Expeditions

Jordan 2018 – Searching for a Desert Rose…

I’m a mountaineer.  I climb mountains, love mountains and speak about mountains.  People drive me as wild as I do them, because of my adventures, cock ups and rescues, but I travel to other places too.  I’ve bashed through dense jungles, crossed open plains and sailed oceans across the globe.  During late 2017 I decided that I needed a change.  The year had been a tough one and I was tired.  Tired physically, tired mentally and tired emotionally.  I needed a break, but wasn’t sure what to do.

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Uganda 2017 – To the the Mountains of the Moon, and Back… Part 2

We left the Bujuku Hut at 4am in our attempt to summit Mt. Speke 4890m (16.042ft).  Initially the terrain was thick bog and undergrowth, but this gave way to more open ground as the sun tried to break through the dense clouds.  We ascended a large scree field suffering faltering disability, reaching the ridge early morning.  This is where our problems began.  Thick rime ice had plastered the rocks, making what should have been a challenging scramble, impassable.  The only way we could summit was to circumnavigate the peak and approach it from the opposite side.  It’s all sounds so easy to read it here, but what followed was a two-hour slog up and down scree scattered boulders and exposed edges.  At least the clouds broke occasionally and allowed extensive views over the range and the tongue of the Ruwenzori Glacier.  This ice used to allow easy access to Ruwenzori Peak, but its retreat has made any ascent of the mountain a real challenge.  Few ever venture there now because of the loose rock and unstable ridge.

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Uganda 2017 – To the the Mountains of the Moon, and Back… Part 1

I rarely look for adventure.  Adventure finds me.  The years of scouring maps and magazines for interesting places are gone.  I’m extremely lucky to have wonderful friends across the world who share my passion for travel, as we love to share our experiences.  Sibusiso Vilane and myself met many years ago, climbing Carstensz Pyramid in Iran Jaya.  Since that day, we have been great friends.  Sibusiso has had some wonderful ideas, including cross the Drakensburgs and trekking the Otter Trail.  So when he said ‘how about climbing in the Mountains of the Moon in Uganda..?’  I leapt at the chance.  The Rwenzori’s were extensively explored during the colonial era and even starred in Rider Haggard adventure books.  The Idi Amin era saw much change, but people are back.  I have to admit however being surprised when asked to bring Wellington’s as well as an ice axe, crampons and mountain boots..!Read More »Uganda 2017 – To the the Mountains of the Moon, and Back… Part 1

Himlung Diary part 2 – The Haunting…

Icefall

One of my favourite ghost films is ‘The Haunting‘.  Based on the wonderfully written book by Shirley Jackson, it tells the story of a house which is haunted by a ghost you never see.  Door handles move and people feel strange presences, but there is no visible spectre.  Why am I writing about this when I’m mountaineering in Nepal..?  Well, an old ghost came to visit me on the hill one night…

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Himlung Diary part 1 – Tragedy in the Snow…

Lonely-Farm
I struggled to cram the last big of kit into my huge bag.  It wasn’t anything technical like crampons or ice screws, or vital like my first aid kit or medication, but that half bottle of Talisker I was determined to take into the mountains.  Eventually it slipped in, but I though to myself ‘after all these years, why do I still take so much stuff..?’  I was sure I’d got too much gear, but knew that Himlung was notorious for its cold weather.

Nepal – 2009AD

Ama-Dablam-sunset

Ama Dablam is one of the classic mountains of the Himalayas. It is technical, remote and full of mountaineering challenges. During October and November 2009 I took on the SW Ridge and pushed my climbing to the limit…

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SE Asia 2005 – Warmer Climbs

Being back in the tropics was quite a change of climate from my last expeditions. I experienced jungle life at its best (and wettest), climbed high peaks and experienced differing cultures and customs. Volcanic activity halted one of my climbs and a boating accident almost cost me dear, but once again I have had an incredible adventure!Read More »SE Asia 2005 – Warmer Climbs