of the little guy, and then dropped into the saddle as it was awfully windy on top. After fighting with the group shelter we were finally settled inside to put on more layers and have a bite to eat, where some of us got a bit too excited and ate all of our lunch!

We then headed up Skiddaw, the view from the top was beautiful. But flipping freezing, so we decided not stay for very long. On the way down we met up with the other guys and walked out as a team as we had heard that one of our route was full of unconsolidated snowdrift up to your waist!

We started by walking up Pastino Beck Valley whilst practising some micronavigation. The conditions started off with some thin snowfall, as we passed Raven Crag the clouds started to come down the valley. Having stopped briefly for a snack, we started our ascent from Threshthwaite Cove to Threshthwaite Mouth. The snow was powdery and unconsolidated, which made the ascent more challenging.

As we reached the saddle we felt the wind begin to bite. From the saddle we could see our next destination, Thornthwaite Crag, enveloped in cloud. As we climbed towards the top we chased away the cloud, leaving a clear view as we arrived on the summit.

After Lunch we started making our way to the trig point on High Street at 828m above sea level. Up on the plateau walking through the snow was similar to Russian roulette, with some steps on solid snow and the next disappointing, with the snow up to your knees or higher.  Crossing the plateau we met up with the some of the team who were taking the same route as us, but in the other direction. On a descent from the trip point on the way towards The Knott, Joe, our leader was demonstrating how to run downhill through the snow when his foot got caught and he faceplanted with …ummm… elegance? After we finished laughing with him we continued our way up to the summit of The Knott (739m).

We then began our descent through thick snow, doing a few ice axe arrests halfway down… which is much faster than walking and loads more fun. We found that Haveswater Lake was frozen and it took a large rock to break through. Then we continued down the rest of the valley to arrive back at the car park.

On day 3 we woke at 7am HSX time (6am real time), had breakfast and prepared for the day ahead. The advance group left earlier to set up the climbs at Bowderstone Crag in Borrowdale.

We rotated between the three climbs and all had a go at the quarry abseil round the corner. The abseil itself was around 60m in height and going over the edge was quite scary for most. There was also a mini cave at the bottom where we couldn’t place our feet against the cliff so had to abseil freely.

After our amazing morning we all went to the Bowderstone; finding out that the reason why they built stairs up to the top was due to tourists frequently getting stuck on the top and having to phone mountain rescue! This was an eye opener for a lot of us because we didn’t realise how much upper body strength was needed for bouldering, and how little we actually possessed.

After our quest, we returned to our kingdom for a mighty banquet of Spaghetti Bolognese! Everybody finished the day by packing their bags for the return journey and got into bed ready for a day of travel to the South Coastthe next morning back.



With training over the excitement is mounting, as the next stop for the team is Kathmandu!

Adventure description


The team consists of 12 teenagers, between the ages of 14 to 19 years, and three Leaders, all of whom of are under 25. All the people going on the expedition are active members of the Scouting movement, which aims to help young people achieve their full potential.


We will be undertaking a six week expedition to Nepal. During the expedition we will be undertaking a range of community development projects and personal challengers, with the majority of our time based in the Khumbu Valley, Nepal. These activities include:

·  A community development project with the Himalayan Trust, (founded 
by Sir Edmund Hillary). At the current time we do not know exactly what we will be working on, but it is likely to be based in the Khumjung School.

·  Trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp, to soak up the atmosphere as climbers prepare to climb the worlds highest mountain.

·  Climb Kala Patthar, a 5,545m peak on the opposite side of the Khumbu Glacier. We will be climbing this during the night, with the aim to watch the sun rise behind Everest.

·  The opportunity to climb Island Peak: a 6,189m snow-capped mountain. This will involve the participants utilising mountaineering skills which we will learn during our pre-expedition training;

·  Finally the expedition will finish with a few days in Kathmandu, during which time we will be go on a series of cultural tours and adventurous activities such as white water rafting.