Saturday, 17 April 2010

A bad feeling while cloud Busting in the land of the blond.

Let’s not pull punches – bouldering, trad climbing, sport climbing, ice climbing, Scottish winter climbing, alpine climbing, Roller skating, football-cricket-baseball-basketball-rugby-cricket … when would a cloud of volcanic ash affect these activities?


So here you go, how about this…

Gaz Parry climbs the Big Issue, a difficult rock climb in Pembroke, Hamilton fastest in Chinese practice, Liverpool chairman predicts bright future, Chambers refuses to indulge in drugs talk, Maja Vidmar 8b+ on-sight… Effected by volcanic ash? Caused by volcanic ash – shut down, breaks down, closes down because of volcanic ash… NO!

Not affected by volcanic ash we have completed and experienced the following; Ministry briefing completed, permit safely to hand, Liason Officer ready, conditions of expedition signed, bus booked, porters ready, the way in checked out, freighted barrels and boxes safely stored in the hotel and re-packed into porter loads… bitten by mosquitoes, headache from dirty chemicals swilling about in the local beer, sweating in the tropical heat, fighting off the tiger balm-hashish-rafting-bungee jumping-trekking-climbing-chess set-wooden violin-singing bowl sellers …


Sitting in the walled yard at the Thorong Peak Guesthouse in Thamel the breeze gently swims through long leaves of the hanging plants. Chatter and the chink of beer glasses. Car horns, beep, beep, beeping… A dog barks, and barks, and barks and yelps, and barks … A bustling street. Liz Hawley sits opposite. Matt Helliker, the blond bombshell to the right and Loben, agent par excellence, to the left. Liz has recorded, interviewed, questioned, logged, commiserated and reported on climbing in the Nepalese mountains for approximately 50 years… We cover some details of our expedition… Then out of the blue she tells the blond bombshell to be his own man and move hotel, (she is always badgering me for staying at the Thorong Peak Guesthouse) and as ever she commends us on our imagination for attempting a climb that is different. Ama Dablam, Everest, Cho Oyo… “I’m so fed up with them; you always choose interesting objectives…”

Liz pushes a piece of paper across the table; it’s a list of all expeditions that have attempted to climb Annapurna III. I look on with slight trepidation…2 out of the 5 expeditions didn’t even make it to BC… I lean back and wonder if they were shut down by volcanic ash?

It’s dark now…dogs bark, cars in the rubble street peep, peep, clunk, peep… generators growl. (The power cuts are for 12 hours every day now) Deep Purple wannabe bands screech out the lyrics, “smo, o, o, o, o, o, o, ke on the wa, a, a, a, a, a, ter, a fire in the sky” (bet that didn’t leave a cloud of dust that stopped Europe’s air traffic in its vapour trails) And the blond bombshell still amazes me with his blondness, (Evidence for my prejudice are as follows… Sends the link for this blog to approximately 500 people but sends the wrong address. He has made a film that features him more than anything or anyone else. Complains about my tried and trusted hotel because it doesn’t smell sweet and he found some crumbs in his bed linen! Gets drunk on one bottle of beer and wakes up with a hang over. Has problems with slightly spicy food after eating in the Mo Mo Star (a classy joint with great food if ever there was one). Has packed several books, most consist of climbing books, ((definitely not want you need on a climbing trip!)) and another book is a self enlightenment thing the type that most of the hippy, cheesecloth wearing, chanting, travellers who walk around the Thamel streets read before ‘finding the true meaning of life’ . He has also freighted 2 intellectual, good read magazines, FHM mag and Mens Fitness mag!) and to top it all, I asked him if he had downloaded any films to his smart little laptop…”Erm yeh mate, yeh, I’ve got 6 workout films, amazing mate, we can get ripped at BC!” FFS, give me strength, (but not from one of the workout movies!)


… But, against all odds he did actually make it to the airport and catch the correct plane, more than I can say for the others… And the excuse they use for delaying the expedition is a volcano has erupted in Iceland and the sky is full of dust…

I’m getting a bad feeling about this one…the planned sociable walk in is looking like it may not happen and the blond bombshell and I will be heading in even before the others land…


1 comment:

  1. Volcanic eruption in Iceland in April 2010 leads to a sharp rise in the number of blond-haired, low-IQ babies being born in Kathmandhu in early 2011. Nobody will think of correlating these two events. Planet Earth sure is a fascinating place.

    Captain Kirk