Team Everest Base Camp en route from Dublin airport. Everyone is excited. The journey to Nepal has begun. Follow the team below as we send updates on Facebook and web site www.patfalvey.com as we hear from the team below. Enjoy the beauty, the culture, the colour, the landscape and how the team feel as they trek through the Himalayas. Share their journey with your friends.
If you are interested in trekking, full details here,trek to Everest Base Camp please see our itinerary and options.
October 2012 Group as follows:
Joe and Concepta Lillis; from Quilty. Mick Howe, Milltown Malbay. Mike Corry and Davy Fitz, Six Mile Bridge. Locky o Loughlin and Darran Ward. Ennis. Emer McCarthy, Wicklow. Pat kelly; Doonbeg. Pat McGrath ; Quinn and Jeff McInerney ; Newmarket on Fergus. Caroline Langrell and Brian Kavanagh; Gorey. William Shortall; Cashel. Liz Ruth: Wexford. Helen O Donnell; Carrig On Suir. Helene Philion and Jean Maltais: Quebec, Canada.
Pat Falvey Group Leader Reports below
Success 100% to Everest Base Camp 2012
It was a great attempt by all the team. It was hard, lots of the team suffered but all persisted and achieved a dream of going to Everest, following in the footsteps of those early adventures in a landscape where the mountains reach to the sky in every direction you look. Where the sherpa culture is evident at every turn. We are now descending for celebrations and should be in Kathmandu on the 30th October the long walk out now begins. Well done to all the team. People not tagged on Facebook which also reached base camp. The Quebec connection, Jon Maltais, then from Clare, Davy Fitz who caught a sliotar hit by Cork's own Pat Falvey. Also from Clare Pat Kelly as well as Helen o Donnell from Tipperary. If you know other friends of theirs please share!
Sunday 21st October 2012
Picture: The Buddhist Monks at Tengboche Monastery are an intriguing spectacle as they go about their daily routines.
The trek to Base camp continues as we live amongst the Sherpa people and learn about their culture.
All of the team went to the monastery for afternoon prayers. For all including me it was a spiritual experience that moved all of us. The chanting, the drums and horns sent a vibration out throughout the valley. The team were very tired after a strenuous push from Namche Bazar as we weaved our way along the track to our new high point of 3860 meters as we walked along spectacular landscape where the mountains reached to the sky. Everest summit ahead and many more of the highest mountains in the world surrounding us. To the indigenous people who live beneath these it is obvious that the ground and the mountain we are traversing is the abode of their gods.
Some of the team are feeling the effects of the altitude but all are coping well and the experience is overwhelming all of the team as we follow in the footsteps of those early adventures.
Route Description: Easy trekking with a descent then rising through steep forested pathways to Tengboche. A short trek down to Deboche again in forested area.
Also on trek outside names below not on face book. Davy Fitz, Helen O Donnell, Pat Kelly, and Jean Maltais.
Saturday 20th October 2012
Days three and four - Namche Bazaar (3440m):
We are now three days in and we are having an acclimatization rest day in Namche. Yesterday was a hard push for the team and some were suffering from altitude related problems but the rest day has sorted all of that and all of the team are feeling great today. Tomorrow we move up to Tengboche and all the team can't wait to start moving again. Namche is no more than a village, this is Sherpa capital and trading post between Tibet and Nepal has two museums, several internet cafes, and two pizza houses and three cafes (locally known as bakeries), so there is much to keep us occupied during our stay here.
Report: Pat Falvey
Kathmandu to Lukla flight. Classified. Exciting. Wednesday 17th
We are now boarding one of the worlds most interesting and fearful flights. We will make our way through the foothills in a small 20 seater Donnier aircraft. at times you feel the wings are going to touch the mountains at either side, some of the passes are only hundreds of feet below you and the you make a fast turn to the right for Lukla to a runway that goes uphill. It is frightening but thrilling. We are now at the start of the trek. I have done this flight about 40 times and like all of the team I have always been fearful. But the journey is worth doing.
All of the team safely landed in Lukla. From there they will trek to Phakding - then Namche Bazaar (3500m) Thursday.
Article taken from 'CORKABOUT' Website posted by Billy Lyons
Born Free, the new exhibition by Cork born artist Philip Gray, was opened by adventurer Pat Falvey in a packed Cork Vision Centre yesterday evening.
Falvey’s speech, with a Follow Your Dream theme, was gripping. And Gray himself, who has followed dreams, was on something of a mission as he urged local people to pull together.
|Philip Gray, and Pat Falvey (right)|
And his theme was neatly (wrong word, I suppose!) illustrated by one of the highlights of the interactive evening. Attendees (in their hundreds) were invited to paint a random mark onto a large blank 5’ x 4' canvas. Philip then transformed this canvas in a live painting demonstration into a unique finished piece on the night.
Ken Buckley of Buckley Fine Art (who organised the show) told me the finished painting will be presented to the City of Cork and will hang in Cork Airport with a plaque recording the names of all the amateur daubers. "Together we can make a difference" is the title of the work and every daub or doodle was followed by a donation to the Simon Community to add some real meat to the hopeful title.
Just goes to show there are many people out there in the city and county, at all levels, willing to get up and give something to get this area back on its feet. The more we pull together, the further we will go.
|Making a mark!|
Gray: “My extreme journeys into the unknown bring new challenges that push the boundaries of my mind, body and soul. These voyages of discovery, sometimes dangerous, are a stimulus to drive me forward creatively and explore new worlds of emotional expression. With these explorations of seldom travelled places, I have found a new source of energy that I attempt to translate into visual form. “
Gray is probably best known for his “extreme art” and you can find out more about him and his work (underwater, close up to volcanoes and on the highest mountain) here at http://www.philipgray.com
Much of the work at the current show, which runs until January 27th, is from his trip last year to Everest. The paintings are big, reflecting the subject but, almost always, there is a figure in the vast landscape. All of us are figures in our own landscapes. All born free. Only some follow the dream.
