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DISABLED MOUNTAINEER KNOCKS OFF HIMALAYAN PEAK IN WARM-UP FOR UNIQUE DOUBLE (Media Release)

On April 2nd, partially disabled Singaporean mountaineer David Lim summitted Mera l Peak* ( 6476m ) as part of his acclimatisation for climbing two of the world’s biggest peaks, Shishapangma and Cho Oyu. The expedition, known as ASCENT 8000 is aimed at increasing awareness of the importance of disability sport.

Mera Peak is located at the head of the quiet and remote Hinku valley, an area of the Mt Everest region rarely frequented by trekkers or visitors. Lim, Singapore’s first professional mountaineer, and his Nepali partner MB Tamang did not have the usual kitchen crew that all teams use in the Hinku. They travelled into Mera basecamp with just two porters.

Climbing in light-weight style, Lim and Tamang placed a high glacier camp at 5,700m on March 31st and then made a summit bid starting at 4:30am on April 2nd. The route on Mera Peak is normally straightforward but consistently bad weather on the 9-day approach meant the team had to struggle through soft snow and -20degree conditions. There were no other teams on the mountain at that time.

Lim says:” There were storm clouds at a distance over the Mt Everest region and to the north, the sky was simply black. But to the west of us there was clear weather and the winds are not so high so we went for it.”

The climb took six hours and the summit reached at 1030am. Lim called Singapore via his ACES satellite telephone from the summit’; “just as clouds came over and a hasty descent was in order”

Lim sustained some minor frostnip in his fingers and a bad pressure bruise on his right, disabled ankle. This necessitated walking out of the rugged Hinku valley for three days wearing a sandal as footwear for his right foot.

“It was pretty tricky, balancing on rocks, icy patches for hours each day with a light boot on one foot and a sandal on the other!”, he said.

Now in Kathmandu, Lim is headed for Tibet on Saturday to begin his climbs of Shishapangma ( 8012m ) and subsequently Cho Oyu ( 8201m ). The expedition’s progress can be followed on http://www.everest.org.sg

” I feel pretty acclimatised of the big event,” said Lim. ” I just need a bit of luck with the weather for the big climbs ahead.”

ARCHIVED REPORTS:

May 27th, 2002

Clarification from Kathmandu:

* Mera Peak comprises three summits; the highest being the North summit at 6476m. MB Tamang seemed certain the peak we were climbing was the ‘ summit’ ( he had climbed there in 1993 ) and one map that we checked showed it to be the highest point. But upon checking other information sources, it now appears that the highest point was NOT reached. We had reached the Central Summit ( 6461m ) , a prominent ‘summit’ on the complex glacier plateau. While most teams consider this the ‘summit’ as the North summit has a large crevasse cutting across the entire route and insurmountable without considerable equipment, we do not consider ourselves as having climbed to the top. Nevertheless, we feel we had done a good job climbing this 6000m subsidiary summit as part of our warmup climb for the 8000ers.

David Lim

2 Apr 2002, 10:35am

Mera Peak
Hi there!
Calling from the summit of Mera Peak. Standing in the middle of a fantastic white-out right now. The whole peak is in the midst of heavy cloud cover. We can’t take any photos or video, so MB and myself is spending our time eating and drinking!! Cheers!!

The climb up was difficult (even though this was just an acclimatisation climb), we had knee deep snow and mush. Had a head cold and this was affecting my breathing but I just kept at it… sucking air and putting one foot in front of the other.

Right now, after a bit of food and water, I feel much better, already… hey!!! Looks like the sun’s coming up…
We will be moving down to Lukla over the next four days. See ya!

1 Apr 2002, 5,600m

Mera High Camp
Reached Mera High Camp yesterday. Will make a summit attempt tomorrow, early in the morning. The weather have been bad, with lots of mushy snow in the afternoon. We have been getting “graupel”, snow that comes in the form of small lumps. This is not the usual snow flakes. This makes the going a bit harder. We had to plough through the mush. From where we stand, we can see the north side of Mt Everest. The weather does not look too good over there too. Batteries running a bit low…

30 Mar 2002, 12 noon (Singapore), 5,415m

Mera La
Reached Mera La (5,415m) – (Mera Base Camp) yesterday. We will go for Mera High Camp on Sunday. A long walk from Khare. We have been having snow showers in the afternoon.

We are having blue skies right now, and from where we stand, we can see Mera Peak standing up there in the clear blue sky. The air is dry, expected, and MB and myself have been drinking loads of water, tea and stuff to keep hydrated.

We are in good health and MB is trying his hand with the video camera. Looks like the clouds are coming in and we might be having a bit of snow later.

