Thursday, November 11, 2010

After NZ

The experience in NZ has been great and it allowed us to focus on our own safety. It has also brought to my attention that we need to improve a lot more before we can safely climb higher mountains. Now, there will be a break of a month, to allow the body to recover and to focus on the next exciting step.

The final goal is the climb of Muztagh Ata (7,600m) in China in July '11. We will start the planning and preparation in January and as part of the preparation we may as well go back to NZ and climb Tasman in March. This is not decided yet, it is something we didn't include in our original plan, and we'll have to see if time and money for this extra climb can be found.

For the time being I leave you with a fantastic picture taken from the Fox Glacier.

Thank you so much for your support.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Week #9: Last before NZ

This is the last week prior the trip. I am not planning to bring my laptop in New Zealand and this may be my last post. There are reports of massive amount of snow falls on Mount Cook. There will be long days of walking with snow up the knees. Crevasse will be covered by snow, hidden away. It will be harder, it will be more dangerous. I am looking forward to it, this is supposed to be part of the preparation for Muztagh Ata, and nothing is better than a hard training session.I have trained hard the past 9 weeks and now I can finally give my body some rest. I am really looking forward to this trip, all the technical gears are ready, the camera is packed, tickets will be printed today but my mind is already there. I'll try to take pictures, although it is quite hard when you climb, carrying a heavy pack, in the cold...but I will do my best to share with you this adventure! Ciao for now!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Week #8: The hardest week so far

This has been the hardest week since I started. The failure of my sponsorship proposal and the death of Walter Nones have really taken a toll on me. I didn’t train as hard as usual and my morale is quite low. This is happening 2 weeks out of my trip to New Zealand and I know I must bounce back. I thought about the journey I have started and like most mountain climbers I have always avoided the thought of dealing with the consequences of alpinism. The constant threat of injury or death plays a huge role in why people climb, the way the climb and why some of them eventually quit. Alpinism often means high risk and loss of life. It is about your friends dying up in the clouds. Sweep away by avalanches or cowered under a volley of stones, perhaps frozen to death alone at the bottom of a deep, dark crevasse. This is about people dying doing what they love and spectators speculating, judging and maybe having the last word. This is about people and the risks they take: the risks they are equal to, the ones they barely get away with, the one that kill them. I personally believe that as climbers we need to accept fear. The mind produce fear, so fear is subject to its control and we need to acquire the difficult yet essential skill of directing fear, harnessing it as a source of energy. Nobody control a situation in the mountains and it’s vanity to imagine one can. Instead we must grow comfortable with giving up control and acting within uncertainty. Climbing itself has no value, and it is only given worth by what each individual is willing to commit to it. For Walter, the mountain was everything.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Week #7: Still struggling with the sponsors

This week has been tough. I am struggling to get some traction in term of sponsorship and support. Coca Cola and Westpac have rejected the proposal, stating that they have already allocate the funding for the year and that I need to try again next year. I have quickly workout that most of the major company allocate sponsorships on a year by year base, which clash with my 4 years program of work. On the exciting side, the deal with Toyota and RedBull are still progressing and hopefully they will produce positive results.

I have also has email exchange with a climber who made it to Everest and back asking to validate my plan and she suggested a few changes. To include Aconcagua to the list and to remove either Cho Oyu or Shishapangma as they are very similar in term of physical and mental preparation. I think I will take her suggestion on board and, interestingly enough, that could cut the timing to get to Everest of one year (!!!).
Some replanning will occur the last week of October, when I will be in NZ with my climbing partner.

Finally I have spent about 1,200AUD in new gears, buying a new jacket and new ski mask and balaclava! I will publish some pictures soon!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Week #6: Another week gone...

The focus of the week has been on securing a sponsorship deal. This is a great adventure and I am preparing very well, but every great adventure come with a price tag. The whole adventure is about 180,000 AUD over 4 years and help from the sponsors is very important. I know it takes a bit of the romance out of the story, but the budget issue is becoming a bit of a reality check. The sponsorship deal for Red Bull has been sent. I have contacted 9 other major brands but it's hard to get hold of the right people, the key decision makers. If you know anyone in the marketing or communication departments of big corporates, which may have an interest in supporting the challenge, please feel free to send the contacts through.