Everest Base Camp & Island Peak Success for The HOPE Team
Check out the reports from their successful ascent!
Day 18: Pat's quick Report Oct 18th - We are now in Lukla and missed our flight today due to bad weather, fingers crossed for tomorrow. We are all wrecked but that is sometimes the way it goes to achieve your goals. Thanks to everyone following back home, some rest and a nice big meal in Kathmandu tomorrow is worth waiting for..
Day 16 to 17 - The team are now on their decent passing through Namche then down the steep sided gorge of the mighty Dudh Kosi river toward Lukla where they overnight prior to an early morning return to Kathmandu. Confimed report due in soon.
Day 14 - Teena Gates' Island Peak Report Oct 14th - "I did it. Today I clawed and dragged my way to the Summit of Island Peak. A technical climb for a greenhorn who'd only been trekking for the past 6 months and who'd never before had a set of crampons on her feet. Team Hope spent 10.5 hours on the mountain and not all of us made it. But I did, and I can't believe my body allowed me to do that. Hours of walking up a bouldered ridge, hours more dragging our way across a glacier, then the agonising climb up a sheer head-wall of ice. 2/3rds of the way up, with my legs screaming, the harness cutting into my groin and my crampons refusing to get traction on the ice, I remember looking up to see how far I had to go. I knew at that moment with absolute certainty that I would get there, but with equal certainty I had no idea how! I remembered a comment from team leader Pat Falvey that getting to the top was '80% in the mind.' I dug in and lashed out with my ice-pick and dragged myself up with my arms, slowly, screamingly, growling at myself and going again until finally I reached the top. Scaling my way up the final ridge walk and abseiling three ropes down a mountain seemed incidental after that. I was snow blind (temporarily), the harness had cut my groin and my face was badly burned from the exposure and the sun at the height we'd reached. Sore, stunned and weary; but 'on top of the world'.... "
Day 14 - Pat's blog - Back at Island Peak Base Camp ''We are all back at Island Peak Base Camp! 7 of the Hope Team and 3 Sherpas summitted..we have just had dinner. Everyone's in good form and tommorrow, we commence our descend to Kathmandu.''
Day 13 - Teena's Blog - High Camp Island Peak I'm back. Today Team Hope practiced fixed rope technique at Island Peak Base Camp and then trekked up to High Camp; a tough 2.5 hr hike across steep and rough terrain. When we reached high camp, we broke for soup and then began an acclimatisation hike up towards the ridge that would begin the technical climb for Island Peak. An hour into the climb and about a third of the way up, the Team called halt and prepared to turn around and go back down to make camp for the night. Before we moved off, we had an impromptu briefing on the cliffside as expedition boss Pat Falvey asked us whether we were capable of making it to the top of the ridge tomorrow. He stressed that we'd need the strength to accomplish that and THEN climb a mountain, and pointed out that any late turn-arounds would rob the team of Sherpas and guides and add to the risk. From somewhere within I felt a quiet confidence descend and heard myself saying with certainty that I could do it. Folks, I'm back......
Day 13 - Pat's Blog - Island Peak High Camp Oct 13th (1400 irish time) "Weather is good and holding, first summit attempt by all Island Peak team members in 6 hrs approx., Everybody is a little tired but all looking forward to the climb."
Day 12 - Teena's Blog - Base Camp Island Peak - I'm out! Today we trekked our way to Base Camp Island Peak.....and I bailed. The hike was tough but I walked well into Base Camp, the tents were set, we drank soup in the mess and I was game for the challenge ahead. Shortly afterwards Team Hope headed for an acclimatisation walk to Island Peak High Camp. We walked along a gully and turned towards the mountain to begin to climb. I stared up at the dark, grainy boulders reaching into the sky, & strained my neck to search for the outline of the summit against the cold, blue, bright evening sky. Catching the eye of expedition leader Pat Falvey, I slowly drew my finger across my throat, turned on my heel and headed back down the mountain....alone.
Day 12 - Pat's Blog - Island Peak Base Camp Oct 12th ''Its Tues..it's after 7.30pm (14.52 Irish time).. We are all at Island Peak Base Camp moving to High Camp tommorrow...making attempt the following morning in the early hours. All the team are in good form''
Day 11 - Teena's Blog - Chekkung to Lobuche: We've made Everest Base Camp and climbed Kallapatah and now the final & biggest test is looming. Today I got my first real sight of Island Peak. Jesus! Realisation hit for the first time of what I'm crazy enough to be considering. Christ. It's a bloody mountain. I mean a craggy, icy, jagged, real life mountain, at 20,300 feet - higher than Everest Base Camp and a technical climb needing harness and crampons and ice-picks. What am I doing? Who am I kidding? I stared in disbelief at the summit and ridge off in the distance, as the team traversed the countryside between Chuckung and Laboshe. With the challenge to Island Peak looming, Team Hope gathered in the evening for a technical briefing from expedition leader Pat Falvey. Our challenge was now switching from trekking to technical. Looking around I could see for the first time that my fellow colleagues were also feeling doubtful and tired. We have reached two of our three key objectives and are now wondering about moving to the next level. A haunting, moving, soul-searching day...
Day 10 - Pat's Blog - Base Camp & Beyond - Pat rang to report the teams sucess in reaching Base Camp and climbing to summit of Kala Patthar (Meaning 'black rock' in Nepali, Kala Patthar appears as a big brown bump below the impressive south face of Pumori (7,161 m/23,494 ft). At the wind-swept summit ridge, after a five to ten minute scramble over boulders, the top is marked with prayer flags and the views from here of Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse are spectacular.)
