Final Progress Update & Project Completion

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*You can refresh your memory & read my previous post/s before reading this one*

1. A summary so far…

unnamed-82. How has the Mobile Clinic done?

3. The figures

4. PERSONAL COMMENTS from JIJI ūüôā

 

1. A Summary so far…

  • In 2010-11, Adventure4Aid raised ~AUD$90,000 through our various fundraising activities, the main one was climbing 6,000 metres up Yuzhu Peak¬†in the mountainous region of Qinghai, China.

  • With these funds, we could afford to purchase TWO Mobile Clinics, but purchased one first, as this kind of vehicle and project had not been attempted in this very high altitude before (~4,000m).unnamed-5

  • From 2011, our vehicle provided free medical support for the nomads living around the grasslands of the 2010 earthquake epi-centre in Yushu County, Qinghai.

  • Late 2011-2012, the vehicle started to experience mechanical problems and was not working optimally in the more extreme low oxygen conditions. However it still transported doctors, nurses and medicines up to ¬†safe altitudes where nomads could still access LOVEQTRA’s services.

  • After a year of¬†lengthy¬†negotiations with the manufacturers, in 2013, LOVEQTRA obtained a refund of the bare vehicle price.

  • LOVEQTRA have done extensive national market research and testing on potential replacement vehicles with the specifications we require. The type of vehicles appropriate for our needs are only manufactured in other provinces, adding to the complex logistics.unnamed-6

  • A replacement vehicle was purchased, however at a more expensive price, in addition we had to fit the new vehicle with necessary medical equipment. Hence we had one good vehicle and the balance of the funds were put to medicinal supply for the Clinic. The new vehicle began service in July 2014.

  • In LOVEQTRA’s 2014 medical report, the funds needed to equip the Mobile Clinic with the necessary medicines is approx. CNY48,000; which was approx. (at the time of sending), equivalent to AUD$9,000. An extra AUD$5,000 was sent in 2014, totalling AUD$16,000, which should cover the medicines to supply the Mobile Clinic for just under 2 years.

 

2. How has the Mobile Clinic done?

  • Since the beginning of the Project in 2011, the combined Mobile Clinics have serviced approx. 10,000 patients with medical consultation, advice and/or referral.

  • Common issues were hypertension, arthritis, Hep B,¬†gynaecological diseases, tuberculosis, gallstones, peptic ulcer.

 The combined Clinics have facilitated:

  • foreign as well as local volunteer doctors and nurses to serve the nomads’ needs.
  • teams of local, domestic, and foreign, short to medium-term volunteers to offer their services.

    unnamed-10

    Our Mobile Clinic in use on the Grasslands

  • training of 5 long-term health workers (2 doctors, 3 nurses) specifically servicing the quake disaster areas.

  • the referral and transportation of patients of difficult or severe cases to clinics in Yushu, or partner-hospitals in Xining (the capital of Qinghai) (eg. Red Cross Hospital); or even Beijing.

  • partnership with Save the Children Foundation for¬†cleft lip & palate cases, scoliosis, congenital heart disease screening.

  • education of¬†nomad’s on good medical and health practices/habits.

unnamed-7

Our Mobile Clinic in use on the Grasslands

 

3. The Figures 

These are the approximate figures in AUD (allowing for exchange rate fluctuations):

90,000 Amount raised

41,000 Amount sent for first Mobile Clinic

32,000 Amount refunded to LOVEQTRA, from first Mobile Clinic

40,000 Amount sent for Replacement Mobile Clinic (new vehicle + purpose-built infitting: 72,000)

¬† ¬†9,000 Balance sent for one year’s supply of medicines

   5,000 Miscellaneous extra raised sent for supply of medicines

———

         $0

4. Personal Comments ūüôā

This project is¬†now complete to Adventure4Aid’s satisfaction. Although it has been a long process, I felt it extremely necessary and a privilege to see it through to its intended end.¬†You have entrusted me with these funds and I am happy that it has indeed been put to its purpose.

As some of you know, during this project, I have gone through two life-stage changes, and embarking on this second, new and exciting one next month!

So, for the next little while, I will only be able to dream of the next cool adventure to raise funds for another worthwhile project.

Till then…….stay tuned!!! ūüėČ

If you are interested to join with me in planning cool adventures or worthwhile projects, please write to me via the Contact tab at the top of this website. 

If you no longer wish to receive notifications of new posts, please also contact me using the Contact tab.

 Jiji

 

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18Nov’11- Back from Yushu- Mobile Clinic Update

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Tashi Delek All!  [Tibetan Greeting]

 I’ve been back for a couple of weeks now. Thanks to Frank for sending some updates when I could get them out to you.

