NEWSLETTERS - Manaslu 2010

Newsletter 1226 September 2010

Himex takes home Manaslu cricket trophy

The international Himex cricket team has become one of the highest cricket champions after winning the long-awaited match on the famous cricket grounds at the dizzying heights of Manaslu base camp at 4,700m. The home team challenged the ‘Dream Guides’ crew, whose captain Kenton Cool had to bite the bullet and give away a bottle of whisky to the winners. “We had a bit of a secret in our team and the opposition were not aware of our capacities,” Himex captain Russell Brice said referring to former professional New Zealand cricket player, Adam Parore.

“I have played many matches in my life but this was one of the better ones,” Adam said after the match. “The batting and bowling was certainly more breathtaking than usually, and so were the views.” The challenge began at 3 o’clock on Saturday afternoon after the Himex team had spent most of the morning preparing for the big match, which included laying out the pitch with a green carpet.

And of course, it would not be a proper cricket match without a proper uniform! As most of the Sherpas were up the hill working on the route to Camp III, the Himex cricket team consisting of Woody, Adam, Russell, Alan, Matthew and Adrian, snuck into their tents and borrowed their red Himex t-shirts and yellow jackets – and in combination with black trousers and a white cap the cricketers’ outfit was perfect. After the dress rehearsal, a few bottles of champagne and other beverages were brought out and the cheerleaders were busy making pompoms out of toilet paper. “This will be my debut as cheerleader,” Ellen called out in excitement while Matt was composing a special song for the event.

As soon as everything was ready, the team was eager for the ‘Dream Guides’ to come down the hill from their quarters. “Unfortunately we could only find five players and one of us is a Swede who has never even seen a cricket match on television,” explained Dream Guides Captain, Kenton Cool upon his arrival. Fortunately, the Himex team was kind enough to lend one of their finest players, Mr Lacchu, to the opposition and after Matt had played the Himex anthem with the cheerleaders swinging their hips and toilet paper to his tunes, it was time to start the match.

Match Report

After holding a lengthy strategic discussion on whether to bat or field first, Russell lost the toss, and the Himex team was inserted. Alan and Adrian successfully negotiated a furious opening over from the Lacchu Express, but then in a hectic spell both became victims of the perplexed Swedish wicket keeper, Adam sharply caught behind and Adrian somehow stumped. Russell was tragically run out, napping during a quick single, but some late lusty blows took Himex to 38 at the close of their first, five over, innings. In reply, Dream Guides scored 32, leaving the match finely balanced at the first champagne interval.

In their second innings, Himex set off at a brisk pace. After Matthew was improbably caught by a player hidden beneath the prayer flags, Adam smote three successive sixes, almost clearing Crampon Point to set Dream Guides a challenging score of 58 to save their bottle of whisky. They were in trouble once their key batsman was smartly stumped by Adam off Russell’s beguiling on and off spin. At the death, it was left to the steely-nerved Woody to send down the final over with Captain Cool on strike. And notwithstanding one rather wayward delivery which almost reached Samagoan, Woody’s crafty variation of pace, speed and especially direction restricted Dream Guides to a total of 34, leaving Himex victorious, to the delight of the partisan, drunk crowd.

A welcome change

The match provided a welcome change to a normal afternoon at base camp and the Dream Guides team seemed happy to have lost a bottle of whisky in exchange for such a thrilling event. “We have had such a good day and losing our ONLY bottle of whisky was well worth it,” said Andy of the opposition, who had spent most of the match telling the clueless but very talented Swede Fred, how to play cricket, which despite their defeat had certainly improved their game.

The match ended with some snacks prepared by the Himex kitchen team, who was busier than usual during Saturday’s game. Despite the fact that Lacchu was playing for the opposition and Phuri was regularly clearing the pitch for the players, the kitchen crew still managed to impress the visitors with tomato and gherkin sandwiches delivered on homemade bread! And while everyone was happily scoffing down their snacks and drinking champagne, Doctor Monica voiced her contentment about the fact that nobody was injured during the match. “It would have been bad to deal with injuries so close to our summit push,” she said.

Summit attempt

And this is exactly what the Himex team is focusing on now – the summit push. On Sunday afternoon, Russell, Monica, Adrian and Woody gave their lecture about the intricacies of the route during the summit push, the itinerary, the use of oxygen and how to best avoid frostbite. “If you have cold feet or fingers, there are only three things you can do: crank up the oxygen, which is probably the most efficient method, move your cold digits or put them inside yours or somebody else’s downsuit. If nothing helps your only option is to go down,” Monica explained to a captivated audience.

Russell gave us a rundown of the itinerary, according to which we are leaving base camp for our summit push on Monday, 27th September. “This plan is only on a piece of paper and it is subject to change but in the best case scenario we should be summiting on 1st October.”

During our summit attempt, the members and guides will spend one night in each of the camps, with the last camp being at 7,450m. “We will be using oxygen from Camp III and we certainly have enough gas for everyone to be comfortable during the climb,” Adrian explained. Our strong Sherpa crew will go directly from base camp to Camp III, from where they will lead the way to Camp IV. Every member of the team will be climbing without a personal Sherpa until Camp IV, from where everyone will be accompanied by a Sherpa all the way to the summit and back.

Even though we all had been in contact with the Sherpa crew on different occasions, we all met the Sherpas who we will be climbing with during the lecture and everyone seemed happy with the choice the team had made. Most of the Sherpas come either from Kumjung or Phortse in the Khumbu and they have been working for Himex for many years. “You are all very lucky as all of our Sherpas are extraordinarily strong,” Russell said.

Monica and the kitchen team will be holding the fort at base camp and if solar power and technology permit, Monica will be updating the Newsletter on our progress.