With emotion in his voice, Pat spoke of the journey so far, the teams' determination and positive attitudes to challenges they have had to face. The weather has changed becoming overcast and Pat talks of the cold air surrounding him as he calls - standing outside the tea house, the teams' home for another night before they leave in the morning for Island Peak Base Camp. Pat has turned three of the team around today- a decision made in consultation with the team. While Vivian, David F & David W. now commence descent, their contribution to the team and their own personal successes is a credit to the three of them and the attributes they have given to the team will be carried forward in the team's attempt on Island Peak.
Day 10 - Teena's Blog - Kala Patthar - Today we climbed Kallapatah mountain at 5,550 metres, the same height as high base camp for Island Peak. The climb is part of our acclimatization, but it's also a challenge in it's own right. We left at 4.30am to catch the sunrise on the way up. It was bitterly cold and this was also something we needed to experience. Off we set across a sand flat, double-gloved, in thermals and balaclavas, & within minutes, my drinking water had frozen in it's insulated platypus or carry-pouch. The drag up was excruciating. I was overheating with exertion although my fingers were stinging with the cold, & altitude was robbing me of oxygen, making every breath a gasp for air. I kept moving onward and upwards, remembering the life-mantra I'd been preaching for the past 10 months of training 'one foot in front of the other'. Finally the sun burst over the surrounding snowy peaks and hit the team as it struggled upwards. Gloves and down jackets abandoned we made it to the top, after two & a half hours' of climbing. We exchanged greetings with several other climbers arriving from around the globe, took pictures and picnicked on Snickers! In the middle of the celebrations my eye took me further, to a stony spur jutting up from the summit. To my surprise I found myself edging up there, ignoring the plummeting drop on either side. Well, I'd come so far......it seemed a waste not to! Don't know what happened to my dread of heights, maybe it's the altitude. Happy in my world above the world, I noticed one of our Sherpas had spotted me and captured my moment on camera. I've got to get that snap.
Day 9 – Teena's blog - Base Camp Oct 9th, I’ve made it, I’ve done it. I’ve climbed to Everest Base Camp. A gruelling, emotional odyssey that has transported me from 23 stone to the ‘me’ of the moment that has achieved the impossible. Ten months ago I promised to do this, but I never really thought I could, although I never really admitted I couldn’t. I’ve lost 11 stone to get here and I’m 44 years of age. If I can do this, you can do anything. Today I commented to a colleague on reaching Base Camp that we had reached a platform of dreams. Dreams for those that climb higher than Everest, and dreams for those that go down to lives touched with the knowledge that the impossible is possible. My next challenge is Kala Patthar Mountain at 5am, in preparation for making the Summit of Island Peak. I’m not sure I can make it, but I’ll give it a go. Whatever the result tomorrow, I’m bringing my dreams home…
Listen to Teenas podcast in our Podcast Gallery here.
Day 8 – Teena's Blog - Lobuche - Our ‘rest day’ in Pheriche started with an acclimatising walk which took up five hours in the morning – followed by a couple of hours of fixed rope work in full gear, with ice-picks and crampons on the hills behind us, as night began to fall. Practicing the arrest techniques we’ll need to stop us falling at full speed off an ice wall, I smacked my face off a rock. My teeth are still intact, but packing at 6am to trek uphill to Labouche, I was happy to leave our ‘rest day’ behind! Lobuche brought its own surprises- no Internet, no phone signal and the now familiar stench from the ‘drop loos’ masked only by suffocating kerosene fumes that forced tears from our eyes. My ‘roomy’ Vic and I fell back on copious quantities of our one luxury, a tub of Chanel No. 5 bought in duty free on the way out.The combined essence was probably even more toxic, but we slept blissfully in denial, even if early morning brought puffy eyes and wheezing chests... Day 9 and Everest Base Camp beckons....
Listen to Teenas podcast in our Podcast Gallery here
Day 7 – Teena's Blog - Pheriche Oct 7th - I found the warrior within. Today was a day for acclimatising, pushing up to 16,000 feet behind Pherica for tea, before returning back to base for a 2nd night. I thought it would be easy, that this was a ‘rest’ day because we weren’t moving on to a new destination. Wrong! It was a brutal, long, hard haul. It should have taken two hours to get to the teahouse, but we made it in 3, which failed to impress our expedition leader, now sometimes affectionately known as ‘Grand Master Falve’.
The breakout for me was on the return; after falling behind, I suddenly kicked into another gear and ran 300 metres up two hills to catch up. It was pure fury that fired me up and it felt amazing to romp home. They have an expression here, a greeting that you make on the trek, Namaste – “I greet the God within”. I doubt if I host a God, but today I found my warrior…
Day 6 – Teena's Blog - Pheriche - Today I hit a wall…but I climbed over it… After yesterday’s adventures, I struggled to keep up with Team Hope, as I limped my way up a mountain. It was another tough ascent, raising up 1,500 feet for over 5 hours. The terrain was rough and each leap from boulder to boulder jarred my injured foot. There was no other option but to keep on walking and I gritted my teeth and got on with it. I admit I felt sorry for myself, I even felt a couple of tears well up at times. The team is fabulous though, with lots of hugs on tap, and the scenery helped to distract me. The turning point was when we all burst into song, winding our way through the mountains like the Von Trapps and bursting into giggles whenever we met groups of climbers on the way down.
Maybe it’s the altitude, but we’ve got to be the happiest group of trekkers out here and we’ve painted smiles on strangers’ faces from here to Shangrila… Team Hope’s Birthday boy David Walshe later commented that we’d sent smiles around the World. Celebrating Dave’s birthday with pizza later that night, at nearly 13,000 feet, life again felt good.
