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Gavin Bate Everest 2002 Expedition

Dispatch One

MARCH: The final weeks are ticking by with alarming speed and planning has gone into advanced stages. Gavin and Will met in Belfast last weekend and Gavin took all Wills equipment in his car. Will now leaves for Australia for a final three weeks with his fiancee, a leisurely three weeks on the Gold coast in the sun with just the warm wind to raise the hairs on the back of his neck, and a couple of stubby's to drink from.

Meanwhile Gavin struggles with all the bloody work! Late nights bent over the computer, days packing barrels, trying to talk to the Russians and the Chinese on a line shared by half the developing world and monitoring all the planning. Hey, you try to book eight yaks from a Tibetan yak driver in a country where there are no telephones!

No grumbling though, Will's doing all the carries on the hill when we get there... Steve Pinfield meanwhile nurses an injured knee in Cornwall, courtesy of a recalcitrant sled in Antarctica that hit him. In over 5 million square miles of ice, the sled chose Steve to hit!

Anyway the emergency oxygen supplies have been bought after weeks, no months, of getting the contracts agreed with the Russians (thanks to my mate Andrey Panin in Moscow - the Russian equivalent of Del Boy Trotter..) and they're now on their way to Kathmandu where the diminutive but efficient Ang Rita Sherpa will pick them up and put them in my store. I've played a little game of Russian oxygen roulette and put helium in one of the bottles!

Meanwhile I spent all of last Monday and Tuesday packing barrels with all our gear - it's so darned exciting to see all the gear laid out. Mate, you have to get the best kit, and the sponsorship of Tiso's and Berghaus has ensured that. As usual, we're going to be the best dressed climbers on the hill! (advertisement break - for the very best in equipment, from the Munro's to Mount Everest, come to Tiso's, bespoke outfitters to Everest expeditions since 1972. Your one-stop shop for all your kit ! ).

George Mochrie, who got me the Inmarsat system for the 2000 Expedition, is back! Now, with prodigious energy he tackles the big companies like Iridium to get us the toprack M4 system which CNN used in Afghanistan. With that piece of kit, I'll have ISDN hook-ups from Base Camp and able to send pictures without the annoying hassle of the $12,000 phone bill I got last time I was on Everest!

Meanwhile, in deepest Suffolk boffins from Unlimited Power Supplies are beavering away to supply us with solar energy so I can keep my laptop going and Will can charge his Walkman. Graham Robey is linking three 11W flexible solar panels to a smart adaptor which will give us all the juice we need. 

We're booked to fly out on the 27th March but I'll be in touch before then with updates on how it's all going.

Gavin Bate
EVEREST NORTH RIDGE EXPEDITION 2002
No oxygen, no Sherpas, very little brains

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