October 17th, 2007


Meeting to discuss Expedition to Mount Kailash via Nepal/Tibet

Today I have a meeting over a coffee planned with Bill, to discuss the logistics of an expedition to Mount Kailash in Tibet.

Mount Kailash is a holy mountain situated on the Tibetan Plateau and is the focus of at least three faiths Hinduism Buddhism and Bon. Pilgrims from all three faiths journey to Mt Kailash through one of the most inhospitable environments on the planet. That is no exaggeration. Before making circumnavigating Lake Kailash prostrate on their knees while praying and chanting.

Westerners have gone to Mt Kailash - but it is not a ‘trek’ of the likes marketed to westerners certainly not the route being proposed by Bill – this would be an expedition camping out at higher altitudes than any of the mountain ranges in Europe and being self sufficient in food water and medecine. It would involve crossing the Nepal Tibet Border where only last year the Chinese border guards shot dead a couple of Nuns and children refugees.

In truth despite the challenges of the Trek I completed last year, it was not extreme, the hardships I faced were in truth no great shakes in the greater scheme of things – I was sleeping in very basic ‘tea huts’ hygine was non existent the night temps were extreme but food and shelter mortal danger were not real issues.

They might be on this trip.

While my family, work colleagues and some friends think I’m as nutty as a bag of squirrels, I am no fool. I value life and limb and I don’t take unqualified risks. I want to know everything there is to know about the routes the risks the poitical situation the best escape routes ...the works !

An expedition of this sort raises some very serious questions !

1) Insurance . Can we get insurance for this sort of gig ?

2) Do we Yomp up to the Tibetan border via tea Houses or go Cross-country from day one?

3) Visa required to cross the Nepali/Tibetan Border Cost / how difficult to cross into China how long to wait /arrange visa?

4) Do we need Yaks ? if so How many ? and how do you book a yak ?

5) Can Nepali guides and Yak team cross into Tibet? Or do we need to arrange for another team to meet us at the border – what are the logistics ?

6) Do we need a Permit to visit Mt Kailash ?

7) Change from foot to Jeep to for leg from Mt Kailash to Lahasa? If so we can cut back on provisions

8) Food and Water. Do we need to carry all provisions or can we stock up en route ….given that we are in the middle of the Himalayas ….in winter….. (make provision for lack of Sainsbury’s)

We will need:
150-175 litres per person or 1400kgs for trek ( 1 ½ tons of water)
Rice/ potatoes/eggs/meet/butter dried fruit/chocolate/MREs sufficient for 8,000kcal per person per day.
Fuel (what?)
Stoves / Cooker ?

Extra Kit needed

4 season Mountaineering tent x 2 (need Gucci Kit)
New Boots 4 Season Mountaineering crampon compatible
Ice Crampons
Ice Axes
Ropes (Gucci kit) (Hire ?)
Mountaineering grade kip mat
Best fcuking maps on planet
GPS (need Gucci Kit + pleanty spare batteries)
Satellite Phone? (Hire)

Extra Medicine First Aid

Morphine Capulets
Splints Arm and Leg

These are just the very very basics – if this thing is going to happen in Feb March next year we have an awful lot to pull together !

…oh yeah…..and finally how much is this gig going to cost !?

I’m only a grunt !

List of things I must not do at work (updated/additional)

34. I must not remain motionless at my desk long enough for the office lights to switch off. Management are not convinced that it is productive.

35. When organising team photographs for publicity purposes I shall not attempt to reproduce famous ‘Queen’ LP covers using the team’s mugshots.

36. ‘Who ya Gonna Call? Bureaucracy Busters!’ does not quite convey the seriousness of the Prime Minister’s Reducing Bureaucracy Agenda.

37. The Department’s ‘Simplification Plan’ is not ‘a plan for really stupid people or people with special needs’.

38. ‘E’ Quality Street Chocolates do not contain ‘disabled’ chocolates.

39. I must not report ‘paper cuts’ through the Department’s Accident Reporting system.