Day 6 - Pat's Blog - Pheriche All arrived well at Pheriche where the team will start to move above the flora and into tundra. More tomorrow.
Day 5 – Teena's Blog - Deboche - Today I kneeled in a cold temple for two hours and tried to meditate. It was a hard day’s climbing through hot sun, from Namche to Deboche. The whole team did well though, as we cranked up the acclimatization another notch. Under the shadow of Everest we passed through an ancient gateway to the town that hosts the local monastery. We spent several hours listening to the monks’ ceremonial chanting and were blessed for the journey ahead. Without exception, we all found it a moving experience. I jogged down the pathway afterwards feeling special… invincible. Then my foot slipped, and my ankle turned. It hurt – disaster! I hopped to a nearby mountain stream, kicked off my boot and plunged my foot in. It was dark, and the light from my head torch drew a circle around my foot and the icy river. As the rest of the group sought shelter in a nearby teahouse, the sound of silence descended. Within moments I was picking up new sounds, rustles and creaks in the darkness beyond. My memory turned to the joking jibes at dinner the night before about snakes and poison spiders. I stood the terrors and the cold for a few minutes more, before bolting for the teahouse with a tiger on my tail. Tomorrow’s walk is tough, but I’ll deal with that tomorrow. Tonight, I’m safe and warm and that will do for now.
Day 5 - Pat's Blog- Tengboche & Deboche - This morning we trekked with fantastic views towards our next stop Tengboche. We decended to the valley floor and rose through the forest to Tengboche and the well known Buddhist monastery there. Jenny has some issues with her knee but is moving along ok. We arrived at 3pm and received a special blessing (PUJA) from over 60 monks, emotional for all of the team. We decended later in darkness to arrive in Deboche at 6.30pm. A good aul sing along was had by the whole team. Along the way we had stunning view of the mighty Everest behind Lhotse-Nuptse wall. In Deboche start to circle under Ama Dablam as it towers over us. Tomorrow we start for Pheriche.
Day 4 - Teena's Blog - AMA Dablam - If you left Dublin today and flew in to join me, you would probably die. I'm at 12,000 feet & you can't breath here unless you've had a chance to acclimatize. Today is a rest day which means we only walked for a couple of hours and gained a thousand feet. After lunch, we turn around and head right back down to Namche. It's a chance for us to prepare our heart and lungs for the next push tomorrow, when we've got another tough day's climbing.
Today we had a special treat. At 12,000 feet we stopped for lunch at a Nepalese Hotel and Extreme Artist Philip Graye gave us an art lesson. We hope to paint at Base Camp and auction the canvases for the Hope Foundation. Today we each used pastels to create a picture of the beautiful iconic mountain, AMA Dablam. It marks the gateway to Everest; and yes, today we saw those snow capped peaks for the very first time....
Listen to Teena's podcast in our Podcast Gallery here
Day 3 - Teena's Blog - Namche Bazaar Today was tough. I climbed 3,000 feet and it hurt. But it was extraordinary and I loved it. We woke at 6am at Phakding and breakfasted on fried potatoes and eggs in the shadow of the mountain. A snow-capped peak burned pink and golden as the sun rose. It isn't Everest, we won't glimpse her until tomorrow, but it's stunning, and a reminder of the icy treks ahead. Here at 8,000 feet, it's hot and we're walking through lush green after the recent monsoons, though temperatures plunge as soon as the sun sets. Our trek today took us past beautiful rivers and waterfalls, with rainbows shimmering in the spray. We crossed narrow suspension bridges moving dramatically with the span and our 14 strong team trooping across. I found them scary and I met them far too frequently for comfort. It was a tough climb today, 8 hours and 3,000 feet. Altitude kicked in a little. I had a small nosebleed and felt lightheaded if I moved too fast; but getting a rhythm helped and walking into Namche Bazaar felt great, if somewhat tempered by the knowledge that we were staying in a tea lodge far beyond the town. Uphill of course!
Listen to Teenas podcast in our Podcast Gallery here
Day 2 - Teena's Blog - Lukla Today I flew into a mountain.. From Kathmandu, Pat hired a small twin engined propeller plane and flew into Lukla, a village hanging off a Nepalese mountain, and the next step on our journey to Mount Everest. The tiny runway is buried in the mountain and the arrival has to be the scariest air approach in the world. The plane's engines took an almost animal like pitch as she turned in towards the cliff, and after watching the pilot bless himself....so did I. Brakes and reverse thrusters kicked almost the moment the wheels touched down and within moments we were out and standing on a mountain. A quiet crowd of Lukla locals gathered around us, with hardly a murmer, their quiet presence a marked contrast from the wall of noise we'd met when getting off our international flight in Kathmandu the day before.
We walked to a nearby teahouse for lunch & already some of us were feeling the affects of the altitude. We had flown in at 9,000 ft, almost three times the height of Carrauntoohil, Ireland's highest mountain. Shortly afterwards, we put our day packs on our backs and started walking - downhill. Our destination is Phakding, a thousand feet below. The plan is to 'walk high and sleep low' to help adjust to altitude. It means walking to a certain height, then coming back down a little, before re-tracing our steps the next day. As the days of walking and climbing accumulate, I just know that's going to be annoying! Onwards and upwards....
Listen to Teenas podcast in our Podcast Gallery here
Day 1 - Pat's Blog - Kathmandu Start of the Expedition - 1st Oct 2010 - No matter how many times I go to Nepal, I get excited at the thought of returning to my spiritual home. A place that has changed my life, having gone there in 1991 on an expedition to climb a beautiful mountain known as AMA Dablam with a group of good friends. I went first, as the cliche goes, to 'find myself', only to lose myself and return to civilisation a new person.
