Expedition dispatches

IMG_3867-Andrew-Lock-keynote-speaker-australia-mountaineer everest

Game Over

June 4, 2012

So what’s next? Well, I’d planned to stop climbing 8000ers after this expedition and I see no reason to revise that. As of now, I’m retired from the death zone.

 Read more


The attempt

June 3, 2012

Back in Kathmandu, enjoying the questionable delights of civilisation; horns, pollution, crowds, heat and flies. Thankfully, no giant bats.

 Read more


Word at last!

June 1, 2012

First up, no. I turned around at 8500 metres, just a few hundred metres from the summit, due to some early but very strong signs of HACE (high altitude cerebral oedema). Symptoms – double vision, vomiting, micro sleeps (whilst climbing!), falling and hallucinations (giant bats).

 Read more


Game on

May 20, 2012

Looks like a good weather window opening on 25th, 26th and 27th. i’ve had a wash so there’s little more to do here in basecamp. heading up tomorrow. back in a week or so.

 Read more

Andrew lock Scouts Australia

Crowds and clouds

May 19, 2012

Back last night from yet another trip to the North col at 7000 metres. There wasn’t time to send a despatch before I went up (only because this *&^% internet hook-up is so unreliable). Funny how dependant you become on something you never had before…

 Read more

cheers , Comrade andrew lock everest keynote speaker australia

Waiting game

May 12, 2012

We’ve been hearing stories of expedition’s cancelling on the south (Nepal) side of the mountain due to rock fall; a result of the very dry season. On our side however, the mountain conditions are ok. Our biggest issue is the wind.

 Read more

Yak transport service everest


May 2, 2012

Back in basecamp day before yesterday but only now getting communications. Thanks to all who sent best wishes and apologies for not replying – email is almost impossible to operate this year.

 Read more

Everest from a distance in Tibet


April 21, 2012

I’ve travelled overland from Kathmandu across the border into Tibet via Xangmu and then spent a few days in Nyalam and Tingri, hill climbing, acclimatising and doing my utmost to avoid the local food. With limited success unfortunately, as there is little else.

 Read more


Once more unto the breach…

April 10, 2012

Kathmandu Yes, its back to Everest time. Talk about deja vu. Same city, same hotel, same mountain, same objective. I’d better finish it this time or I’ll run out of things to say. For the uninitiated, the plan is Everest via the north ridge (Tibet side), solo without oxygen, I had a go at this […]

 Read more


All over

June 5, 2011

Back in Kathmandu and taking advantage of refrigerators, and restaurants that don’t sell dal bhat!! Had to put the idea of another summit attempt on ice too, as the winds didn’t abate sufficiently for my liking. That’s ok; at this stage of my climbing career I’m not about to be struck down by summit fever. […]

 Read more


Not this time

May 29, 2011

Basecamp Back in basecamp and have to report that I was unsuccessful. What started out as a good day turned into one of the strongest wind storms I’ve experienced and ended the attempt within a few hours of starting. After walking back up to abc again and spending 2 nights there, I climbed to the […]

 Read more


Summit attempt

May 20, 2011

Basecamp And so its time. Sitting alone in my basecamp, I think I may be the only climber still at the base of the north side of the mountain. The first summits from this side were achieved this morning as well as a number more from the south side. Most north side teams are now […]

 Read more

Giant Yak

And then…

May 18, 2011

Basecamp again Just back to basecamp again after another quick run up to abc for two nights, as i was feeling fat and lazy loafing around bc for too long. High winds have kept all north side expeditions restricted to the base of the mountain but there now appears to be some light on the […]

 Read more

looking up from north col of everest

Basecamp again

May 12, 2011

everest basecamp north side Back in basecamp again after poor weather prevented me from reaching camp 2 at 7600 metres. After walking back up the glacier to abc, I took a planned rest day but then took another as high wind (on the mountain!) kept me tent bound. then carried a final load of fuel, […]

 Read more

climbing to North Col

in basecamp, leaving basecamp

May 4, 2011

basecamp Everest north side Have been in basecamp for a few days but unable to get onto the net, as bad weather has kept the power Gods hidden until now. Had a good acclimatisation trip to the lower slopes of the hill as proposed in the last despatch. Followed the general yak route to advanced […]

 Read more


Happy Easter all

April 24, 2011

The last few days have been spent sorting equipment and preparing loads for the yaks to take to advance basecamp (abc). Some yaks moved up yesterday and some more will go tomorrow. In my spare time I’ve been climbing a nearby hill up to 5650 metres each day for acclimatisation and to keep the blood […]

 Read more

everest north side

In basecamp

April 20, 2011

Arrived in Everest basecamp two days ago and have been setting up camp and getting into expedition mode since then. The drive from Kathmandu was uneventful and it was a pleasant surprise to find that the Chinese Tibet Mountaineering Association (CTMA) have built new hotels in Nyalam and Tingri. Comfy beds, clean rooms and running […]

 Read more


2011 – let the games begin

April 12, 2011

Greetings, this is the first despatch from my 2011 expedition(s). Sitting in my hotel in Kathmandu before heading into Tibet later today or first thing tomorrow. Big plans for this season; firstly a solo, oxygenless climb on the north side of Everest, then to Pakistan for a climb on Nanga Parbat. But I’ll worry about […]

 Read more


Expedition complete.

