In fact after all that Andy Salter, Gavin's partner throughout the year, was the one who took the title. He had failed on Aconcagua back in January 2001 and then got his own sponsorship for Vinson to go in December on a slightly earlier trip than Gavin. He summitted and on the way back stopped off to try Aconcagua again. Another miss but Andy went back for a third time in January and this time summitted the highest mountain in south America and thus became the fastest person to climb the Seven Summits (counting Carstenz Pyramid, not the 7 months that Rob Hall did it in which included Kosciuszko ).

"I was understandably annoyed at missing the top of Everest," says Gavin now, "and it was natural to want to go back and try again. The opportunity came quicker than I thought when I met Steve Pinfield in Antarctica and Will Canning who I had climbed with on Denali." Together they decided to go back to Everest.

This time though Gavin will be climbing the North ridge and without supplementary oxygen or Sherpa support. "A couple of years ago we climbed Cho Oyu like that and I summitted without any problem with altitude or exhaustion. Everest is a much bigger proposition of course, 1500' higher, but I quite fancy tackling it in a more natural way. We want to be lightweight, small, maneuverable and flexible."

Gavin will be arriving in Kathmandu on the 25th March with Will and Steve and staying at the Kathmandu Guest House Hotel. They leave for Tibet on the 1st April. "I'm very excited", says Gavin, "it will be a great challenge and if luck is with us and we stay healthy then we might have a crack at the summit."

Throughout their time on the mountain Gavin will be providing reports for and for very good reason. "When we were on Everest in 2000 I had this website and emailing list that I wrote for every day. By the time we came to summit, over three thousand people were logging on every day and I got some incredible messages from people I never knew. It was wonderful to think that our small adventures up on that mountain were being followed by so many, and that's something I'll never forget. People like to know what's going on up there, what people are doing. With the technology today, there's no reason why we shouldn't keep in touch".

There's another good reason for bringing the satellite phone back again. This time Gavin has a dream to call a certain special person from the top. "It gives me added motivation to think that I could possibly call somebody from the top of the world and tell her...".

Now what would be telling, eh ?

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