[To refresh your memories on the Mobile Clinic Project, don‚Äôt forget, you can go to ‚ÄúThe Problem‚ÄĚ & ‚ÄúA Solution‚ÄĚ pages of this website, & of course, our previous blog entries & photos].

It was a tough trip, I honestly didn’t expect it to be. When I first started fundraising for this Project in January 2010, people hardly knew of Qinghai, the province in China, for which I was fundraising, let alone Yushu [Tibetan: Jyekundo], a predominantly Tibetan prefecture in Qinghai.

On the 14th of April 2010, Yushu suffered a magnitude 6.9 earthquake, which claimed over 2,600 lives and left over 12,000 injured.  Suddenly, Yushu was the centre of world attention- everyone knew where I was fundraising for; and it made the Mobile Clinic even more urgent.

I figured I would have no trouble with the altitude (up to 3900m), and the cold (it can’t be worse than the mountain we climbed last year!), and these didn’t really affect me, but what I didn’t expect, was to be having trouble with the thick dust from the non-stop construction and rebuilding of the entire town.

I also didn’t expect the rebuilding to be at such an early stage (my perspective only), but they had to wait an appropriate amount of time to allow for the many aftershocks, and construction can only be done 5 months a year because of the inclement weather and altitude. A lot of the workers come from other provinces in China and they can’t withstand the high altitude for more than a few months at a time. The snow season also started as we left Yushu.

I stayed with my friend Maggie, (who travelled with me to Yushu), in an orphanage school, thanks to the help and good relations (guanxi) of some friends. Before the earthquake, students numbered just over 200; after the earthquake, there were around 160 new orphans to the school. We were told schools and hospitals were the priority, so they have to be rebuilt first. This one was still in temporary buildings (like the demountables we sometimes see in Australian schools as add-on classrooms).

One night, Maggie and I were suited up in our down jackets etc, walking to the toilet, about 20 metres from our room. When I put my head-lamp on, I thought it was snow falling into the shine of my torch, but soon realised it was raining dust! This quickly entered my lungs and caused inflammation from all the coughing….. and then the whole deal. I couldn’t escape it, even at night I slept with a mask on. At some points, I felt worse than I did on the mountain last year.

(Frank is happy to stand corrected in his previous update on my behalf- there was by no means any air conditioning in our rooms!).

I wore the mask day and night, so much so that people on the grasslands thought I was the doctor!

After a 10 minute motorbike ride to the nearest shower, I had to pluck poor Maggie away from it, as the principal of the school insisted we didn‚Äôt shower while in Yushu-¬†if we caught a cold, ‚Äúwe wouldn‚Äôt recover (at this altitude)‚ÄĚ. I was sure glad we heeded his advice when my cough wouldn‚Äôt subside! I‚Äôll tell you a secret-¬†the first time I lived in rural Qinghai, I didn‚Äôt shower for a month because it was so freezing cold and the only shower was so far into town. It‚Äôs a well-documented fact that Maggie struggled for 4 days!

 

How your donations were spent- Mobile Clinic Update

Well, there’s a mixed bag of news, but it’s positive news overall! The Mobile Clinic donated by YOU has, via LOVEQTRA (Love Qinghai Tibet Rescue & Aid), enabled much-needed medical services to be available to impoverished and remote nomads in the harsh, inaccessible grasslands of Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

Last Five Months……. 

Since registration in May, our Mobile Clinic has enabled a total of 5,500 people to be received and treated. The Clinic circulated designated routes around the grasslands and pastoral areas, covering 3,500km in Yushu.

This was the schedule on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Tuesdays and Thursdays, teams of LOVEQTRA volunteers carried out family visits, bringing much-needed supplies- blankets, clothes etc. to those families in need or that couldn’t physically make the designated meeting points.

More than 3 months were devoted to Jiegu Township, the centre of the earthquake zone.

LOVEQTRA received 11 voluntary short-term medical teams, with a total of 28 doctors and nurses from Malaysia, Australia, U.K., Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other provinces in China. These visits included the training and upskilling of local doctors and nurses in ultrasound and other techniques, dental clinics, Hepatitis B prevention, to name a few.

Common conditions treated included pneumonia, hernia, tetanus, birth-related complication, loss of blood due to accidents, hepatic and pulmonary hydatidosis (infestation of worms to the liver or lung, from prolonged consumption of uncooked meat. Boiling point is lower than at sea level, so meats are not cooked properly.)

The Mobile Clinic Project employs 7 long-term staff (doctors, nurses and assisting staff).

The beauty of the Mobile Clinic is that it not only allows LOVEQTRA to take doctors’ services, medicine and supplies to the inaccessible, it can generate electricity, enabling the use of medical machines in examinations. It also carries oxygen, for emergencies and during patient transport to the city hospitals in more serious cases (a 12 hour drive).