October 11, 2009

Now in Kathmandu sorting, cleaning and repairing equipment before finding a flight back to Australia and the ‘real world’ (?). Neil and I are still pretty tired and the stairs at the hotel are a challenge in themselves but its good to be eating real food and getting the odd hot shower. Thankyou to all […]

 Read more


The details.

October 8, 2009

Sorry for being out of contact. Since our summit day the weather has been appalling with consequent lack of solar power. Based on the forecast and our reading of conditions, Neil and I decided to try for a summit on 2 October. We set off on 29 September for Camp 1 and up to C3 […]

 Read more


Did it.

October 4, 2009

Summitted the true summit of Shishapangma at 5.05pm, 2nd October, with Neil Ward. Very tough climb via a variation of the Inaki route on the north face, caught in a storm on descent with an open bivouac at 7600 metres without equipment thrown in for good measure. Just into basecamp now, bit tired, more later.

 Read more


Going for it.

September 28, 2009

Back into ABC on Friday afternoon after a worthwhile acclimatisation climb to camp 2, where we slept for the night at 6750 metres. We deposited a tent, food, stoves, gas, rope and other climbing gear in readiness for our return. With camp 1 and camp 2 both now stocked, our next push will be for […]

 Read more

route finding in the pinnacles

Next stage

September 22, 2009

The weather continues to hold at Shisha and our fingers remain crossed for more of the same. On the 20th, Kinga and I climbed to camp 1 at 6250 metres. It was a blisteringly hot day and the hundreds of jagged ice pinnacles at the start of the climb added to the challenge as we […]

 Read more


Heading up

September 19, 2009

After a great puja ceremony yesterday we are itching to get onto the mountain. All have coughs and colds but the weather is excellent and not to be wasted. Neil made an equipment carry to camp 1 today and will take a rest day tomorrow. Most likely Kinga and I will climb to camp 1 […]

 Read more



September 17, 2009

Apologies for no contact – technology issues. (Thought i’d escaped the office but alas…) Anyway, good news. The climbing permit was granted on time and we crossed the border into Tibet on 10 September. After a night at Xangmu we drove up the Friendship highway to Nyalam early on Friday morning to avoid the ongoing […]

 Read more


Once more to Shisha

September 7, 2009

Its that time again. Sitting in the Bangkok airport awaiting my connection to Kathmandu, I finally have time to write a quick despatch. Its the post monsoon season and I’m heading back to the hills. After putting off the expedition last season, I am now returning to the Himalaya to launch that attempt on Shishapangma. […]

 Read more


Expedition Cancelled

April 13, 2009

Well I’m sorry to say that I’ve had to cancel my Shishapangma expedition this season. To date we’ve been unable to secure a climbing permit and Hector and I decided that we just didn’t have enough time left to give that mountain a good attempt, let alone go to Everest afterwards. So we’re heading home […]

 Read more


Welcome to 2009

April 7, 2009

Sitting in a flash new coffee shop in Kathmandu checking my emails with free Wi-Fi internet. Boy has this place changed since my first visit in the ’80s!! For those who are new to my despatches, my hope for this season is to climb Mt Shishapangma in Tibet and thereby complete my project to summit […]

 Read more


Back to Civilisation

June 6, 2008

A final message from our Makalu expedition. After a few days waiting for our porters to trek up from the villages down valley, we were able to pack up our equipment and trek down into the forests of the Makalu region for several days. Our plan was to save time by flying by helicopter for […]

 Read more

the top


May 23, 2008

08, I stood on the summit of Mt Makalu, 8470 metres, world’s 5th highest mountain and the 13th summit in my quest to climb all 14 of the world’s ‘8000ers’. It was a beautiful summit on a beautiful day and a fantastic relief after all the obstacles we’d encountered during this expedition. Success did not […]

 Read more

Typing the latest despatch at basecamp

Wish us luck.

May 16, 2008

We’re going for it. All weather forecasts indicate our best chance is to stick to our plan of heading up tomorrow (saturday) to camp 2. We expect some snow showers on the way but Sunday should clear as we head up the steeper face to camp 3. Up to camp 4 at 7850 metres on […]

 Read more

in the tent at C3 makalu

Ready to go for it.

