On Saturday, 30 April, Nepal was celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first ascents of both Lhotse (4th highest) and Manaslu (8th highest), which was organised by the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA). Â My friendÂ Ted AtkinsÂ and I had the honour to be awarded aÂ â€ªletter of appreciationÂ for our achievements of having climbed Lhotse and Manaslu (for Ted Manaslu North).
The event took place in the legendary Yak & Yeti hotel and saw pretty high attendance numbers. The President of Nepal,Â Bidhya Devi Bhandari,Â handed out the certificates to several high profile climbers, including the legendary Pertemba Sherpa, who summited Everest from three different routes, andÂ Mr. Noboru Higeta, the last survivor of the Japanese expedition to first climb Manaslu on 11 May 1956.
I felt very honoured to have been chosen to join this amazing circle of climbers and receive the award,Â and it was nice to get some acknowledgement fromÂ the Nepal Mountaineering Association for my achievements. I guess a lot of people know that I chase mountaineers on my bicycle, however, many don’t know that I also climb. “I had no idea you were such an accomplished mountaineer,” said Ang Rita of the Himalayan Trust. “I thought you were just running around for Miss Hawley. Congratulations, Billi!”
Summits on Annapurna 1
Other than this event, it has been fairly quiet in Kathmandu with most teams acclimatising on their various mountains. I have just heard that someÂ people summited Annapurna 1 on the morning of 1 May. I have no other news and I am hoping that they are all safe and on their way down back to base camp now. I should be able to meet them in Kathmandu in about three to four days, which is perfect as I am leaving for China on Saturday, 7 May, to go biking in Yunnan Province. Yes, I am very excited about this trip as it will be very different from expedition life, where you spend most of theÂ time sitting around and seeing the same faces every single day. My friend David Walker of Painted Road Cycle Tours in AsiaÂ has asked me to join one of his trips as a journalist and then write something about it. I am very excited to be going as I have never been to China proper – only to Tibet.
I will be back in Kathmandu on 21 May and unless we have an early season, I should be just back in time to meet the expeditions coming back from Everest, Makalu and Cho Oyu, even though it will probably not be possible to catch up with everyone as they are too many. The quiet seasonÂ everyone had predicted is not that quiet, really. There are still around 300 non-Nepali climbers on the South side of Mount Everest and probably around 50 to 60 on the Tibet side of the mountain. Compared with just over 400 and around 90 in 2014 and 2015, it is not that quiet.
Those who are on Facebook will have seen that I am doing lots of running as I am training for a 100km run in my home town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It is the Zugspitz UltratrailÂ and it goes around the highest mountain of Germany, the Zugspitze, which is just on my mum’s house doorstep. I have no idea how I will do it, but one thing is certain: I won’t be fast and I am hoping that the 27 hours they allow for the race will be enough for me to stagger into the finishing line.
..and when I am not running, racing around to find mountaineers to do the interviews for the Himalayan Database, I use every minute of my day to translate Reinhold Messner’s latest book “Absturz des Himmels” into English. It is an interesting story about the first ascent of the Matterhorn and the rivalry between the Englishman Edward Whymper and the Italian Jean-Antoine CarrelÂ during their bid to be the first person to reach the summit of the Matterhorn.Â Finally I am learning something about Alpine history and in order to educate Miss Hawley on Alpine history too (she knows everything about the Himalaya but little about the Alps), I have asked her to be my proofreader, which she very much enjoys. “I can’t wait to get the next chapter,” she said after she had read the first chapter, which made me very happy.
I hope that European spring will soon kick in and whatever you do, I hope you are havingÂ fun :-).