Archive for February, 2008

Pictures of our ice climbing trip

Monday, February 4th, 2008

We are back from China. We spent 4 fruitful days in Shuang-Qiao-Gou to ice climb. What made this trip more interesting was that there were other Singaporeans ice climbing with us. The SWET team was never lonely 🙂

the-ice-climbers.JPG The group making our way from the airport to Sim’s Cozy Garden Hostel.

We stayed one night in Chengdu, and the following morning, we headed direct to Shuang-Qiao-Gou (3400m a.s.l).

tibetan-homestay.JPG We stayed at the Tibetan homestay lodge.

Each day, we made day trips out to the nearby ice falls to ice climb, and return to the lodge for dinner. Shuang-Qiao-Gou offers interesting trails that lead to various ice falls. For one of the ice falls, we had to cross a “half-frozen” river …

river-crossing.JPG Kim Boon set up a line to make crossing easier. We crossed it the way Peh Gee did … but …

yihui-did-it-differently.JPG Yihui chose to do it differently :p

We took another 30mins to trek up the overgrown trails and the majestic ice falls appeared right before our eyes.

ice-slopes.JPG The icey slope – our play field!

We were geared with Marmot shell (top & bottom), Marmot beanie, Black Diamond helmet & ice axes, Smith sunshades & goggles, Buff neck warmers, and Polar AXN 300 watches which tells us the altitude we’re at …

the-ladies-with-axes.JPG All ready to hit the ice fall!

We started with ascending on fixed rope with an ice axe. For the first two days, we moved around the ice fall without carrying a pack.

yihui-on-fixed-rope-with-ice-axe.JPG Yihui making her way up a near vertical ice fall [Good front point technique is crutial].

joanne-abseil.JPG That’s me, abseiling off the ice fall.

peh-gee-lock-off-on-an-abseil.JPG Peh Gee lock-off on an abseil using a French-prussik.

karen-marzuki-went-up-the-ropes-too.JPG Karen and Marzuki went up the ice slope too.

The remaining two days, we trained with a 16-18kg load (we put rocks into our packs to make the weight). Kim Boon and his technical crew fixed up a 400m fixed rope circuit for us to practice. On an average, we took about 1hr 20mins to complete one circuit. The time taken is equivalent to a 12km road run. We managed 4 circuits, about 1.6km of fixed ropes at 3,600m a.s.l. The ice climbing trip was to prepare ourselves for a 1.3km fixed ropes at Lotse Face of Mount Everest at above 7,500m.

team-on-circuit-with-load.JPG Jane, leading the team on the fixed rope circuit.

peh-gee-on-fixed-rope-with-18kg-load.JPG Peh Gee ascending with a 18kg load.

esther-preparing-to-abseil.JPG Esther was preparing to abseil after a traverse.

with-ren-qing.JPG That’s me again, a photo with Ren-Qing (one of the 3 technical support crew) while waiting for Esther to clear the abseil line.

For lunch, we had tibetan bread, eggs, and PowerBar gels from Hivelocity!

esther-yihui.JPG Esther & Yihui with their hard-boiled eggs and getting comfortable with their Smith goggles.

lihui-eating-boiled-egg.JPG Lihui so engrossed with peeling the egg shell …

with-jane.JPG Jane & me, fighting to have the biggest bite on the tibetan bread.

team-trainers.JPG SWET with Kim Boon, and the three technical support crew from Chuan-Zang Gao-Shan Xie-Zuo Dui.

We returned to Chengdu on the 26th Jan. Back to the city, we unwind with a foot massage, and enjoyed the many good food in Chengdu.

team-unwind-at-shamrock.JPG The group unwind at Shamrock, an Iris pub in Chengdu.

at-shamrock.JPG Bacardi breezer, 25Rmb (=S$5) per bottle.

kb-at-shamrock.JPG Our most respectable Lin-Jiao-Lian. Mr Lim Kim Boon, the mountain man, he is the one who taught many Singaporeans how to ice climb! Kudos!

We have less than 50 days to departing for Nepal. It is now back to stairs climb, running and trail circuit. Way to go!

Ice Climbing

Monday, February 4th, 2008

It’s been a week since we got back from ice climbing. To say that we are not suffering withdrawal symptoms would be a lie.

Just today at Bukit timah, Yihui thought Esther was front pointing at the steps. Going up and down the stairs felt like we were on the circuit on the ice falls.

Ice climbing was a good wake up call to how difficult Lotse Face is going to be. Already, we were panting up and down the ice falls in Xuang Qiao Valley. And that was only one quarter of the actual climb on Everest. And in Xuang Qiao Valley, the altitude was only 3000m, less than half of what we would be experiencing on everest.

But it was good to be back using our gear. Brand new black diamond helmets (thanks to Campers Corner), Smith Shades and goggles, Mountaineering boots, Crampons, Marmot jkts and pants…..It was good to use them all once again.

Basically, we set up a 400m long circuit (200m up, 200m down) and basically spent the 4 days cramponing up and down the icefalls while attached to the ropes. We deliberately played out the actual scenario on Everest where there will be pp ascending and descending on the same ropes, deliberately walked down the slopes instead of abseiling off each slope.

After that, we ended the trip with some gear shopping and a great night at Shamrock irish pub. Of course, there were numerous feasts since we were eating the same dishes at the lodge in the valley for breakfast lunch and dinner.

Oh and Sim’s cozy guesthouse has a new address. They now have two HUGE black pigs ready for new year and the new guesthouse is just as cozy and friendly as the old one. Rooms were bigger and just as homely. Truly felt like home……