May 14, 2008

We are back in basecamp after climbing to 7400 metres to place our camp 3 on the Makalu La. Having climbed directly to camp 2, we spent the night there but Neil was unable to continue next morning as he woke with strong headaches and pressure behind his eyes. This indicated altitude related oedema and […]

 Read more

Walking beside the beautiful ice seracs

Camp 2 established.

May 8, 2008

Since the last despatch we’ve been busy and enjoying the mountain. The day after the Puja ceremony we made our first foray up the hill to camp 1. The route is very direct, climbing steeply up some lateral moraine beside a stunning frozen river of ice seracs before putting us at the foot of a […]

 Read more

makalu basecamp

First days on the hill.

April 30, 2008

We arrived in Makalu basecamp 2 days ago and were greeted with the sight of several other expeditions on the mountain. Some of these had changed their plans from climbing in Tibet, due to the border closure. Basecamp is located at 5650 metres immediately below a glacier and, being on the west side of the […]

 Read more


Makalu at last!

April 24, 2008

Finally our Russian built MI17 helicopter has delivered us to our mountain. Our scheduled flight for the 16th was delayed until the 19th for any number of dubious reasons but on that day another team was flown into basecamp ahead of us. Due to tricky flying conditions the heli would only take about 1000kg of […]

 Read more


Trouble in Tibet

March 19, 2008

Arrived in Kathmandu on Sunday and have prepared all my loads for the two expeditions – Makalu in Nepal and Shishapangma in Tibet. Unfortunately the civil unrest in Tibet has seen the border closed and may delay or even prevent my attempt on Shishapangma this season. I’m off trekking tomorrow for two weeks to acclimatise […]

 Read more


Welcome to 2008

February 27, 2008

Hello All, 2008 is upon us and the pre-monsoon climbing season approaches quickly. On 15 March I shall depart Australia for the Himalaya, with a plan to attempt the last two 8000ers on my list to achieve the summits of all fourteen. The two remaining peaks are Shishapangma in Tibet (main summit – I have […]

 Read more


Not this time.

October 6, 2007

Well I’m afraid there won’t be a summit for me this season. The hoped for weather window hasn’t arrived and the mountain remains shrouded in lenticular clouds, as strong winds blast over it and the temperature plummets ever lower. Our forecast indicates the same or worse for the next week, only to be followed by […]

 Read more

lenticular cloud shishapangma

Not looking promising.

October 4, 2007

After returning from a night at camp 1 the day before yesterday, the latest forecast offers little hope for a summit attempt. Originally it indicated a chance on the 6th October but it now predicts 30+ knots (around 60 kph) winds above 7000 metres for the next week and 35-45 knots on the summit. With […]

 Read more

Hard work in fresh snow

Heavy weather

September 30, 2007

Well we are having to work hard to make any progress on the mountain this season. Once again the weather has treated us harshly. On our intended trip to camp 1, heavy conditions obliged us to stop at depot camp en route but through the night, heavy snow and strong wind prevented any further ascent. […]

 Read more


Heading up

September 27, 2007

Finally the three days of continuous snowfall have eased and we can make a push up the hill. The southerly winds which brought the high humidity over the himalayan chain from the lingering monsoon in India, have now become more westerly, bringing colder but clearer weather. Tomorrow we’ll move to camp 1, although we expect […]

 Read more

food fresh from a barrel

Expedition blues.

September 22, 2007

Now in basecamp for almost a week but not much progress apart from a load carry to camp 1 and back on Friday. Julie is suffering from bad headaches, probably altitude related, and I have developed a nasty head cold keeping us both basecamp bound. The forecast is for 3 days of snow but if […]

 Read more

Shishapangma's north face

Basecamp at last

September 19, 2007

We arrived in ABC yesterday after a series of delays. The late monsoon ensured plenty of landslides and our route from Kathmandu into Tibet and on to Nyalam was blocked in several places obliging us to spend extra nights in somewhat grotty villages en route. Worse though, was the demise of a climber in our […]

 Read more


Kathmandu again

September 15, 2007

We’ve arrived in Kathmandu to find a late monsoon, sweltering temperatures and humidity like standing under a shower. Still, nothing a couple of dozen Everest beers won’t fix I’m sure. Off tomorrow for the drive to Kodari on the Nepal/Tibet border and with luck the following morning, straight up onto the Tibetan plateau to the […]

 Read more


Back to Shishapangma

August 23, 2007

Hi All a quick note to advise that I’m heading back to Shisha in the post monsoon this year to try and finish the climb to the true summit. I expect to be in Kathmandu on 8 September and then straight to Tibet. Stay tuned.

 Read more


Heading home.

