The Turquoise Fellowship…

Dear Family and Friends,

All members and staff of ‘The 2011 Turquoise Fellowship’ have now arrived in Kathmandu. Sadly Colin is not here with us as he was forced to withdraw from the expedition 2 weeks ago. Fortunately we’re in possession of a cut out of Colin and this life size figure will be making regular guest appearances throughout the trip.

Colin – making a special guest appearance…
From top left – Annette, Graeme, Soren,  Tommo, Warren, Angel, Claudia, Lakpa S,  Louis, John, Lakpa T and Ang Kazi

We all gathered for a meal a local Korean restaurant last evening and this morning we left for Boudhanath and our first ‘Puja’.

All of our personal gear is now packed – and in addition we’ve already sent 2600kgs of group equipment and food ahead to the border….

Tomorrow morning, August 31st, we all jump on the bus and travel to the border with Tibet. Our first 2 nights will likely be in Nyalam, followed by 3 nights in Tingri and 3 nights at Chinese BC (the road head). We leave for Intermediate camp on September 8th and if all goes well we should arrive at Cho Oyu ABC @ 5700m on the 9th.





Dear Family & Friends,

The advance team made it back to Kathmandu yesterday, August 28th, after a successful trip to Langtang. As expected the weather was a mixed bag but we still got to experience some of the best Langtang has to offer and thoroughly enjoyed our trek. ‘Mother Nature’ put on quite a show on more than one occasion and especially the multitude of wild flowers was something to behold….




The day we departed Kathmandu for Syarbru Besi turned out to be quite the road trip and it took the combined efforts of a 3 1/2hr car trip, a 2 hour walk, a 30min bus ride and finally a 45min 4WD before we reached our destination….    A sign at one of the numerous landslide sites proclaimed “Man At Work – Drive Slowly” – we all agreed it was impossible to identify exactly which of the 7 guys hanging around was actually supposed to be doing any shovelling….

Our trek took us from Syarbru Besi to Lama Hotel, Langtang village and finally Kyanjin Gompa (the highest settlement in the valley) over 3 days. As part of our acclimatisation for Cho Oyu we had organised to camp for 2 nights on a nearby peak – Tsergo Ri @ 4983m. From there we had fantastic views of nearby Yala Peak, Naya Kanga, Langtang Lirung and the Ganja La pass.


Returning back down the valley we bumped in to our lodge owner from Langtang village. “I’m going to Kyanjin Gompa to get some butter…” he said – fair enough we thought as there’s a Yak cheese factory there and it wasn’t until the next morning while settling the bill with his wife down in Langtang we discovered that not only was he getting butter –  he was also catching up with his 2nd wife…! The men of Langtang – it turns out – are allowed up to 3 wifes.

Back in Kathmandu we’ve been busy doing our laundry and packing for Cho Oyu. All the team members have arrived and we’re heading out for our first meal together this evening.

All is well and everyone’s looking forward to the main event!


The advance team

Dear Family & Friends,

Namaste from Kathmandu!

The advance team of Warren, Neddy, Tommo and myself arrived in Nepal yesterday and spent the remainder of the afternoon packing personal equipment and high altitude food into various drums and kitbags, before hurrying upstairs to the Splash Bar for some chilli momos and a couple of well earned beers.   Wednesday has been equally busy with more shopping and packing of supplies for Cho Oyu as well as meetings with our local operator. There is – however – light at the end of the tunnel and our planned afternoon briefing at the Splash Bar is nearing…

Tomorrow morning we will experience our first alpine start as we board a (reasonably new) 4WD and journey several hours to the picturesque Langtang valley north of Kathmandu for a leisurely 10-day acclimatisation trek. The main settlement in Langtang is called Kyanjin Gompa and our aim is to reach a 5500m point behind the village – approximately the same altitude as Cho Oyu Advanced Base Camp.

The monsoon is still in full swing and it is pretty hot and humid here in Kathmandu. We’re expecting damp conditions on our trek – lots of rain, mud and more than a few leeches….


PS – there will be no updates to the blog while we’re trekking so don’t expect to hear from us until we return to Kathmandu on August 29th.

The Cho Oyu Team

Dear Family & Friends,

We’ve had a late addition to our expedition and the 8 team members are as follows;

John Currie, Colin Barton, Annette Skirka, Neil Thomas, Claudia Lopez, Louis Kosztelny, Warren Townsden & Graeme Smith.

Our 4 Sherpas for Cho Oyu are - Ang Kazi Sherpa, Lakpa Nuru Sherpa, Bishnu Gurung & Lakpa Tamang and guide is  Angel Ezequiel Armesto.

The official name for our expedition is  ”The 2011 Turquoise Fellowship