Monday, 22 November 2010

Reflections by Pete

Form and function, one of the huge joints that hold up T5; Refections in boots

The Christmas tree lights dance across the polished marble floor at Heathrow Terminal 5 as I wait for the BA1318 to Aberdeen.  Overhead massive trusses, forged joints and gigantic metal pins hold this massive structure in place but while this structure is fantastic, it is insignificant to the natural mountain architecture that we have been privileged to live amongst for the last 7 weeks.  Annapurna 3 will still be standing, the wind still ripping at its flanks when Terminal 5 is long gone, when we are all long gone.

I sit alone with my thoughts and the countless other travellers scuttling past, ready and eager to be dispatched in jet-powered metal tubes to the corners of the globe.  My team mates have scattered too, back to their own lives, their own homes, their own thoughts. 

So what did this trip mean to me?  We failed.  We failed to get up Annapurna 3 due to high winds that blew almost every day and shut down most expeditions in the Himalaya this season and cost the lives of two brave helicopter pilots who were trying to save two climbers of Anna Dablam*.  But we gave it a good shot had a wicked laugh, ate some lovely food courteously of Buddhi and all came back in one piece, friends. 

That to me is success enough.

Trying to forge a new route on one of the world's highest mountains is not easy, particularly when you choose a style with no fixed ropes, no Sherpas and no oxygen; it is a straight fight between the mountain and the climbers.  I am happy to loose this round; there will be many other skirmishes for sure in the future.

So big thanks to Samsung whose electronic gadgetry allowed us to take fantastic pictures to share will you all and to all the other companies who supported the trip – without their support expeditions like this do not happen.


*After the helicopter crashed, the Japanese climber phoned Japan to tell of the horrifying news.  He spent a lonely night on the mountain before being rescued by a second helicopter.  Pemba Sherpa (our Air Dynasty helicopter pilot) was flying in the area and quickly responded to the accident and flew close to the wreckage of the Fishtail helicopter and confirmed that there was no way the pilots could have survived.  Pemba could not assist in the rescue of the remaining Japanese climber because his chopper is not powerful enough, and is not set up for that kind of rescue.  High altitude helicopter rescues are very risky. 

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