A lifetime later, I have been here 25 times and I have never lost the joy of returning to this amazing country. It's sights, sounds, smells and the hustle and bustle of a vibrant community of people. To once again experience their culture as I lead a group of Irish adventurers on an exciting journey to explore what is for them, their Everest. For me another return to my most favourite place on planet earth.
Mixing adventure with a spiritual odyssey and to meet old friends that I have made over the years, with a group of enthusiastic volunteers who are helping to make life better for the street children of Calcutta by raising money to enhance their life through education.
Jenny Kavanagh: Actress From Ireland's leading soap tv series Fair City, Jenny has taken on the extra challenge of achieving her Everest after traveling to Calcutta to witness at first hand, the abuse and terrible conditions experienced by street children there. She has exchanged her high heel shoes, make up and long polished nails for climbing boots, sun block and getting her fingers dirty to take time out from her busy schedule to complete a challenge and raise money for the Hope Foundation.
Rob Ross: TV and Radio Presenter Rob has been presenting on the very popular RTE TV childrens' program 'Ice' for over six years. With his youthful looks, vibrant personality and abundance of energy, Rob's hunger for a new challenge has brought him to this point of climbing to base camp Everest and beyond to Island Peak, to help the children living in the slums of Calcutta. A native of Athlone, he's clocked up many miles travelling to the mountains of Kerry to train for this amazing challenge.
George McMahon: Actor Everybody's favourite as Mondo in Fair City, George has been passing on his gifts to a new generation of aspiring actors with his thriving stage school, whilst also in production for a cameo role in the new TV series, Camelot. George has strong family ties to Killarney and Carrauntoohil where he ended up training for the Everest challenge, but he had never stood foot on a mountain, until inspired to reach new heights after travelling to Calcutta, to visit the Hope Foundation projects earlier this year.
Teena Gates, Head of News 98FM 12 months ago she had her own Everest to climb when she weighed 23 stone. To achieve her goal of getting to Everest Base Camp and hopefully beyond, she has lost over 11 stone; having made amazing sacrifices to get a chance to achieve for her, another milestone in her life to walk in the footsteps of her heroes.
Philip Gray: Extreme Artist Incredibly talented extreme artist Philip Gray has been a tireless supporter of the Hope Foundation, attending its Dublin Ball this March, where he masterminded an interactive experience which fascinated guests who watched him create a work of art before their eyes which was later auctioned for the charity. Philip travels extensively to the worlds' most extreme environments to create the most dramatic paintings imaginable, which feature in more than a hundred top galleries across Europe. Having visited Everest before, he knew the challenge that lay ahead when he was asked to return and push beyond Base Camp to Island Peak. He had no hesitation in accepting the challenge and joining Team Hope.
Support Team: Rosaleen Thomas (Hope), Vivian Harrison (Hope), Edward O'Donnell, David Walshe, Hugh Chaloner, David Forrester.
My return to Kathmandu has already added to the unique gathering of memories of past adventures and explorations in this beautiful part of the world. I'm delighted to be back here with one of the best teams any group could wish for; while being reunited with some of my Sherpa team who I've been operating with over the past 25 years. Ang Rita, Sumba, Pemba, Niama, tsring and Kami all who will be helping and supporting the HOPE team. I'm also supported by some of my own team from home here in Kathmandu -Tony Nation and Mark Orr. Let the journey begin! In the morning one of the most interesting flights in the world as we leave Kathmandu to the beginning of our trek to Everest Base Camp and Island Peak.
Facts on Nepal
Population of Nepal 29 million
Population of Kathmandu 1 million
Mortality: when I went first it was 39 now has risen to 62
Pat Falvey, Adventurer
Interested in Trekking in Nepal? Maybe Africa? See our Worldwide Travel section for choices!
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Skills weekend for Island Peak at Pat Falvey's Mountain Lodge in Kerry.
This weekend has seen all of the Hope Foundation team do their final preparation for their Everest Challenge and their climb beyond base camp to the beautiful 20,000 foot peak of Island Peak right in the heart of the Himalaya.
The weekend presented them with the final skills training required for the glaciers, head wall and narrow ridges that they will have to negoatiate to reach their objective of summiting Island Peak.
They went through, gear, cramponing with 12 spikes attached to their boots, ice axe training, including the art of falling, ice axe arrest, fixed rope techniques for dummaring up a 600 foot head wall and crossing the mountains narrow ridge. They also learnt the skill of abseiling for descending the exposed head wall as they retreat to base camp.
Their course was carried out at Pat Falvey school of Mountaineering at The Mountain Lodge based in the foothills of Ireland's highest mountains in Kerry and practised their skills on the steep head walls of the Gap of Dunloe as well as climbing along the narrow ridges of Coimin Na Peiste Ridge, the Big Gun and Cruach Mhor in what was demanding weather conditions.
Their was also gear review and the importance of team work on challenging mountain.
This weekend was attended by. Teena Gates head of news 98fm : Jenni Kavanagh actress in Fair City, Rob Ross RTE presenter: George McMahon actor: Philip Grey extreme artist: Rosaleen Thomas hope foundation: Ed O Donnell support team: David Walsh Support team.
The weekend was facilitated by worlded renowned adventurer Pat Falvey with his technical guides Con Moriarty and trekking guide Tony Nation.
See courses training
Lots of new adventures are coming up in the next twelve months as we expand our programs throughout the world. Contact us today at www.patfalvey.com
“The Hope Counts Fashion Show takes place at the Crowne Plaza in Blanchardstown on September 23rd – featuring WeightWatchers Goal Members as models, in recognition of Teena Gate's 10-stone-weight loss during her preparations for the expedition to Everest later this month. Doors open at 7.00pm and the show starts at 7.30pm. Tickets are priced €15 & €30 for VIP passes! They’re available throught WeightWatchers in Dublin 15, and point of sale at Total Fitness Gym in Castleknock and BaseCamp adventure store in Middle Abbey Street, in Dublin city centre. The Hope Counts Fashion Show is part of the Hope Challenge to raise funds for a new girls’ school for street children in Calcutta.
