Finally, my mind has arrived where my body has been for the past five days – in the heat and dust of Kathmandu, where roadworks are still ongoing and even getting on a bike through the traffic has become almost impossible. However, it has been great to be back here for longer than one day before I head off again to a new life and a new mission in Pakistan – this time for the Swiss Development Agency.
These last five days at an altitude lower than 5,700m have given me time to reflect and think about my recent trip to Makalu and I have come to the conclusion that, like with every expedition, I have learnt and gained (apart from weight) a lot.
Despite the fact that not everything went to plan and some mistakes were made on the hill, I don’t have the feeling that my expedition to the fifth highest mountain in the world was a waste of time.
Many people have approached me and expressed their commiserations for not having topped out, however, I think that having reached and slept at almost 8,000m without any problems (and that counts for all six of us, who were up there) is a pretty good effort. I had also been very worried about my toes after having suffered some frostbite on Manaslu last year, so I am more than happy that I have returned with all my fingers and toes.
Of course, there is some regret that we did not get the chance to try for the summit, which would have been amazing during our first summit attempt on 28th or 29th September as the weather had been perfect then without a breath of wind in the air. However, the fact that we were at the wrong place at the right time may not necessarily mean that I would have summited the following day, had we been at the right place at the right time.
I remember being very tired coming down from the hill after having spent two nights at 7,400m and one night at 7,900m and I am not sure whether I would have been strong enough to climb all the way to the top the following day – but I guess I will not find out until I go back there, which I will certainly do.
For the time being, I would like to thank all of you for your support and your lovely and encouraging messages, which were sent either to my website or to my Thuraya phone , however, I received a few messages who I was not sure who they were from (Matthias from the Munich beer fest???).
I will be in touch again from Islamabad, where I will be facing a very different lifestyle for the next three months!