Paul’s Blog – Posted 05/07/17

My hectic June has now come & gone, I have survived it in one piece feeling physically pretty good & mentally very pleased with how it went. July started with one more obstacle to overcome, the Moel Siabod Fell Race, before I could finally focus my mind on probably my toughest challenge for the year. I won’t go into the Siabod Race as you should soon be able to see both the results & race report on the WFRA web-site, for those who cannot wait any longer for the results feel free to e-mail me at & I will send you a copy.

Now to that challenge, PIK Lenin in Kyrgystan, can it really be less than two weeks away having seemingly only recently been accepted as an Expedition team member back in late January, where have the weeks & months gone?

PIK Lenin stands on the border with Kyrgystan & Tajikistan in the Trans Alai Mountain Range, it is a hulk of a mountain topping out at 7,134 metres, not a particularly technical climb by high mountain standards but still 2,000′ higher than I’ve been before. Add to that the fact that this is not an organised trek but a self-organised expedition containing 12 members who mostly didn’t know each other a few months ago & the fact that I’ll need to carry my own supplies from Advance Base Camp onwards it is clearly a climb which introduces several new challenges to me.

Lasting 27 days we hope to be making our summit bid (weather & other factors permitting) after some 20 days of acclimatisation on 4th August. The acclimatisation includes 3 peaks the highest of which is only 12 metres lower than Island Peak, indeed our Camp 4 will be at circa 6,400 metres close to the height of Mera Peak the highest I’ve been thus far. To sleep at this height could be very difficult & that is before you factor in the nervous energy that will be pulsing through my veins.

Of course nothing can be taken for granted, will we find the journey to the mountain to be safe or is it bandit country, will I acclimatise, will we avoid avalanche & crevasse risks, will the weather play ball & will I be up to the task physically & mentally if these other hazards do not step in my way? Questions that can only be answered once I am out there, as they say only time can tell.

I have at least paid quite a lot of detail to my preparation despite other events seemingly getting in my way. I have taken time to meet up & practice with some of the other Expedition members. I have been practising Crevasse rescue techniques with & thanks to Tim Harrop. I have been gradually sourcing the extra kit I need, much more than my initial first thoughts. I have maintained & arguably improved fitness despite a seemingly mad schedule in June & have been adding to my aerobic fitness by continuing a regime of core exercises.

There is still a lot to do, test stove, test high calorie expedition food, pack, re-pack & pack again until the kit fits into the Camp criteria’s but whereas on Sunday I was tense (partly caused by the realisation that my flights were 3 days earlier than I thought, me and Airports…..) I am now feeling focused & more in control of the final lead-in. This state will no doubt fluctuate in the coming days but what an adventure lies ahead.

As ever the support of Dorina in particular allows me to follow my dreams & dessert a busy cafe, if you have to wait for your food during our busy summer periods be as patient as she is with me, it’s only a wait whilst you plan or reflect upon your enjoyment of Snowdonia, not that bad all in all is it.

Have a great summer whatever you’ve got planned.

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