We suport the Hope Foundation - www.patfalvey.com
From being on the point of suicide, Pat Falvey clawed his way back to achieve the kind of success many would envy. Now an adventurer, businessman and motivational speaker, he tells Ciara Dwyer of the thrills, satisfactions and costs of a life that has had ups and downs, but has always been lived to the full...
writes Ciara Dwyer for Sunday Independent Review 29th August 2010
WHEN Pat Falvey was 29, he tried to commit suicide. The Corkman could see no other way out of his money troubles. Having started as a brickie, he had worked his way up to becoming a developer and an auctioneer. Now he had hit rock bottom. He was broke. A millionaire no more, the bank trying to get his family home. He had a wife and two young sons and he knew that he had failed them. With a heavy heart, he drove in the direction of the River Lee and accelerated. Just when his car was dangling four inches over the edge of the pier in Cork city he thought of his mother and stopped.
As he sits opposite me in The Four Seasons Hotel; bursting with vitality and good humour, his voice quietens as he talks of his near suicide. It is clear that telling the tale still moves him. Now 53 and solvent with an outdoor adventure company and a new career as an expedition leader and motivational speaker, Falvey knows how close he was to ending it all. He is lucky that he came through.
"It was one of the most disappointing periods of my life. I went into a state of depression. I was very angry, blaming anyone and everyone. I was lashing out. It was the bank's fault, it was the economy's fault and it was the government's fault: Finally I realised that it was my own fault. I went broke because I was greedy. I lost my self-esteem and confidence because I no longer had money. I didn't have 20 pounds in my pocket to put petrol in the car. My mother gave me a poem called Don't Quit and the words of that poem came back to me, as I was trying to end it all:"
He pauses, then quotes from it a little:
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit, rest if-you must but don't you quit.
Success is failure turned inside out -
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you can never tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far.
So, stick to the fight when you're hardest hit -
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.
Reciting these lines, it's clear that they still give him solace. They saved his life.
"It's part of life to fail and part of life to make mistakes," he says. "My father gave me a Dale Carnegie book and it said that the first thing you have to do is accept where you are now. So I took up my trowel, the one that I had when I was 15 years of age and I went back to being a brickie. I ate humble pie."
This was not an easy thing for him to do. After all, this was the same man who had left school at 15 and announced to the world that he was going to become a millionaire. And that he did eventually. Although he had six siblings, Pat lived with his grandmother, who had been alone. She was a tough woman who taught him the art of sales and instilled in him his core values to this day - you have to work hard and keep coming up with ideas. She literally beat her philosophy into him - "If you think you can, you will and if you think you can't, you won't:" Under her tutelage he was selling second-hand clothes and later he branched out and bought a lawnmower with his savings. A self starter, Falvey had always worked hard and created his opportunities. He did everything in a hurry.
They used to call him "the galloping major' and "JR', such was his ruthless style. One year, he sacked 200 people in his company because he thought they were idling. Another time in the early days, when the bank manager refused to give him a loan for what seemed to be a good business deal, Pat called him a b*****ks and then stormed out. Nothing would get in the way of his success. He was hyperactive and hungry to achieve his goals: Along the way he married his childhood sweetheart Marie Horgan when he was 20. They had met in an athletics club when he was 14. "Your first love is an amazing thing," he says. Theirs was a happy life and very comfortable financially until Pat blew it and was on the brink of ending it all on the pier. That very same week, a guy called Val asked me to go hill-walking," he says.
Accepting that invitation changed Pat's life. Initially he had no interest in heading up the mountains, especially in his stressed state of mind. The only reason he relented was to get this man off his back. He had asked him several times. Walking in the mountains Pat forgot about his troubles. When he came back down, he was better able to cope with his disastrous situation.
"The hill-walking was therapeutic. Then all of a sudden I started to come up with new ideas:"
He figured out ways to fight back and finally he did. Sometimes these notions would sound harebrained but there is a genius in Falvey's madness. He tells me that Marie was a very patient woman but she often wondered what he would come out with next.'When I went broke, I said, `let's set up a bank with no money.' Marie asked me how I was going to do it. I told her that it didn't matter that I didn't have any money. In the end I set up a finance house and that's how I got back: Falvey cleared off all his debts and then he closed down his company. He tells me that if he was still in that business he would probably be in Nama now. But the business world no longer gave him the same thrill. He had other fish to fry. Since that first day hill-walking, he was hooked. After work he would climb Carrantuohill and then marvel at his energy afterwards and his fresh zeal for Iife. This was how he summoned the strength to get back on track. He went up the mountain a broken man and came down rejuvenated. The day he climbed Carrantuohill he swore that he was going to climb Everest.
