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Yaks are back, Yetis still up on the hill

Two mountaineers navigating a glacier on a Gasherbrum II Expedition
Mark Slatter.jpg

The following blog is courtesy of Billi Bierling, Himalayan Experience:

Life has come back to Everest Base Camp with the Yaks having finished their acclimatisation rotation on Lobuje East. They returned to Base Camp on Friday and according to our guide, Adrian, everyone performed really well on the mountain. “It was good to see that most people were moving fast and confidently,” he said. He and our Russian member Sergej even got to ski down from the summit. “The skiing conditions were mainly crap but it was fun to ski down Lobuje East. I dont think it has been done very often before,” Sergej commented looking very pleased with his achievement.

While the group was gone, our camp had some interesting visitors, including Swiss mountaineer Ueli Steck and Italian climber and pilot, Simone Moro. “Even though base camp gets very full and crowded, it’s just great to see old friends again,” Ueli said while being led on a tour through our little village.

In the meantime, most of our Sherpas had been up to Camp 2 (6,400m/21.120ft) a couple of times carrying oxygen bottles, food, sleeping bags and tents up to our camp site there. They made the round trip in an amazing six hours. “Each Sherpa carried a load of about 15kg, which is the equivalent of three oxygen bottles and one sleeping bag each. Getting through the icefall is really quick this year,” said Lhakpa Nuru, one of our Sherpas.

On Sunday, the Yetis will be back here and on Monday, the Lhotse and Nuptse climbers will arrive in our camp, which means the group will be complete. “It will be very busy and the kitchen staff and I will have to work very hard but I prefer it to the quiet times. At least we won’t get bored,” our head chef Tashi smiled while preparing one of his amazing puddings. 

While the group will spend a few rest days here at camp, I have two more members to introduce to you:

Pierre Godof

Pierre Godof could almost be described as an ‘old hand’ with Himalayan Experience. Last autumn, the 39-year-old reached the top of Manaslu, the eighth highest peak in the world, without the use of supplementary oxygen. The Frenchman works as a design engineer in the United Kingdom and has also got Kilimanjaro, Mont Blanc and Aconcagua under his climbing belt. 

How did you first come across Everest and who inspired you to climb it?
I have always regarded Everest as a fantastic challenge but never really thought that I could ever contemplate getting to the top. I realise that I am really privileged to have this opportunity in my life and also be part of Russell’s team, which should give me the best chance to have a safe trip. 

What has been your biggest achievement so far?
I enjoy pushing myself, and the feeling of discovering my new limits. I guess summiting Manaslu last year was right up there, even if I can’t quite remember summit day!! 

What is your biggest challenge on this Everest expedition?
I expect most days above Base Camp to be tough, and staying healthy throughout the trip will be very important

How do you think Everest will change your life?
I don’t really expect a big change in my life, just going to sleep at night with a smile on my face as I remember the view from the top 🙂

How mentally prepared are you for the possibility of not getting to the top?
After getting very close to having to turn around on Manaslu due to the weather, I am aware of the fact that the summit is not a done deal. However, I’m expecting the whole trip to provide me with great memories.

What will you carry to the summit?
I might bring some snow back down.

If you want to follow Pierre’s blog, go to

Mark Slatter

Mark, otherwise known as Slatts from the UK, literally started his climbing career in a pub where he agreed with a few friends to climb Kilimanjaro in 2005. This was the beginning of his path towards Everest – and he has nearly reached the end of this long road. The property developer lives in West Hoathly in West Sussex and has two children (Annabelle 13 and Alfie 6). 

How did you first come across Everest and who inspired you to climb it? 
In 2005, I climbed Kilimanjaro after a New Year’s Eve drunken ‘agreement’ with four friends, and I really enjoyed it. After that I read lots of mountaineering books, including those of the 1996 disaster on Everest and I started wondering what it might be like to be up near the summit. My mate Chris Dovell, who climbed Everest with Himalayan Experience in 2009, has inspired me to do it and given me the confidence to get my chequebook out.

What has been your biggest achievement so far? 
Almost conquering my fear of heights on the Cosmiques Arete in Chamonix a few years ago.

What is your biggest challenge on this Everest expedition? 
Not to miss my kids or my girlfriend too much; keeping all my fingers and toes and not drinking too much beer at Base Camp before the big days.

How do you think Everest will change your life? 
It certainly won’t change my life but it might give me one of my most rewarding experiences of this life to date. 

How mentally prepared are you for the possibility of not getting to the top? …. 
I don’t care if I get to the top, I just want to part of this expedition, enjoy every step of the way and witness the prospect of five very brave young men getting to the top and acting as an inspiration to all our injured service heroes.

What will you carry to the summit?  
I haven’t really given that a thought, but maybe the Havana Cigar my father (a rabid anti-smoker) gave me on my 50th birthday to smoke on the summit!!