27 Mar 2002, 4200m, Thangnak

Had a hard day plodding yesterday. Walked from 4,100m down to 3,400m to Kothe. The walk involves a lot of up and downs. Old paths were swept away recently because part of Sabai Tsho, a mountain range, broke away in an avalanche.

Have reached Thangnak, a little hamlet, today. This village is at 4,200m. The weather seems to be getting better, a lot more sunshine in the morning. We met an Australian team of 4 persons, returning from their climb. They look pretty happy with themselves.

We have been having meals from the small guest-houses enroute. We get a lot of carbohydrates like rice, potatoes and dal-baht (a thick Nepalese vegetable stew), and the occasional egg. Somehow I feel like sinking my teeth into some meat… (we are saving our dried meat for later). Tomorrow, we will move on to Khare before we reach the base of Mera, our first challenge.

Both MB and myself are feeling great, spirits are high even if we are feeling a bit hungry for something on hoofs.

25 Mar 2002 (4,100m, Hinku Valley)

Arrived at Lukla 2,500m on the Mar 22. We were delayed by bad weather and as a result lost 3 hours. This means that we only begin our trek on Mar 23. We established our first camp at 3,400m. Had lots of hot tea and rice, burp!!

Mar 24, we trekked further and reached an altitude of 3,800m. Nice hike. We had showers of “snow” in the afternoon and evening. Mar 25, we went up to 4,000m. Today, we crossed 2 passes one at 4,500m and the other at about 4,700m at Zatrewa La. Met the Shishapangma Expedition members, Mok, Robert and Edwin coming down from their acclimatisation climb. They are well and healthy. The last time the four of us were together was on our 1st Mt. Everest Expedition. It’s been a while…

After the climbing the passes at Zatrewa la, me and MB Tamang descended down to 4,100m into the Hinku Valley. Tomorrow, we will make our way to Tadna, if the weather holds up. Right now, it is cloudy with occassional sunshine. We had a bit of”graupel” today. Graupel is not something we eat. It is small round balls of snow!!

I have a bit of sinus today but that aside, I feel good.

23 Mar 2002

(4:12pm Satphone Report at 4,300m.)
Hi, This is David calling.

We were delayed by some bad weather yesterday, so we could not get on an immediate start from Lukla, the mountain airstrip. But we have finished the day’s trekking today at 4:15 pm (Singapore time). Tomorrow I am deciding whether we will go for the passes at Zatrewa la at 4500m and 4700m or spend another night here at 3400m.

Interesting thing is that I may get to meet Mok and boys from the Shishapangma Expedition as they are also acclimatising in this area. Feeling good, everyone in good health.

21 Mar 2002

Greetings from a very wet and soggy Kathmandu. For the first time in seven visits, the mountains were not visible from the Thai Airways flight, so even the excellent Thai dessert served on board could not make up for it. At 4:30pm the heavens opened up. Apparently, the recent unseasonal rainy weather is like a barometer of people’s feelings -in Thamel at least. Here, in the heart of the tourist district, a gloomy mood prevails. Business is down and it’s palpable. The shopkeepers are more eager for business and the streets less crowded.

I will take the mountain flight into Lukla tomorrow for the start of a 3-week acclimatisation climb. All the rain down here means snow up high, so I’ll take it as it comes. There will be limited pictures posted from now but I’ll continue to send dispatches by audio….and update picture files when I get back in April.

Dave

Mar 17

Top: Mayor Heng ( left ) trying on an 8000m down suit as David lends a hand. Above: David’s ACES satellite telephone and Canon digital cameras

ASCENT 8000 had its pre-departure media event on Mar 14; attended by 25 members of the media, supporters and Expedition Patron, Mr Heng Chee How, Mayor of Central Singapore Council.
Said expedition patron and Central Singapore mayor Heng Chee How:

‘David is a shining example for Singaporeans on how we can set our goals and overcome and exceed our perceived limitations with determination and belief.’

The story was captured in the press in The Straits Times, Lianhe Zaabao and Today newspapers and also on Channels 5, U, I as well as the regional Channelnewsasia network.

David departs on Mar 21st

Feb 11

Note from David . Weekly training is being cranked up with at least two three/four hour hill sessions with the usual 15kg pack plus additional cardio sessions. Core stability exercises also figure in my training, especially since his legs dont work like normal ones. The often neglected back and waist muscles are critical in maintaining stability when carrying large loads. Weight sessions in th egym have been scaled back but work is ongoing for strength maintenance.
Weather: After a wet January, hot and dry conditions are back but this is all relative since humidity here is usually 90% which makes any prolonged workout rather dehydrating. The trick is to keep drinking….

Mar 13

One week to go! ASCENT 8000 is pleased to receive on behalf of the Singapore Sports Council for the Disabled a cheque for $1,000 from NTUC Income Cooperative, a household name in insurance and essential services here.


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