Saturday, 29 May 2010

a big thank you

So, back home finally- to my mum, my dad, all my family and to my own bed!

England looks absolutely beautiful with fresh eyes- when i left it was still miserable winter and now: SUMMER!!

I am still missing Everest dearly. In Kathmandu i had my first meal alone for 6 weeks- eating soup at the yak and yeti buffet without the usual banter from the team was really depressing, i just wanted to be back with them in the mess tent, wearing my down jacket and munching on Bihm's fantastic fare.

Obviously, i have read all the comments on this blog and take them seriously- to those asking why i havent thanked my rescuers enough- i realise i didn't do them justice in my account of what happened- they saved my life without a doubt, and to have the courage to come out of your warm tent and go back into the freezing cold and dark to help someone is truly heroic. As i said in that blog- i owe kenton, the sherpas and the team that came up to help, my life.

Dr greg, who injected me with dexamethazone, covered me in silver blankets and gave me pain killers without a doubt deserves to be mentioned- his actions got me on my feet and walking back to camp 4.

Rick, my team mate, was with me from the beginning of the ordeal and helped me down from the south summit when i was in so much pain with my neck that i couldnt wear a back pack. And also Tom- who back at camp, boiled snow melt water to make me a tea and get everything ready for my arrival, got frost bite on his toe.

And of course- my sherpa Lakpa, who was by my side the entire time, who was out there on summit day for 28 hours with me.

Overall, i feel incredibly guilty that this ordeal happened. It just goes to show that one small mistake, one small slip, can have such huge concequences on a mountain like Everest. The ascent and beginning of the desent on summit day was absolutely text book- i was feeling strong, and throughout the expedition, had had no other problems and was a strong member on a strong team.

Would i have gotten down alive if i didnt have the team around me? Its very unlikely. I would have most likely suffered from exhaustion and the cold and died on the path, unable to move fast enough back to camp. it scares me to think that such a small injury rendered me so useless.

I am so lucky to have had not only support but GOOD support, from reading other accounts of people's summit days on Everest- their sherpas just didn't sound like the same calibre as ours. In my opinion we had the most professional sherpas on the mountain, they were fast and didn't mess around- they saw me taking a few steps foward and then falling over in the snow and so put me on my bum, tied my boots together and pulled me down as fast as they could. They were speaking to me the whole way down- they were true heroes.

Better mountaineers than me have died on big peaks like Everest, and i am sure that some of them need not of if they had had the support that i had that night. To have been on Kenton's expedition was even for those hours worth every penny. He doesn't wrap his members up in cottom wool, we all climbed at our own pace, carried the standard amount of kit and looked after ourselves at the camps. But when it mattered he was there and the logistical team behind him- Henry and Kami, they were all on the radios arranging the sherpas and acting as quickly as possible whilst also dealing with another life threatening situation at camp 2. Their cool under pressure is just incredible.

Because of the swift rescue, i was saved from severe frost bite and altitude sickness. A few hours rest and the next morning i walked down to camp 2 with everyone else. I remember Kenton's words 'not a single mistake, ok?'. I took his words on board- i stepped so carefully, concentrated so hard. Thankfully, the day after next we all arrived back at BC, i was in a huge amount of pain with my back, but we were safe and the ordeal was over- that was a huge relief.

So back home, on reflection of the entire expedition- whilst i can say it was the time of my life, and when i was asked yesterday in an interview if i preferred all the media pampering or being on everest- i replied dead pan: Everest. And i meant it- give me sunrise in the ice fall over a photo shoot any day. It is still marred by the fact that i caused such a dangerous situation for those sherpas and kenton's team that came up to help- from the bottom of my heart i have thanked them for helping me, but it will never be enough.

So again: Lakpa, Dorje, Kenton, Rick, Greg, Victor, Henry, Kami, Tom, Namgel and Lakpa. Thank you, thank you for saving me.



  1. Bonita, congratulations! Great to see you back in the UK safely.

  2. Congratulations Bonita! We met with your group at a tea house in Dengboche (near Tengboche) on your way up to Base Camp. We were the young Aussie group heading down, and chatted to Lynette and Tom. Didn't get a chance to chat to you, but congrats on your awesome achievement! Very inspiring and glad you are back safe and sound in the UK! :)

  3. Bonita, you emailed me about a year ago to say that you were trying to get some sponsorship to climb Everest...

    ...and the next time I hear your name it is in the newspapers saying that you've summited!

    A wonderful surprise. Congratulations.

    Tim Moss.