All systems are go now. It’s around 6:40 Monday 31st October and I’m at the airport. London Heathrow T4 of course. Excitement is not the word. It’s at fever pitch. We take off at 8:50 pm local bound for Delhi, then after a change of planes I head for Kathmandu. But the journey started nearly 3 years ago as a dream, then became a dashed plan last year and now it’s real. It hardly seems possible.

I have calmed down the training in the past 2 weeks so as not to sprain, pull or otherwise damage anything. I’ve also increased food intake to hit my target weight of 13 stones, achieved today. The training was replaced with packing, weighing, re-packing and re-weighing, I think 5 times as I strove to get the right balance between essentials and weight.

I think it’s right now. The duffel is 22kg but that includes my exped sack, and quite a weight of various supplements including multivitamins, amino acids, complex B vitamins, omega 7, magnesium, rehydration salts etc. I think this is essential to be able to maintain reasonable health when we will be short of food and burning several thousand calories each day while struggling with altitude and the inevitable sickness. As a result some things I thought to be important had to be left behind. My trainers for example. They were to be comfortable camp footwear but I’ll make do with my boots and sandals if my toes need a break. I have also packed just one solar charging unit. The remaining one had better be good otherwise the satphone and GPS units will die.

I have minimal spare clothing. I have basically taken 2 of everything in thin and thick to cope with the heat of the day and bitter cold at night. We are expecting temperature swings from around 25°C during the day to -5°C at night. Thus a fairly high proportion of my carried weight will be my Rab summit 900 4-season sleeping bag and liner and my trusty ME Annapurna duvet jacket for the night, and lots of sun screen for the day.

As ‘luxuries’ I have Peter Matthiessen’s ‘The Snow Leopard’ to read and some delicious tablet made by Clare and some Kendal Mint Cake from my brother Richard. All have to be carried of course but we’ll be out there for 3 weeks and need a little something extra to keep spirits up if the flesh is struggling.

Anyway, enough of the prep. Three of the others on the trek are in Kathmandu now and Tim arrives about now. I’ll be last to arrive about 15:00 local (10:15 U.K. time) tomorrow. It will then be a mad scramble to the shops to buy a tent and a Nepal Telecom SIM card so I can keep the blog going and then to a bar, probably Sam’s Bar, to meet the others. That will be when the fun starts.

To be honest, right now I’m feeling quite nervous. This is the first time I’ve embarked on a ‘self-planned’ expedition rather than booking with an established company. Of course I trust Tim and am confident in my route planning, preparation and fitness, but nonetheless this trek is still a ‘first’. It has never been done before. It is a real adventure.

Bring it on! The next blog will be from the mad and wonderful Kathmandu.

Many thanks to everyone who has helped me get this far. This adventure would not be possible without your help, support, and encouragement.