31/01/10 More snow and over £1000 raised!

Location: Hathersage

Have just got back from a great weekend in Hathersage with family. We had previously made a flying visit to see my new nephew Ethan on the way back to the farm in December, but this time we stayed a couple of nights, went for a short walk yesterday in the peaks, bought a down jacket that wasn't quite so massive (see picture below of Jen) in a half price sale and then failed to display any balance at all on the Wii fit last night. Lets hope there's no snow jumps, tightrope walks or penguins on Everest.

Today was a drive back to Newcastle (where there's a couple of inches of lovely crisp snow again), lunch with friends who visited us in Nepal and tonight I'm packing for a trip up to Scotland tomorrow for a few days. I'm catching the 'Mega Bus' to Dundee at 5.40am in the morning, then getting picked up by Andy to drive on to Fraoch Lodge for a couple of days in the snow in the Cairngorms. Thursday I'll be off to Glasgow to meet the Vango team and talk to their R&D guys. Should be a good few days - but probably wont get the chance to reveal all till thursday night. In the meantime here area couple of pics from the weekend. Oh and we've smashed the thousand pound barrier for the Just Giving page - fantastic work you generous souls, thanks again.

A wee fella with little hair...and Ethan


Amelia shows me how to climb a proper mountain

28/01/10 Toys, new toys

Location: In the flat waiting for...

...new gear from Mountain Hardwear, which has finally arrived at 4.00pm after a day sitting around waiting for it to be delivered (some time between 9.00am and 5.30pm says the citylink website, helpfully). The knock at the door finally came and there is now an empty box in the lounge surrounded by wrapping. Two pairs of high altitude mitts, a sweet new gortex top and best of all an enormous 900 fill goose down expedition jacket - which is the right size but looks absolutely massive! I suspect Jen may laugh when she sees me wearing it.

Otherwise - more donations, thanks people really appreciate it, nearly a grand now which is great going. Some people have made a guess at the summit time and date but others don't seem so keen. I spent quite a while trying to decide wether to go ahead with the whole summit guessing thing in case I don't get to the top, but in the end I figured it might make the whole thing more interesting. Was it a good idea? too late to go back on it now I guess.

During the day I've managed to sort out flights. In the end I got no free flights or discount on price, no free upgrade or discounted upgrade, and no additional luggage or discount on additional luggage, so all those phonecalls and emails was time well spent. On the plus side I got £25 off expedition insurance by going through the BMC website - result.

Best do some training now...

25/01/10 Thanks for the sponsorship, in return you get to see me looking...well decide for yourselves...scroll down for your viewing displeasure

Location: Greens

First off a massive thank you to everyone who has donated already. The Just Giving page has only been open for a few days and already you generous lot have chipped in with nearly EIGHT HUNDRED POUNDS! Thanks so much and pat yourselves on the back (plus send me a predicted summit time and date if you haven't already). If you plan to donate but haven't got round to it yet, don't worry I know the feeling - but now seems like as good a time as any wouldn't you say. Cheers for the support.

So what news? Well I had an email from a friend today telling me to keep the blog going as it was 'almost semi-funny' (thanks Ricky). Today has been a day of more phone calls and admin. What seems like ages ago I tried to get some free flights sorted out as a way of sponsoring the expedition. None of the carriers who fly from Heathrow to Kathmandu were game so instead I asked them all for maybe a discount, again no dice. So then I asked for maybe a free upgrade...nada. So I'm now limited to asking them for maybe some free additional weight allowance due to me going on a three month expedition...so far nothing....I know it's a tough time for the industry but if you can afford to sponsor a Premiership football team...

On to some good news though and the lovely people at Mountain Hardwear have come up trumps again. Not the big-hearted Tendi this time but the UK arm who have agreed that it would nice now that I have the down suit to be single company attired. The result is a healthy discount on their expedition stuff which I've just bulk ordered - looking forward to that delivery already. 

I also had a chat with Andy, one of the other volunteers at Pheriche, and we are planning a trip up into the Scottish snow next week. Will let you know how it goes but looking forward to testing out some of my new gear and seeing if the gym has retained the fitness I built up in Nepal. Time will tell, I suspect not though.

Otherwise it was a run to the gym then 55km on the bike. So my *rse is now sore.

Embarrassing pictures below (not of my *rse you'll be glad to know, though I do look a bit like one).

p.s. Congratulations to Adam and Nic on their engagement, great news.

22/01/10 Blimey, Thanks

Location: Newcastle

Bloomin 'eck. Yesterday I finally got the Just Giving page working so went the whole hog and set up a facebook group and invited all my friends to join it - thus letting everyone on there know about the expedition and this website. Was a bit of a nervy moment sending out the invites but the response has been fantastic - a massive thank you to everyone who has donated already and everyone who has joined the facebook group, thanks to each and every one of you! A few good luck messages from friends is always encouraging so cheers people. Plus the website traffic has shot up and I've even had a few grumpy questions about why this blog hasn't been done yet, so apologies that this is late.

Erm, so last night, I rocked up at the gym at 6pm and it was full, obviously. Met a guy who is doing the Sahara Marathon (good luck to him) and the photographer wanted pictures of the two of us training. So there's me in my full down suit, harness, gloves, plastic climbing boots, hat and expedition sunglasses - whilst marathon man is in vest, shorts and trainers. Tommy the photographer then gets us on the weights bench, the rowing machine, the treadmill, pretending to dive into the pool etc. Did I look like a knob? yes. Did lots of people ask me if I was hot? Yes. Was it worth? Christ I hope so. Photos to follow soon.