These days, Falvey leads a thrilling life, living his dreams. The dynamic Cork man has climbed the Seven Summits, including Everest, twice, and been to the North Pole and South Pole. At the end of next month, he is bringing a bunch of celebrities, (including actor George McMahon and 98fm's Teena Gates who was 23 stone until she went into training last year) to Everest Base Camp. It will be part of an RTE programme and will raise funds for the Hope Foundation in the process. "The big thing is to show people that if they want to do something, they can do it. People need an objective:' He shows no signs of slowing down. When I ask him about his next trip, his blues eyes brighten with excitement. "It's going to be 10 times harder than climbing Everest," he says. And he should know. "I'm going to walk to the North Pole with Dr Clare O'Leary. It's the equivalent of 120 consecutive marathons. We could be skiing on four inches of ice with 10,000 feet of water under us:" Why? "Because I can and because I love it:" Falvey is a charismatic man and listening to his take on life is intoxicating. His optimism is relentless. He refuses to refer to our current economic climate as the recession - instead he talks of this as "a pre-boom era"; but he doesn't know how long it will last. He also thinks that people have stopped borrowing large sums of money and now they are all trying to have a reserve of cash. He believes that tightening our belts and not going on four holidays a year funded by a credit card is a good thing. It's about taking responsibility for our actions. When he gives his motivational talks, he often has a powerful influence on his listeners. One female executive told him that she was packing in her job. He had taught her that she only had one life and that she had better live it by being true to herself. One of his favourite lines is: "Life isn't a rehearsal, it's a performance." "I think motivation is common sense. What people need to hear is that you can succeed and to succeed you got to believe in yourself." Self-belief and determination got him through his many expeditions, which were in excrueiatingly difficult conditions. As part of his talks, he tells them his stories of these trips and how he kept going It's about survival. But it's not all hard graft. Falvey is all for fun too. He has set up a club for anyone aged between 50 and 90, called the Forever Young Club. The idea is that adults take their life savings out of the bank, put the cash in a rucksack and spend their children's troubles, just as he did when he inheritance having adventures around the world in a jeep.
For all his optimism, Falvey's life is not picture perfect and well he knows it. By the time he hit 40, he was spending almost six months of the year away, off on expeditions, sleeping in tents, studying different tribes. While he was fulfilling himself, his marriage was suffering. Thirteen years ago, he and Marie separated. Pat now lives in a mountain lodge in Kerry, where he runs his courses, and Marie has her life in Cork. "A lot of the time success has a cost. One of the greatest costs was my marriage. It hasn't been easy to be what I wanted to be. You wouldn't call me a perfect father by any stretch of the imagination, yet my kids love and respect me. And Marie said that I couldn't have done what I have done if we had stayed together. I have to have total and utter freedom. "My life is a very demanding life but you've got to get a balance. Maybe if I had got a balance in my earlier years,which I know now i could get, maybe things things would have been different. Successful people are very focused, a lot of the time at cost to others. But my life has changed from wanting to do things for myself to mentoring others." These days Falvey gets a great thrill from introducing people to the mountains and watching their joy as they achieve their goals. And he enjoys seeing people forget their trouble just as he did when he first went hill-walking. As he says, sometimes you have to stress a person so that they can destress.
"I've had an amazing life but I've f**ked up on an awful lot of things. People ask why I am successful. I tell them that it's these grey hairs. It's my age. I still make mistakes but I don't make half as many. Maturity has made me a nicer person." He points to his balding head and says that he is getting fat. Now he has liver problems and a bad back, but after 60-odd expeditions, these are simply the inevitable result of wear and tear. But still he fights back with his training and going to the gym. Falvey has been true to himself and achieved his ambitions. "I have done everything I said I wanted to do. " While away, he thinks about life and dreams up fresh plans. "When I'm out on an expedition it gives me time to reflect on my good and bad points. Some people can meditate under a tree - I need to be moving:'
He tells me that he isn't in a relationship. Is he lonely? "Loneliness is a state of mind. I haven't been without meeting people along the way but I'm not going to be at home. I have a very privileged life. Everybody leads their life their way. I could try to change my life and settle down but I choose not to change it. I'm selfish about my life and I live my life selfishly. I pay the ongoing consequences of that selfishness:' He shrugs and smiles. "You can't have everything," he says. He is content with his lot.
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original article by Ciara Dwyer for the Irish Independent newspaper
You can download the article as a PDF see below
“Life is like a mountain, and we all have mountains to climb, we all have an Everest”.
Pat Falvey, world-renowned adventurer and Expedition Leader
The Hope Foundation launched its Celebrity Expedition HOPE Everest to an excited audience this evening at Basecamp Adventure and Travel Store, Dublin. Donal McIntyre, Rob Ross, Philip Gray, George Mc Mahon, Teena Gates and Jenny Kavanagh were announced as the brave personalities who will take part in this a two-part challenge to raise funds for The Hope Foundation. The team will leave on September 30th and will spend twenty two days taking on this mammoth challenge.
The challenge is in two phases: the team will first climb to Everest Base Camp and then some will go on to climb to Island Peak, which is at 20,305 feet. This will be a really tough challenge, requiring ice picks and ice crampons in their boots and the team will be tied together with ropes to reach the ice field!
The expedition will be led by experienced mountaineer Pat Falvey, who has climbed the seven highest mountains on the Seven Continents twice, including Mt Everest from Nepal and Tibet. Pat is also experienced in leadership and motivation and is sure to build great team spirit among the participants.
Hon Director of The Hope Foundation, Maureen Forrest said: “Every child on the streets of Calcutta is facing an Everest each day; their lives are about survival. HOPE is working to change that with over 60 projects that enable children to go to school, to be cared for, to stay healthy and to break the cycle of poverty. I thank the team from the bottom of my heart for taking time out to be part of this great expedition to change children’s lives”. see video of Kids in Calcutta.
People around the country will also have a chance to get involved in this expedition as HOPE has three unique ideas to let the supporters become part of the team. The first is the Every Step Counts campaign, which will see gyms and health clubs ‘step’ with the team. Total Fitness are the first gym to come on board and support this campaign. The Sign the Flag campaign urges schools, businesses, groups and communities to sign a specially designed flag which will be brought by the team and put on Everest. The third is the Mobile Mountain campaign where you can drop your old phone into Basecamp Adventure Store and hopefully they can make a ‘mountain’ out of the amount they have received.
To get involved or learn more check out www.hopechallenge2010.com
The launch night was kindly sponsored by Basecamp store and Jaipur Restaurant.
Some pictures of celebrity's training in Ireland.
Philip Gray takes his Extreme Painting to Nepal 16/10/09.
