2 years ago and we were actually on our way back down from Camp 3 after an aborted summit attempt on Everest having been advised that the weather was turning for the worse and we would have to wait a little longer, back at base camp.
Not the radio comms you really want to have given the effort it takes to get up to Camp 3 at 7000m, after you were all set for the push to summit the following 24 hrs, the last 40 days of great work and the mental highs and lows behind you, we were ready and raring to go. However, you can't beat or cheat the weather, especially at 8000m, so down we came to base camp at 5350m to enjoy 2 days of 'relative' luxury with a bucket shower, more oxygen (at 45% of the norm at sea level I did say it was relative!) and some fairly warm days before we headed back up on 16th to reach the summit 3 days later.
This coming weekend, on the night of 18/19 May, I will be taking a group of charity fundraisers on a night time ascent of Snowdon, at 1085m the highest mountain in Wales. I'm sure for many, this will be their own Everest and as leader of a highly motivated and experienced team supporting our trekkers, we are really privileged to be part of enabling their dream and helping to raise funds for a worthy cause.
2 years ago on 18 May I was heading out into the night time to climb to the summit of Everest early the following morning. I've been watching the posts on Facebook from many of the teams out on the mountain at the moment and with the ropes fixed to the summit of the south side this Sunday afternoon by a highly experienced team of Sherpas, the route is open and the waiting game is over....almost!
As with our expedition in 2016 (we won't dwell on the schedule of 2015!), you start with Plan A and gradually work your way down the alphabet hoping you don't run out of letters. The weather plays a big part of any expedition, especially on an 8000er, as does fitness, logistics, health, what other teams are up to and the temptation to rush for the gates and try to head up with the crowds is high.
We weren't planning on climbing with the crowds but some things are out of your control and on the night of our ascent we shared the route to the summit with 180 fellow climbers and Sherpas, the high numbers due to severe weather the 24 hrs before holding many climbers at the South Col.
As I often remind people who are moaning about how busy it is/the crowds/the queues are, I was part of those numbers, we all make up those numbers and we still made it.
A huge best of luck, safe climbing, safe descending and happy memories to some great friends on the mountain at the moment and to everyone on both the south and north sides of Everest. Hold your nerve, don't rush it as you need to save every ounce of energy, ignore what everyone else is doing and stick to your own game plane.
Savour the moments and remember, just one foot in front of the other is all it takes as it's only the next step that counts. The same advice in this paragraph goes to my charity fundraisers this weekend on your own Everest in Wales.
Who knows, our climb up Snowdon may inspire one or two to go higher, just like my first challenge for charity did way back in 2003. #thisgirlcan #youcantoo