The report given to me by staff, informs us that LOVEQTRA assisted and continues to assist West China Children’s Rescue Foundation in checking, transferring and treating children with deformities. It has also cooperated with Qinghai University in checking and treating rheumatoid arthritis among ethnic minorities in Qinghai.

What we saw in October…….

When we arrived in Yushu, I was happy to see a very cohesive bunch of volunteers from all around China. Their headquarters is the ‚ÄėLOVEQTRA Base Camp‚Äô, a cluster of tents and simple structures. They have organised themselves into teams and were rostered¬†on for different tasks every day, as per the above schedule; a different team would be rostered on each day to cook for the entire group, and boy can they all cook!

The not-so-good news is that the Mobile Clinic was experiencing mechanical problems. According to the Base Camp Manager, it was to do with the fuel and air mix, since the air is so thin at this altitude. The Mobile Clinic still runs, but because the harsh winter is upon them, they don’t want to push it, and have it totally break down. LOVEQTRA is in discussions and negotiations with the manufacturer. The company is in another province (of a much lower altitude); as Qinghai does not have the manufacturers capable of this sort of project.

The consequence of that is that they are not experts in the mechanics at altitude, and this is a first for everybody concerned; as LOVEQTRA founder, Philip Poh, put it- this was the first fully equipped and staffed Mobile Clinic in Qinghai. I have yet to receive more information about the mechanical aspects of the problem.

We followed different teams around for 3 days, and what we witnessed was something special- the bringing together of services and those who need it. Because the snow hasn’t set in yet, we were able to go in normal vans, but obviously not with all the medical equipment. We stopped at designated routes on the grasslands, where nomads would come, having heard through word of mouth about the Mobile Clinic and the location of the stops. Of course, this has been happening since the earthquake, so people know about it and its faithful timetable.

Going Forward…….

 As mentioned above, the Mobile Clinic Project employs 7 long-term staff (doctors, nurses and assisting staff). Our funds raised also goes towards this for the first year. After that, LOVEQTRA, through their ongoing fundraising efforts, will ensure the longevity of the Project. The aim is to grow it to a fleet of ambulances. There was already a second donated Clinic (the red one beside ours in the photos).

LOVEQTRA and I continue to appeal for volunteer doctors (GPs or specialists), nurses, and medical assistants willing to volunteer for 1 week or more, to give the current doctors a break.                                 One of the doctors  came out of retirement to serve here full-time, despite his own health problems. Another young doctor gave up a promising, well-paid career to give his fellow compatriots the precious gift of health. It’s enough to make you cry.

Our Second Mobile Clinic…….

Regarding our second batch of funds, I am monitoring closely the effectiveness of the first Mobile Clinic before releasing the money to purchase the second. I was very pleased with the services around the Mobile Clinic, and that they continued, despite the Vehicle being parked at Base Camp. I would hope for one or more professional opinion/s regarding the mechanical problem and how it can be rectified.

As always, I will keep you posted!

Thanks to…….

** This blog entry wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t express my respect and gratitude to the staff and volunteers whom we met and took us on their rounds with them, which was a privilege. They even came to the orphanage school and treated my cough, which got worse during the 4 days. I was quite embarrassed and they even refused to take my money for medicine, saying that it’s nothing compared the gift of a Mobile Clinic! I was very moved.

** I want to thank our three friends (angels really), who didn’t have to, but arranged transport, accommodation and everything else in between so that Maggie and I could have a smooth trip.

** The principal of the orphanage school let us stay there and put us up for another night when our flight was snowed in.  I should also thank Maggie for traveling with me, suffering the effects of altitude, and sharing this experience with me.

** I also owe heaps to my Mom– who helped me translate the LOVEQTRA reports into English, so I could get this info out to you, the Donors. Thanks Ma!

** Of course I want to thanks you guys, who donated the Mobile Clinic. A feel-good moment indeed!

9Mar11- Invitation to join Qinghai Trip in Oct 2011

Hi everyone,

Thankyou for supporting Adventure4Aid to be able to raise enough funds for TWO Mobile Clinics, when the target was just one. The first one is planned to be up and running by as early as April!

I will be going to Qinghai to see the Mobile Clinic in action for myself in (likely to be mid) October this year, and invite any of our supporters, sponsors, their family and friends to join our trip (up to 2 weeks).  We already have a family interested in coming.

To get an idea of what environment you’ll be visiting,¬†please browse the¬†photos on this website (various pages & the actual Climb blogposts), or Google Qinghai. The landscape on the Tibetan Plateau is amazing!