May 28, 2007

Back to earth again, in both senses, as the adrenalin is starting to wear off and we can reflect on the climb. There is no doubt that this was the most dangerous 8000 metre peak I’ve climbed and the ascent was tough, as with so many of the big peaks. But we’d also like to […]

 Read more



May 26, 2007

We did it! We did it! We did it! We did it! We did it! We did it! We did it! We did it! We did it! We did it! We did it! AND WE SURVIVED ! Whew, back down from the top which we reached about 3.20pm on Thursday 24th, after an epic climb. […]

 Read more


Going for it.

May 19, 2007

Laptop broken, mp3 broken, down to my last book. Time to go up. And maybe now is the time. Our forecast reiterates improving weather this week and we actually had clear skies tonight, so fingers are crossed that this our chance. Serge and I shall join with the Spanish team tomorrow with a view to […]

 Read more


Ho hum.

May 18, 2007

Another day in basecamp waiting for an improvement in conditions. All night it rained here and most of today. Thankfully it didn’t drop much snow on the mountain overnight but the cloud seems higher now, so it may be loading our route. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to hear of multiple summits […]

 Read more


Biding our time.

May 15, 2007

Daily tasks occupy us in bc as people begin to accept the loss of friends on Dhaulagiri. In the meantime the waiting game continues. The weather at Annapurna continues to confound us, so we must be patient and await our opportunity to launch a summit bid in the right conditions. Overall, the weather patterns are […]

 Read more



May 14, 2007

We are all in a very melancholy state having learnt of the deaths of two friends on neighbouring Dhaulagiri yesterday in an avalanche. The Spanish team here is particularly upset having been good friends of the victims. The only positive news was that two climbers, one a good friend of mine, with whom I have […]

 Read more


Just another working week.

May 13, 2007

Back in basecamp again after a tough but reasonably successful week pushing the route out to camp 3. I climbed with the Spanish team direct to C2 on Monday but due to deep and dangerous snow conditions and further snowfall at C2, we were obliged to wait 2 days for conditions to improve. Two of […]

 Read more


1st attempt

May 6, 2007

After 3 days resting and recovering in bc, from the climb on Shishapangma and quick trip to Annapurna, the weather here seems to be stabilizing (heard that before) but the plan now is to head up tomorrow to try and open the route to camp 3 and up to camp 4, with, if things go […]

 Read more

luxury shaving kathmandu

A lesson in mania

May 5, 2007

This update comes after a crazy couple of days moving from Shishapangma to Annapurna bc. Following the descent to Shisha bc, I packed all my equipment for subsequent transport to Kathmandu, save for a few essentials needed for Annapurna,including high altitude boots, talisman Tigger and my last tube of vegemite. These I took on a […]

 Read more

c3 Shishapangma

No summit on Shisha

May 4, 2007

Greetings. The attempt on Shishapangma’s main summit did not go as planned. After climbing direct to camp 2 on the first day of the push, we continued up the mountain the following day but unfortunately my companions were too tired to climb to C3 at 7300 metres, so we were obliged to make a camp […]

 Read more

Shishapangma ABC

Shishapangma ABC

April 25, 2007

Hi again from Shishapangma ABC. Today is ANZAC day in Australia and New Zealand and my thoughts are with the commemorations taking place at home. As for our climb, we have spent 4 days in abc waiting for better weather. It has been a good opportunity to rest, read and eat! There are now some […]

 Read more


Shishapangma ABC

April 23, 2007

Hi from Shishapangma basecamp on a cold and snowy Monday morning. We returned to abc on Saturday after 3 days of hardwork and drama on the mountain. On the first day we climbed to camp 1 at 6450 metres, in deteriorating conditions, as the wind picked up to gale force. Following a sleepless night, the […]

 Read more


Arrival in abc

April 18, 2007

We arrived yesterday in advance basecamp after a slow trip from Kathmandu ino Tibet, whilst our basecamp staff acclimatised. A lack of yaks meant we could only bring half of our equipment from basecamp, with the rest due to arrive today or tomorrow. In the meantime we held our Puja ceremony this morning to ask […]

 Read more



April 14, 2007

It looks as though Shishapangma isn’t going to happen this season, or at least not in the next few weeks, as the border to Tibet remains closed and the proposed opening date of 1 May now seems unlikely. For the last 2 weeks of March, Julie and I trekked in the Khumbu region of Nepal, […]

 Read more

trekking in the Khumbu

Hi from Kathmandu

May 10, 2005

Greetings from Kathmandu. I’ve just returned from 3 weeks trekking and hill climbing in the Khumbu region of Nepal in preparation for the upcoming climbs on Shishapanma and Annapurna. I crossed a number of high passes including the Kongma La, the Cho La and the Renjo La, all over 5000 metres in altitude, and made […]

 Read more