Late last year I finally decided to climb Mt Everest, 8850m, in May 2012. The expedition is 2 months long, starting in Kathmandu, Nepal, on 22nd March and finishing at the end of May.
I've only been climbing high altitude mountains in the last year and half, but I've spent a lot of time gaining experience as much as possible, from Island Peak in Nepal, Mt Blanc and the Matterhorn, McKinley in Alaska and Aconcagua in Argentina, plus a whole lot of peaks in between throughout north, central and south America.
Right now I'm in Chamonix until 22nd March to train for Everest. Chamonix is the perfect place to train and pre-acclimatise for an expedition to summit a Himalayan peak. Every kind of mountain sport imaginable is possible here and I plan to do as much as I can in the 3 months I've given myself to train for Everest. The mountains here reach to the top of Mt Blanc at 4810m and cable cars help take you up to higher altitudes quickly to maximise training times and aid acclimatisation.
My first day in Chamonix was a blue sky perfect December day. Without accommodation for my first few days in Chamonix I went to Plan Aiguille, 2300m, to test my Rab expedition tent. I didn't think it would be put to the test quite as much as would turn out. Within 24hrs a whole meter of snow fell leaving me stranded for two days with nothing but my Rab gear and Clif sponsored energy bars![gallery link="file"]
The expedition tent is fantastic in heavy snow. Even when totally covered it stood up to the wind and weight of snow on top of it. It's also made of eVent fabric which breathes and even when the venting holes are covered with snow it will still let air in. I was later to discover two Russian climbers camping at the same time and altitude on a different part of Mt Blanc had died in their tents, either from hypothermia or hypoxia, their tent collapsed under the weight of the record snow falls all over the Alps. You should always regularly remove snow from building up around a tent, but the Rab expedition tent certainly lets you sleep easily even when the snow is falling.
Getting back to Chamonix was quite an adventure too. Wading through the deep powder was a good work out for the start of my Everest training!