As for the physical preparation, I have done about 40km this week at various paces. 22km at 4m05sec/km, and two set of 10km at 3m40sec/km. I have moved from the initial 20push up max to series of 35, and improved from 6 pull-ups to 30 pull-ups. Yes, I know, it's not much but things will improve if I keep working hard on it. The swim at 6am, outdoor, in the cold Victoria's spring is still not my cup of tea, but I keep going, hanging in there, and hopefully it will get easier. I have tried taking in salts before swimming and it did help a little, at least I am not cramping anymore after only 500m!

It is important to remember that this is a program of work of 4 years, 210 weeks of work and not all the weeks can be extremely exciting, although it is the consistency and the willingness to keep going, every week, that will bring me up the top of Everest.

Please keep supporting me, as I need any help I can get - thank you!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Week #5: Working on the sponsorship deal

I have spent the last week preparing a solid sponsorship proposal for RedBull and setting up the template that I can apply to other possible sponsors. Taking on lot of advices and suggestions from the guys from the FB Fan page, I have finalised a list of prospects and over the next couple weeks I will push even harder on this front and try to close a few good deals. Thank you so much for your great support and ideas!

As for the training, I keep increasing my leg strength by doing squats (over 750kg per series). Cramps are still a problem, especially during my swimming sessions and I am told that a bit of electrolytes and a pinch of salt could help. I will test the theory next Friday, on my morning swim. I am increasing my stamina, running at 3min40s/km over 12km and finally I have worked at the horizontal bar on pull ups where I still struggle a lot. The pain on my upper body is present after each session, but the recovery is getting faster indicating I am getting stronger.

I am also finalising the logistic details for my AMT (Advanced Mountaineering Training) in NZ. The only problem is that I thought it was only two weeks away (09/10) when the trip it's really a bit less than six weeks away (10/09). I guess I was just too keen to get over there and earn my strips. On the bright side, this mean I still have some extra week to get mentally and physically ready for it!

Thank you for following me in this amazing adventure. This is just the beginning - stay tuned!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Week #4: working on sponsorship

With less than 7 weeks left before my mountaineering trip to NZ, I am focus on my material check list. By the next week I will send out the final list with the items I will rent from the Alpine Guides - which at this stage includes the climbing helmet (I will never buy one!!), a few spare descenders (belay devices) and the bivvy bag which I am definitively not going to buy as I am unsure if I will need it in the next trips. I should manage to keep the cost of new gears under the 2,000$.

Speaking of finances, I have made no progress and the Everest bank account (BANK: Westpac Account Name: Everest 2014 BSB: 033009 Account Number: 437250) is still at less than 400$. I have however contacted RedBull and The North Face sending them the high level plan and I am anxiously waiting for their replies. The Fans Page on Facebook is start getting some attention with the last week scoring 341 contacts up from the 31 contacts of 2 weeks ago. The target is to pass the 1,000 contacts and that will hopefully generate generate some media attention.

As for the physical preparation, I have been training for 6 hours this week - far from my dreamed 24 hours a week, but I as long as I keep increasing the training, I am happy. I know I have room to improve my routine and I will push harder as we approach the end of the year and we enter the crucial 5-6 months prior Muztgah Ata.

Finally, I will wrap up this week's update with a videoclip on what's expecting us 4 years from now. Awareness is not only important but it is the first skill that a good mountaineer need to develop.

The clip was taken on the Khumbu Icefall, simple passage between Base Camp and Camp 1 (about 5,500m)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Week #3: Prep update - NZ is getting closer

Week three of my challenge has been quite interesting. The new job and the fever kept me grounded and so I didn't improve much in term of hours of training. I have spent about four hours in training this week, not even close to my target of 24. However, I have the feeling that from next week I will be able to run almost twice a day. Despite all that, I have been able to push hard on improving my upper body strength, but Rome wasn't build in a day and for the moment I simply enjoy sore muscles. I am up to 50 push up and 30 chin up a day. I know, I should do three set of those, but I am not in a rush to build up my strength.

