The phrase “there are simply not enough superlatives in the English language….”, is one which I feel is becoming overused these days. I quote this because I hear it a lot, and heard it recently whilst watching a video of Michael Palin’s fantastic “Himalaya” series on DVD. He used it when seeing Everest for the first time, and I can only say that I hope to join him in coining that phrase for myself.

Today then is a landmark day in my life. I have decided that I will trek to Everest base camp, come what may, hell or high water etc. It has been brewing for some considerable time of course, but today was the day that did it. I may look back in years to come as to what catapulted my thoughts into this state of dedication to the mountain, and so I should write them down here, for posterity if nothing else. They will follow in later posts.

The decision making process has been going on for some time I should say – maybe even for years, but recent events have got me to where I am now.

Everything was ultimately so complicated though, and so more of that in later posts too.

In recent weeks I have read several books on the 1996 Everest disaster, in which 12 climbers lost their lives. The books by Jon Krakauer and Anotoli Boukreev tell quite vividly different accounts of an awful and frightening occasion, and what they both did for me was make me want to climb the mountain. Yes CLIMB. I can’t climb a tree, but that’s what they make me want to do. That is where I got to with Kilimanjaro – I felt that the more I read about altitude sickness, and scary stories about how you might die up there etc, the more I wanted to be there.

With Everest it is more than that, a whole lot more. For one I can’t climb it. I am not capable (I have literally no climbing experience whatsoever), couldn’t afford it (it costs around £50,000 for a trip these days, before equipment and flights etc), and certainly haven’t the time (they recommend about 72 days I believe in the region to acclimatise etc. before going up to the top). Despite all that why do I find myself researching climbing trips to not just this but the whole of the Seven Summits?? Well let’s see where that all gets to….

For now I the important thing for me is that I am back on track – the time is now! In the past 48 hours I have deliberated over so many things: Who to trek with? (there are so many travel companies out there); What equipment do I need?; Whether to just do Base Camp or to combine it with another peak (much more of that later…..); Which camera to buy? :); How soon to do it? etc. The most important thing (though very definitely never easy for me) is to concentrate firmly on the most important objective – to get to see Everest, preferably from the ‘classic’ view point, which is apparently from a place called Kala Patthar, from where you get views like this:

Everest from Kala Pattar

I can’t even comment on the above right now – there are no words, let alone superlatives, that could tell you how I would, no, how I WILL feel, when I get to see that for myself.

So when I stared this blog 18 months or more ago, I had no idea when I named it “To Kilimanjaro and Beyond”, what the ‘beyond’ bit might be. Well for now it is going to be to pay a visit to what the Nepalese Sherpa call “Chomolungma”, which translates to “Goddess Mother of the Earth”. Now how exciting is that?

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