Meet our climbing guides


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Well, it's all go here at the Yak and Yeti Hotel.

Our film crew are a hive of activity, busy testing satellite equipment and phones and settling logistics for all of the filming that will take place over the coming weeks. It's a big shoot and our Nepali expedition crew are doing a great job of networking with our support team. The bulk of the Sherpa staff left from Kathmandu last week and are waiting for the teams arrival in Lukla.

It's quite the contrast between the high spirits of the crew and the quiet enclave of the gardens at the back of the Hotel. It's quite hilarious to watch the guys dodging the geese and ducks that the hotel uses as charming if messy lawn mowers! Classic Nepal! Watch where your step guys, although some people do believe it brings you luck!

Our Western climbing guides have arrived and I cannot wait to introduce you to them. Their pedigree is almost intimidating, and I have to say that in all my years spent visiting Nepal, I've never felt in safer hands.

Hector Ponce de Leon: Hector has summited Mount Everest three times; once as a cameraman for our expedition leader Ben Webster's documentary 'Everest: Ultimate Survival', filmed for the Discovery Channel. He also worked with Ben on' The Meaning of the Mountain'; a heart-warming documentary about a group of Canadian breast cancer survivors successful climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Dave Stark: Dave is a veteran of high alpine peaks here in the Himalaya, South America, Antarctica and North America and is the Director of Operations at Yamnuska Mountain Adventures in Canmore, where he is in charge of the guides and all aspects of field programing.

Ben Shillington: Ben is a year round guide and instructor, who has climbed and guided extensively in the Himalaya, Africa and North America. He has been an integral part of several of Ben Webster's documentary expeditions in the past and led a successful climb on Island Peak in the Spring of this year. He is the author of the excellent 'Winter backpacking' detailing expedition travel in the depths of winter.

Paul Rogers: Paul has worked as an Outdoor Experiential Education guide for the New Zealand Army, the NZ Antarctic research program and the Sir Edmund Hilary Outdoor Pursuits Centre. He regularly guides in Nepal and has worked on Everest 8848m, Cho-Oyu 8200mand Lhotse 8516m. He has guided five successful expeditions on Island Peak.

OK, I have to go. I need to go and sort out my clutter and pack what I need. Believe me it's going to be more of an uphill struggle than climbing Island Peak itself. Crampons? Check. Down jacket? Check. Confidence and nerves of steel? YOU BET!! With an expedition crew with such outstanding credentials, how could I not?

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