On Sunday I ran the 10km Lake Attack, finished 4th ( in 38m12s - my objective was 40 minutes, so I guess I have pass the test.

Also went for preliminary shopping (window shopping). For my NZ trip I need the following:
- Balaclava about 50$
- Snow gaiters between 80$ and 120$
- New Jacket (anything between 600$ and 1200$)
- Bivvy bag from BlackDiamond about 600$ (

Well, I guess I will rent the bivvy bag from the Alpine guides in NZ. Speaking of costs and dollars, I have made no progress on both the fronts of media attention and sponsorship. Will try again next week and see if I can have a break through.

Finally, I will take on your suggestion to publish more pictures or video. Here is a good one, about an expedition on Everest, a little more than 10 years ago. It's a fascinating story and I hope you will like it despite it tells the story of a tragic event

Once again, I will update you next week. I welcome any suggestion and idea, chat soon.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Week 2 - Updates

Here the updates for week #2.

Physical preparation: this week has been a bit better, with four consecutive runs and a few short upper body sessions. All in all I have managed to spend about 8 hours training, which is a third of the expected 24 hours of training a week. Something is better than nothing, but I must gradually increase my effort. Unfortunately a bad cold hit me on Thursday and since then I have not been able to train. Next Sunday there is the Lake Attack and 40min for 10km in windy conditions looks a bit of an ambitious task. At the moment I only hope I will run with no cold, as that would obviously affect the breathing.

On the media front, the first media release was sent out on Thursday night, but I didn’t manage to buy the paper on Friday, so I will assume that nothing was printed. It was a good try, and there will be more trials in the coming weeks.

On the funding front, the Everest2014 account has collected $381 – it may seems like a small amount but it is a step in the right direction and I am extremely thankful that friends have put their trust in me and are supporting me in this challenge.

That’s all for now!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Week #1: Training results

Week #1 Training

The week didn't start in the best manner. Strong wind has made impossible to do any outdoor session. The workload has been very minimal with indoor crossfit training (mainly tuckjump, pushup and burpees). Outdoor sessions: only 3 short runs (5km/18min, 6km/22min, 5km/20min) and a pathetic swim (1.5km with cramps). Hopefully next week will be better. I am a bit worry about the 10km run at Albert Park - aiming with 40min is a big ask without training.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Week #1 - The Everest Challenge - Kick-off

The Everest Challenge is in other words the pursuit of happiness. It is a show of determination of a guy who decided to take on the challenge of climbing the highest mountain on Earth. This challenge is based on the knowledge that willingness and desire can overcome many other deficiencies. I know the challenge is going to be a difficult one but I believe that courage is the acceptance that you may not win the challenge but still give it your best in trying to achieve the goals you have set for yourself.

How can you help?
The physical challenge is certainly a huge one to master. However there are other challenges that are already setting the bar high at the stage of planning. Each expedition has a cost which is anywhere from 10,000AUD to about 80,000AUD. The total cost of reaching the end of the roadmap is estimated to be about 180,000AUD over a period of 4 years.

To help me progress in this challenge you can:

• Publish the link of this blog on your Facebook or Twitter account, so that you can help me generate interest and attract sponsorship;

• Send me the contacts of people who may be interested in sponsoring the Challenge (e.g. Marketing departments of large firms, Newspaper columnists, TV show producers);

• Click on the ads at the bottom and on the side of this page (each click will generate 0.2$);

• Help me by directly donating by clicking here:

What’s next?

A series of initiatives will be launched to promote the Everest Challenge. A series of weekly updates on the preparation will be provided on this blog, with true inside on the challenges and the struggles moving towards the intermediate goals highlighted in the road map. A section on frequently asked questions will be created and updates on budget and expenditure will be available online. Any suggestions for additional initiatives are more than welcome and I am more than happy for you to join me in this experience, not necessarily climbing the mountains, but helping with any aspect of the challenge (e.g. media, marketing, accounting, etc).