Reports back from our guides in Nepal tell us that Philip's trek has got off to a great start. With beautiful weather, he left for Lukla (2800 meters) on the 13th. Landing at Lukla is an aviation treat, as the plane negotiates onto the 25 degree inclined thin graveled airstrip, which has been cut out of the shoulder of a steep ridge above an impressive gorge which has been cut through the valley by the Dudh-Kosi river.
Philip left Lukla with his guides and Porters and spent his first night in the Everest region in Phakding, a village situated at the edge of the Dubh Kosi. On the 14th, Philip set off northwards along the Dubh-Kosi River, known locally as “milky river” as the water flows from the mightiest glaciers in the world down through this narrow valley creating a milky white look to the river. The group crossed the river many times and experienced the thrill of walking across exciting narrow steel tension bridges. Views of many of the surrounding mountains, in particular the jagged ridges of Kusum Kangguru (one of Nepal’s most beautiful trekking peaks) was clearly visable.
At the convergence of the Bhote Kosi and the Imja River into the Dubh Kosi, the team had to negotiate a huge suspension bridge before a steep tracked two and a half-hour ascent to their nights destination- Namche Bazaar. On route Philip should of got his first sight of the world’s highest mountain. Mt Everest. Yesterday was an acclimatization day. At 3440 meters, Namche is the commercial center of the Kumbu and the Sherpa people. This thriving town is situated in a natural amphitheatre carved out of the site of a hill, which protects it from ravaging storms. It is the main trading post for those Tibetans wishing to trade with Nepal. It was only 350 years ago that the Tibetan people migrated here to the Khumbu over the high passes from the north and settled in these hostile hills. They were called “The Sherpa people” meaning ‘men from the east’. They cultivated the land to grow potato and barley from the steep hillsides and formed remote villages like Namche.
The group trekked for a few hours uphill for 400 meters to Thame, Khunde or Kumjung before descending for a relaxing evening in Namche. Today sees Philip and team leave Namche Bazaar, making their way uphill to gain a track leading Northeast. This meandering track brings you into the heart of the greatest mountains on this planet as you round the top of the ridge above Namche, confronted by a magnificent backdrop of Ama-Dablam 6856 meters, Kangtega and Thramserku (The mountain of ten summits). In the distance, Mt Everest protrudes its head above the great wall of Nuptse and Lhotse one of the last great-unsolved climbs.
After two hours, the team will descend to the riverbed of the Imja River for lunch before making a long ascent to the famous Buddhist monastery at Tengboche (3860 meters) This is a very special mystical place and it is said that hundreds of years ago a Lama from Tibet flew over the Himalayas and left his hand and footprints on rocks here at Tengboche and it is here where the monastery was built. But ever since this visit the area has being considered sacred and there is a ban on harming any living creature. Because of this the forest surrounding the monastery abounds in wildlife. After visiting the monastery, the team will descend through the forest to their campsite for the night at Deboche.
The highest peak on the South American Continent and a continental high point for those endeavoring to complete the Seven Summits Challenge. It is a trekking peak that can be completed by most fit people that can acclimatize to the altitude. Also get a chance to see Mendoza.
High success rate. Grade: Intermediate/Experienced
Date: Contact us here at www.patfalvey.com for 2015 prices, dates and details
Price: All In - TBD (Flights - Transport - Accommodation - Guides - Food - Permits- Visa)
Land Only Options Available All Climbing Year.
Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa:
Our trip will take us on an adventure of a life time to the highest mountain on the African Continent, Kilimanjaro. We can go on safari to see Africa’s wild life to Lake Manayara & Ngorongoro, the crater of the rain gods. Over 95% summit success rate.
Dates: TBD - contact us here at www.patfalvey.com for 2015 dates, prices and details
Price: TBD - contact us at the office for 2015 prices (Flights - Transport - Accommodation - Guides - Food - Visa- Permits)
Add Ons available- Safari, Zanzibar & Mt Meru
Land Only Options Available All Year
Everest Base Camp, Nepal:
An exciting opportunity for walkers and adventurers to trek through the most amazing landscapes in the world. Each day's trek is more spectacular than the day before as we make our way deeper into the mountains to reach Everest Base Camp.
High success rate
Grade: Beginner/ Intermediate
Date: TBD - contact us here at www.patfalvey for 2015 dates and details
Price: TBD - contact us at www.patfalvey.com for 2015 details and prices (Flights - Transport - Accommodation - Guides - Food - Visa- Permits)
Add On Available Island Peak (price tbd - call us today for a quote!)
Land Only Options Available All Trekking Year
Mt Elbrus, Russia
Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe, we spend a few days in the valleys around this mountain gaining height, acclimatising. The trip also includes a day discovering Moscow. Small groups!
Grade: Intermediate without skills
Date: TBD - contact us in the office for 2015 prices and details - www.patfalvey.com
Price: TBD - contact us for a quote today (Flights - Transport - Accommodation - Guides - Food- Visa)
Land Only Options Available All Climbing Year
Peru- Traditional & Alternative Inca Trail
Sandwiched between the driest desert and the largest rainforest in the world, the Andes of Peru contain some of the world's most spectacular mountain scenery. Within these mountains ancient civilizations, of which the Incas are the most famous, built cities, temples and roadways (there are known to be more then 25,000km) using precision construction techniques that continue to baffle scientists today. Both our tours to Peru enable you to explore the impressive relics of these civilizations, while enjoying some magnificent walking through the diverse scenery in the mountains and valleys of the Eastern Cordillera. On this tour we offer you a little more than just the classic Inca Trail, with plenty of time to visit all the major Inca sites in the area.
Land Only options available
Contact us to custom build your trip. Also check out our section http://www.patfalvey.com/independent.htm and visit our gallery to see some great images of previous expeditions and training.