Easter Newsletter 201324 April 2013
Hi to all
Chamonix, 24 April 2013
At long last I have reluctantly joined Facebook, mainly because others have been trying to impersonate me, so better that I make the real Russell Brice page.
But please do not expect too much from me, I prefer to be private during my time away from expeditions, and during expeditions I prefer to work hard on the logistics rather than talk about it. So most updates will generally be from my Expedition Newsletters or as I am told, these should be called blogs. But whatever, I will endeavour to send some form of information about what I and others around me are up to.
So I depart from Chamonix tomorrow to start my 39th commercial Himalayan Expedition and my 18th on Everest. You will get information about this trip in due course, but in the meanwhile here is a little bit of news about the winter season here in Chamonix.
I was fortunate enough to be asked to join my part time next door neighbour Chris Dovell on his trip to Vinson in Antarctica. Chris is progressing towards his 7 Summits and seems to want to drag me along with him, so I try to not slow him down too much. We had a great trip with Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions who provided us with great guides and logistical support. Himalayan Experience will be offering trips to Vinson in the future using these same logistics. We were also lucky to have Chimu a past Himex client and the founder of the Intiraymi Fund join us on this trip.
We summited on a typical cold windy day, but the wind was only strong for the last half hour or so. Having returned to Vinson BC we were offered a quick trip back home, but Chris and I elected to stay longer so long as we were allowed to climb some other peaks.
The first peak was a traverse of Mt Rossman which is just behind the Union Glacier Base Camp. Apparently this was the 4th traverse, but really we did not care as this was a great sunny and clear day with fantastic views. For our next summit we were dropped off in the middle of nowhere and we headed for an unclimbed summit some 1 ½ hours walk on the flat before we even started to climb.
But a few hours later we reached the summit of this peak which we called Le Dahu. During the trip to Vinson we had often talked about this legendary animal that has two legs longer than the other two, so can only go around mountains in one direction. And when we reached the summit of this peak we found that there was a long side and a short side where it butted up to the Polar Plateau, so we found it fitting to call this peak Le Dahu. Of course it was another cold and windy day, but spirits were warmed by the company of fellow NZ guide and long time friend Lydia Bradey who was guiding an Adventure Consultants team on Vinson.
We were also lucky enough to help the regular ALE staff to pack up parts of the Union Glacier Base Camp. All in all it was well worth while the extra few days, and in the end we were still home on the flights that we had already booked in advance.
I am also pleased to announce that the Culture Centre that Himalayan Experience has been promoting over the last 2 years has now been completed. Chimu and his Intiraymi Fund were supporters of this project, and if you feel that you can help with funding for furniture, books and the like, please feel free to donated to his fund. Although the building is now complete there is still work to be done inside. We thought of having an opening at the end of this Everest season, but figured that there will be so many things going on at that time because of the Everest 60th Jubilee. So we will have a small opening in October when our Sherpa staff have returned from Manaslu and before they start the Himalayan Experience Ama Dablam north ridge trip.
I also headed back to Beijing for a couple of days to work with our outdoor clothing and equipment company Toread. This is a long term project where Toread have supplied all my Sherpa staff with uniforms and Himex with tents and sleeping bags. In return we are all giving comments back concerning materials, quality, design and the like, so these meetings are long and tedious, but very constructive. Toread have also agreed to sponsor Simrik Helicopters in Nepal so as well as having a Kiwi pilot they will also be in smart uniforms.
Whilst in Beijing I was an honored guest at the Toread booth at the ISPO show, where a new partnership with Discovery Channel China was announced. This will involve some exciting projects in the coming months.
But also I was invited to The Golden Rhino Awards where I presented the award for the Best Outdoor Woman. Of course in typical Chinese style, I had no idea that I was to present awards, so in my ignorance I was wondering why so much attention was being paid to this event. So it was also a big surprise to find that I was making this presentation to Jing Wang who is one of the company directors of Toread, for her efforts in climbing Makalu and Broad Peak last year.
After Everest last year I vowed to try and help the SPCC – Ice Fall Doctors with equipment and training. This took a small back ward step with the death from old age of Ang Nima who was the leader of the Ice Fall Doctors. I am sure there will be a ceremony for Ang Nima at BC this year. However, despite this three of the SPCC team went on a mountaineering training course with the Khumbu Climbing Centre which I am sure will be reflected in the route through the Ice Fall this year. Toread has once again come to the party and have sponsored the SPCC with clothing and tents for the staff. Lowa have donated boots, and I have been able to purchase at reduced prices Icom radios, and I have also bought avalanche transceivers. I hope that these small efforts will be appreciated by the Ice Fall Doctors, and that they will in turn understand that we as operators value their work immensely. I still aim to get better hardware such as harnesses, helmets and crampons for them, but I suspect that this is next year’s project.
Best I go and pack, more from Base Camp.