21/01/10 Donations page is up and running

Location: Newcastle

Well its taken far longer to arrange than I hoped but the Just Giving donations page for the expedition is now finally up and running. If you're reading this then hopefully you are interested in the charities and the expedition so please take the time to make a contribution if you can. The address for the page is:
www.justgiving.com/Ed-on-Everest, though I hope to add links all over this site to it as well. Plus guess the summit time and date (clue - probably early to mid May) and if I make it up on time you get prizes. If I don't make it up I guess I'll just pick a name at random, good idea? let me know what you think.

In other news, tonight is photo shoot night at the gym. I've been asked to bring my down suit, climbing boots, harness, ice axe - this is going to be embarrassing. I'll let you know just how embarrassing tomorrow.

20/01/10 Vango sign up

Location: The gym, mostly

Great news, the outdoor equipment company Vango have agreed to sponsor the expedition! This is fantastic as they have offered to provide a load of gear, including an expedition tent, which will help to keep costs down. They want some product review work done in return, which is fair enough, so I need to travel up to Glasgow soon to meet their R+D people and pick up the gear. Check out their website here.

I also had an interview with Living North magazine so it's been a successful day all round. Hoping to get the article in their february edition.

19/01/10 Photoshoot is a dirty word

Location: Newcastle

A busy day spent mostly in the gym. However this afternoon I had another press interview with Accent magazine. Becky, who interviewed me, was lovely and said she would try and get as large a piece in the magazine as possible which is good news. I also had an email from Chris at Greens asking when I would be available for a photoshoot! with my face this can only go badly.

18/01/10 In the Local

Location: Bristol

Just got back from a great weekend away seeing family and friends down in the south. Spent friday with Jen's family as we had to pick up some gear and paperwork we had left with them. Charlie managed to twist my arm into going to the pub for a couple plus it's always nice to indulge in some of Hazel's cooking (I don't care if some people think parma ham and melon is too 'eighties', I love it). Saturday we went to see Molly and Stu to celebrate their engagement. There was champagne and Jen was happy. 

On to today and I received a cutting in the post this morning (thanks Mum) of my article that is in this weeks Horncastle News! Seeing as they called to interview me the evening before the day it came out, I assume it was a bit of a rush, so well done for getting it in guys - no mention of this website unfortunately - but I'm hoping to find a working scanner so I can add an extra page to this site for stuff like this. 

I also had a chat with the head of PR at Vango, I've been in talks with them for a while now and they seem keen to get involved. More on this on Wednesday hopefully...

14/01/10 Interview and Snow

Location: Cheviot Hills

Met up with Steve from the Northern Echo this morning in town for an interview. Felt like it went well and he was a nice bloke so lets see how the article comes out. After that Si and I drove up to the Cheviots for a hike in the hills. Managed to get the car stuck down a small side lane and had to dig it out of the snow with a shovel. So change of plan and we just trekked up onto the higher ground and found ourselves breaking trail through knee deep powder. It was knackering so good training and nice to have a change from the treadmill and get out into the fresh, if freezing cold, north east air.

13/01/10 Sir Chris Bonington gets in touch

Location: Newcastle

Had a really nice surprise this morning when I opened up my emails to find one from Sir Chris Bonington (for those who don't know about his climbing exploits click here). When Jen and I went to the Nepali ministers climate change meeting near Namche just before the Copenhagen debacle, we met Ian Wall of Community Action Nepal and got chatting. Turns out Chris was best man at Ian's wedding and so they knew each other well. So I told Ian about my plans for Everest and the HRA and asked him to let his mate know about them as he's a bit of a legend in the mountaineering game. The end result - an email of encouragement from the man himself, great stuff.

12/01/10 Training

Location: Newcastle

Today has been a good day. I've been told I need to add more details about my fitness training regime so here goes:
Short run, 50km bike ride, weights session and then 2km swim. It was all done in Greens gym as there is still lots of ice on the roads and pavements and right now I can't risk a broken ankle or leg. However I was there for a good three and a half hours and now feeling great if hungry. 

I've also been in touch with Sandy Scott of the Everest Memorial Trust. They are the guys that built the clinic in Pheriche and help to keep it going. Best of all though they are a UK registered charity and have agreed to act as a collection point for the fundraising money. The problem I was having, and the reason for the delay in actual fundraising, is that the H.R.A. is based in Nepal. This meant that any generous donations would incur a fee of around £20 for an international bank transfer. So instead of raising money for charities, I'd be raising money for banks! Now I know some of them haven't been doing brilliantly recently, but...

11/01/10 London Weekend, Newspaper Interview

Location: Newcastle

Its monday morning again so Jen is back to the GP coal face and I'm here sending out emails and making calls. However we have just had a great weekend in London with a load of our old Newcastle friends. We weren't a hundred percent sure if we were going to risk the drive on friday but decided the weather had improved enough to make it worth our while and I'm glad we did. We managed to catch up with an old uni friend on friday night who was over from Australia then had a great get together on the saturday for a curry in Tooting. Kirsty even surprised us with cakes to celebrate our 30th birthdays. The walk home to Balham turned into a marathon snowball fight (Will/Mark - you definitely lost that one).

Yesterday was a long drive broken up with a stop to see my cousin Tim, his wife Noel and their new son Camilo - congratulations guys (check out www.hitchinlavender.com to see the Hunter family business).

So on to today and this afternoon; I gave an over the phone interview to the Horncastle news. I thought it was just going to be a chat to organise an interview so it was a bit rushed. Anyone from the area keep an eye out for the article - fingers crossed it's okay.

05/01/10 Its Snowy up North

Location: Newcastle

Back in the Toon after so long away to find the place is covered in snow and it feels colder than Nepal.  Had a meeting with Chris, the manager of Greens Gym, and he's kindly agreed that I can use the place for free to help get fit for the climb - which is is a massive relief as I don't fancy running around in this ice and there's more crappy weather on its way. Right I've got shorts, trainers, t-shirt... what else do I need?