Nearing the end of part one.

I put aside 4 weeks to train in the mountains prior to the ascent of Everest for some very simple reasons.

The team I will be working with on Everest are pretty fit guys so I first of all don’t want to let them down and also the work I put into the pre expedition can only benefit my performance later on.

However, heading above 6000 to 8000metres is a different world and you never know how your going to react up there. So like a lot of things I do in life I try and cover as much as possible in the preparation so if things are not quite going to plan then at least I can live with the knowledge that I covered all angles.

Those high altitude moments are still a good 3 to 4 weeks away but it’s been on my mind from the second I signed up. The moment will come quickly too as no matter how hard you think or prepare the clock still ticks!

I’m now back in Namche Bazaar- the tri market village at 3400m. A hub of activity that trekkers / climbers long to to be in after a few weeks in the mountains. Hot showers and good food – in short comfort. Which is ok if your heading home but if your back up on the mountain in a few days and into the cold then for me it feels like I am weakening- stepping out of the zone.

I said the above to somebody today and they said you’ve worked hard, reward yourself and rest your body. Good words – it’s difficult to manage that sometimes when you work alone.

I was going to go the whole hog and get a massage but when I was in my first hot shower for 3 weeks last night I stretch my body and heard my spine “click click click” into place. That saved me a bit of money.

Health wise I feel great – super great. I know I need another 2 weeks of up and down mountains to be completely satisfied and I am also aware that once I start to work with the ascent team my fitness should increase more.

Remain a contender and never a champion is something I stick by as this keeps you hungry and focused. I have so much respect for the team I’ll be climbing with and the company ; Himalayan Ski Trek – complete professional.

So what am I doing now – this moment? Relaxing with a cappuccino listening to elevator music in a cafe over looking the snowy mountains as the sun beats down. In a few short days I will be up and down a few more mountains before meeting the education team who will be out on the 5 April. I’m really looking forward to seeing them which will turn my trip from solo to 8 people – with a fantastic diverse global education program that covers many more aspects than just our ascent – including a Space Program of all things. But more on that later.

Hello to my friends at the Monday Club in Coventry – partially sighted and blind friends from the local community- this blog will be turned into a Podcast for you and for other folk who share the same situation around the country – so you can walk shoulder to shoulder with me to Everest.

Also a big hello to Paul – Lisa Baker and George (FF) – the Drayson Foundation and Jon from the greatest rugby club in the UK along with the team at ELF – you guys put me here. I raise my cup of cappuccino to you all.

http://www.markwoodexplorer.com

Ten days so far…

Over the past 10 days I have trekked from below 2000m in the lower valleys to my position now of 4380m. I have another3 weeks heading across passes – climbing up to 5300m and covering different terrains from snow to rock to ice.

At the moment I’m on my second rest day which allows my body and mind to acclimatise before a distinct increase in height. This is generally 3,500 / 4,500 and so on in metres. My first rest day was in Namche Bazaar- a busy market town which is a tri junction for locals to come and stock up on their own household goods but it’s also a home from home for trekkers. If I mention burgers – beers – hot showers and music then it might sound a bit of a nightmare if your looking for the peace of the Himalayas but if your out for 3 to 4 weeks it acts as a treat for your own endeavours.

Today’s rest day however is a complete contrast. I am sat out side the only open lodge in the sunshine surrounded by white mountains- ground snow and a real sense of detachment from the human race. There are no other trekkers here so I’ve gotten lucky for this short period of time.

It’s a pleasure to sit in the sunshine with the perfect view and relax. I have tough days ahead of me not only in my training period of preparation but also for the Everest ascent itself – I also have another 2 and a half months in the mountains so when days like today happen you need to embrace it.

My purpose for being out here is of course to try and reach the summit of Everest but we also have over a million students and scouts following the journey- so I want to demonstrate how you prepare physically and mentally for a challenge like this – what is the reason? What are our ethics ?

I keep everything simple on and off expedition to try and make our objectives affective. The students involved are from all over the world – ranging from Kenya to snowy Alaska – from inner City schools and Scout groups to home schooling in remote areas. So our teachings as Explorers need to be honest simple and as mentioned above, affective. Are messages are;

RESPECT yourself – each student is unique and awesome.

RESPECT the environment- look at how your own family – community values the environment. Your actions will have a knock on affect to a wider community.

THINK DIFFERENTLY- be creative in your own goals – walk away from the crowd and find something passionate in life.

HAVE FUN – if not what is the point.

As I sit alone with the sun on my face and the mountains sitting quietly around me I completely understand the journey I have in front of me over the next few months – I’m excited and scared at the same time. When I was a child I escaped my house and at the age of 6 walked alone through fields and woods to the local shop. I bought some sweets and made it home safely – this was my first solo supported expedition. The feelings I had that day as a child of butterflies in my stomach – the feeling of excitement and fear is the same feeling I have now – it’s a feeling of change – the child like instinct of what’s around the next corner.

Over the next 4 days I will reach 5350 m and each step will be a step towards the summit in a few months time.

This Blog is written for any body who finds the time to read it of course but I am also going to read a more descriptive version as a Podcast for the blind societies so they can follow my journey too.

Mark Wood – 4380 metres Lungdhen – Nepal

Kathmandu

Every journey begins with a single step – along with last minute shopping and a team meal…

Finally I left England on a venture that has taken over 2 years to put together. When I arrived back from the North Geographic Pole in 2016 I had a good outreach of students world wide – it would be a shame to just cut connections with these guys. So a new and bigger project was needed.

Yesterday I counted the amount of organisations and educational areas who are now apart of Expedition 8848 – it’s truly grown since the idea popped into my head.

It’s been 2 years of highs and lows to point that sometimes I questioned whether it’s actually worth it! Why don’t I just climb Everest instead of creating a global education programme! Well I need a reason to climb and 1.6 million students / scouts is not a bad one.

I said goodbye to my dogs which was tough and jumped on a plane which luckily ended up in Kathmandu. The reality kicked in today when I met some of the ascent team and packed my gear.

For the next 4 weeks I am trekking / training with my friend Mauli who I’ve known for 12 years as a guide who works for my trekking company. On the 4 April I meet the education team along with my climbing partner and documentary film maker Tom. This is when the educational programme begins…

For now I am sat outside a cafe in the busy tourist section of Kathmandu watching the speed of life pass in front of me – soon I will be in the cool of the mountains.

At the back of my mind is something that has been there since the seed of the idea was born 2 years ago and will be there through my next 2 months preparation- this is the thought of the final ascent day. All this preparation and hard work to focus on a few hours ascent to the summit – the day when everything comes together.