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Australian Professional Cyclist

Kathmandu – Ama Dablam

Sunday 23rd: Day One

I landed at the Kathmandu airport expecting absolute chaos like the time I landed here years ago. No chaos this time; new easy to use machines for the 30-day Visa – they even took credit card for payment this time too. My two huge duffle bags were on the belt ready to be collected once I’d cleared customs. I was met by two of the Nimsdai-Group staff who drove me from the airport to the Marriott hotel – it was already getting dark. As I was looking out the window viewing all the fallen buildings, rubble and debris in piles on the road and the construction taking place (ongoing  repairs from the 2015 earthquake) I felt really sad reflecting on all the lives taken by nature on that horrible day and of course, during the days that followed. Natra hāmī birsanc hauṁ.

 Nimsdai logo and signage at the Marriott Hotel KathmanduNames and heights of mountains of the world Marriot Hotel KathmanduAt the same time, I started to get an uncontrollable dry cough and allergy symptoms from all the dust and dry air outside. My advice is, if you ever land in Kathmandu to do an expedition, try to start you walk, hike, climb, ride ASAP. Do your sightseeing and shopping after you achieve your physical goals. My porters sped me through the check-in process and got me into my room ASAP so I could crash and get a good night’s sleep.

Monday 24th: Day Two

Today was meant to be a gear check day and final shopping for items we were missing. When my phone rang at 11am for gear check, I said ‘Sorry it’s not possible today, I’m unwell’. I was sleeping really deep, had weak muscles, tight chest, was coughing up green phlegm and had bad diarrhea……and a headache. I made a huge mistake when I got into my room last night, the very classy Marriott gave me the comfort to brush my teeth in their water…. Yep, second time I’ve made that mistake. *All unbottled water in Nepal is disastrous for weak stomachs.

Tuesday 25th: Day Three

I slept until 10am and rushed down to get breakfast. I ate very plain food but unfortunately, I had to leave the table in a hurry for the loo. I called my doctor immediately and started antibiotics and other meds to get things under control before this epic expedition with the boss Nimsdai (14 Peaks on Netflix). I didn’t see anyone yesterday and just keep falling in and out of deep sleep all day. I did order a lovely in-room dining dinner. It was magic; however, it didn’t stay in for too long. 

Nimsdai Achieve your new possibleThis year’s Nimsdai-Group has 25 other clients/climbers and of course the strongest, fittest and largest crew to assist a successful ascent to the top of Ama Dablam, and return! 6800m.

Nimsdai’s new shop is located inside the Marriott hotel, it’s amazing. It’s something you must see if you appreciate what a mountaineer can achieve! Not to mention they have the newest kit and gear available from some of the top brands in the sport.

I managed to buy some new Scarpa trail/climbing shoes, Scarpa Phantom 8000m boots/a Nimsdai thermos/Nimsdai buff and beanie/two sets of Therm-ic heated gloves/ Therm-ic hand and toe warmers’/a set of three Osprey packing bags and an Osprey money wallet.

Essentails packed for Ama Dablam GoPro La SportivaThe North Face duffle packs ready to summit Ama DablamElite Exped air mat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had more of a rest before the official briefing at 4pm. After we concentrated very hard on the formalities and logistics, Nimsdai was invited to take the floor while a short inspirational movie about him was playing in the background. Nimsdai changed the entire feeling in the room. (25 guests/climbers). He took our nerves away, gave us confidence, reminded us why we were here and somehow, I’m sure the 25 of us left the room feeling we want to make him proud of us.

Yesterday I spent the entire day in bed (coughing) thinking this goal to reach the top of Ama Dablam is already over for me. Nimsdai’s words made a huge difference, you just can’t not respect and believe in a man’s words who has achieved so much.  Nothing is impossible” Nimsdai MBE

The groups are leaving at 4:30am tomorrow morning. I’m taking one more day’s rest and catching them up at Namche Bazzar. 3340m

Wednesday 26th: Day Four          

Nimsdai gave me the royal treatment today, allowing me to rest all day while his staff went out and purchased the remainder of the equipment I was missing; 2 x air mattresses, a foldable mat to put under the blow-up mattress for protection, some glove liners, booties to wear inside my sleeping bag a special water bottle and more…

Elite Exped and essentials for summiting Ama DablamI had to pack two big bags today, one for base camp and one for the 5-6 day trek up to base camp. I was very confused and just hope I put all the right equipment in the right bags. I’m guessing the Sherpa’s will carry the two big bags each day and I’ll have my back pack and walking sticks for the trek up to base camp.

Thursday 27th: Day Five   

5am: 95% O2/90bpm RHR

Kathmandu: 1400m

(after 3 days sick in bed with chest infection and antibiotics)

An exciting day today! I woke feeling a bit better, around 85% – my chest is still a little tight and I’m coughing a lot in the morning and evening. I got a little scared today when Nimsdai said he’ll assess me during the next days but if it appears that I still have a chest infection, he won’t let me climb beyond base camp ?. 

Rochelle Gilmore and good friend LarryIn any case I received a message late last night from an Australian friend (more like family to me) Larry Wicks, who I’d not seen for years saying that he was staying just down the road, so we arranged to have breakfast together at 9am this morning. It was such a boost to my moral – he is off on an exciting MTB tour while I’m hoping to start hiking to Base Camp and clear this chest infection so I can get onto the summit climb. I’m so VERY determined. I know I must listen to my boss Nimsdai and we don’t want another repeat of my last bout of AMS so, I just need to stay relaxed and positive. We have a great group of 25 people here and I really want to remain part of it! 

After lunch Nimsdai and I had an idea to fly his chopper from Kathmandu up to Base Camp, drop off everyone’s Base Camp bags and then fly back down to Namche and join the group from here – for the trekking up to base camp.

Our chopper ran into some superfast moving thick cloud and we were losing visibility so we had to head straight back to Namche before reaching Base Camp and make a very quick swift landing and bag unpack so the pilot could take off again for Kathmandu – before he lost all visibility. We hope he got back safely!

9pm: 78% O2/89bpm RHR

Namche: 3440m

(chest infection and antibiotics)

Rochelle Gilmore and Nimsdai in front of helicopter Rochelle Gilmore and Nimsdai about to board helicopter

Friday 28th: Day Six

5am: 80% O2/94bpm RHR

Namche: 3440m

(chest infection and antibiotics- Zero Sleep)

Today was an acclimatisation day where we climbed up a little bit (440m) and back down to the same hotel. As I flew in yesterday from 1400m directly to 3440m I could really feel the altitude on the stairs. I was dragging my feet up the stairs, using the railing, stopping, and breathing deep. It’s tough mentally to stay positive. Even though I arrived with a chest infection, questions pop into my mind like ‘how can I be so weak and unfit’. The brain is an amazing tool. I’m starting to tell myself things will get better, take it easy, don’t worry about being the slowest, it’s not a race, the ones who reach the summit are the winners and I still believe, that if I can rest and take it nice and slow on the way up to base camp, I can trek this thing out of my chest and find some strength in my legs before we try to summit. It’s times like these when you need to do EVERYTHING right. Stay warm, nutrition, hydration, medicines, stretching, relax with music, rest when you can, good sleep (difficult at altitude), smile when you can!

The odds really do feel against me at the moment with a tight chest (and a sore back when laying down) and a very annoying cough. At least I don’t have the altitude headaches yet – touch wood.

After our acclimatisation walk, I continued down into the Namche centre to buy some warmer, more comfortable trekking and climbing trousers, electrolyte powder, WiFi credit, snack bars and, to find an ATM.

Tomorrow we set off around 8am for a 6-7 hour trek up towards Ama Dablam Base Camp.

5pm: 80% O2/100bpm RHR

Back down at Namche: 3440m

(chest infection and antibiotics- Zero Sleep)

Saturday 29th: Day Seven

Nothing too exciting to report today. I finally got some deep sleep last night YAY! We trekked from Namche (3440m) to Deboche (3820m). So, we’re only sleeping 380m higher than last night. It was around a 10km trek; flat for around 6-7km and then quite steep up to our accommodation. I no longer feel like I have a chest infection however I did feel like my legs were a little weak on the stairs today, maybe from the antibiotics which I’ll continue until the course is finished in another few days. Other than that, I have a heel blister managed by COMPEED® and/so I’ll change from shoes into my Scarpa boots tomorrow.

When we stop in the shade to regroup, I’m always freezing cold! Need different/better clothes?

Many people in our group are sick, at least 10-12 people (from 25) are taking antibiotics.

Tonight we’re staying in a hut with warm showers, real beds and a room to ourselves. Tomorrow we will reach base camp and then we’ll be in tents on a blow up mattress, no heating, no hot showers etc..

I feel my biggest mountaineering challenge is staying warm and hence, healthy.

8pm: 80% O2/100bpm RHR

Deboche: 3820m

Garmin Stats:

9.82km’s

5hr53min

Calories: 1806

HR avg: 138

HR max: 183

Ascent: 770m

Descent: 444m

 

 

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