We’ll be staying in Xining (capital), and towns on the way to Yushu Prefecture, the site of last year’s earthquake. You’ll come away from the trip more aware of the needs¬†and poverty of¬†nomads and farmers in Qinghai. You’ll be immersed in Tibetan culture and way of life, but your eyes will also be opened to the many other cultures that exist in Qinghai.

October will be autumn and could be¬†anywhere from¬†T-shirt to down-jacket weather. We might be lucky and get snow! We’ll be staying at altitudes of 2,200-4,000m, so the first week you will be acclimatising¬†and enjoying the sites in and around¬†Xining (2,200m).

For those who might be interested, or just have questions, please shoot me an email (info@adventure4aid.com) as soon as¬†you can,¬†so that I can start planning as well. When I have a better idea on price, I’ll write again.

Cheers,

Jiji

WELCOME COMMENTS & QUESTIONS- PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BY CLICKING THE BLUE “LEAVE A COMMENT” BELOW… ūüôā

3Feb11- Mobile Clinic Update #1 (with photos)

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Hi everyone,

  1. In the period between Christmas 2010 and New Year, LOVEQTRA Qinghai , began negotiations with the JAC manufacturer in Anhui Province. JAC is the brand of vehicle for our Mobile Clinics.

  2. JAC will sell¬†its latest model at off-market cost (exhibited at Guangzhou Car Fair 2010, Guangdong¬†Province).¬†JAC asked LOVEQTRA¬†to bring one primary school girl from Yushu, Qinghai¬†Province¬†(the site of¬†the April’ 10 earthquake), to the Car Fair to attend the press release and handover ceremony,¬†as¬†it would like to sponsor her all the way to university. The vehicle will be available to LOVEQTRA early Feb (after Chinese New Year).

  3. JAC will help infit¬†the Mobile Clinic, under advice from doctors working with LOVEQTRA. Some specialised equipment (eg. blood & urine analysis¬†machine) will be¬†fitted by LOVEQTRA’s contractors.

  4. The people at JAC¬†are very serious about this project, and have made a special trip to Qinghai Province to look for a designated repair shop¬†for the vehicles they sold¬†to LOVEQTRA¬†(they didn’t plan to release to NW China until 2013 originally.)

  5.  The Rotary Club of North Sydney (which is kindly collecting money & issuing tax-deductible receipts  for Adventure4Aid), sent funds to LOVEQTRA Qinghai, for the first Mobile Clinic in early January. 

  6. Guangzhou Car Fair 2010 JAC representatives with Philip Poh (Dir. of LOVEQTRA) & Yushu primary girl, both in traditional Tibetan dress

¬†We would love to hear from you, leave us a comment, it’s easy-¬†you don’t even have to start an account, just click below on “Leave a Comment”…

 

Jan 2011- TWO MOBILE CLINICS RAISED!

 

Dear Supporters,

As you might know, just before the Fundraising Dinner in August, we had almost reached our original target of One Mobile Clinic. 

I am proud and extremely moved to inform you all, that we have now reached our next (and final) target of TWO medically equipped and staffed MOBILE CLINICS!

Thankyou for your support everyone! It has just been overwhelming!

I will be updating you about the progress of the Clinics shortly.

Jiji 

(on behalf of the Adventure4Aid team)

 

[For previous blogposts (journal entries) or photos, please choose from the Left Side Bar of any page of the Website]

THE CLIMB- Filling in the Gaps [8TH OCTOBER] Last day of climb

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Day 8, October 8

 

 

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We woke to the sun beating down on the tent, which was dangerously dehydrating us, but given our experience yesterday,¬†no one felt the need to wake up early today.¬†As we were packing our things to head back to Base Camp (BC) (5,050m),¬†six Tibetans from the Qinghai¬†Mountaineering Association Search & Rescue team met us on their way up to the official Camp 1 (C1)¬†(5,600m) (we were camped at 5,300m). I knew the man wouldn’t have lasted the night, and it would be a recovery, not a rescue.

 

As we packed, I was aware that four of the fingers on my right hand and a couple on my left were becoming increasingly sensitive to touch, to the point that Julia and Sheena were kind enough to help me pack a lot of my gear for the next few days. This was later confirmed to be frostnip, the first stage of frostbite, which can happen in just 60 seconds. Once you‚Äôve had it, your resistance to the cold is much less. I realised the onset was when¬†my mind¬†was in that ‚Äúzone‚ÄĚ, and I took my gloves off to make those calls for help at Camp 1.¬†

 

Amidst the obvious air of sadness that was over our camp, one thing I thought quite amusing was that our tent, which we thought on relatively flat ground, was actually at such an angle that Sheena, the smallest in our team woke with the three of us rolled on top of her, and a big space on the other side of the tent.

 

The girls’ tent¬†(Sheena, Julia, Jiji)¬†were¬†extremely grateful to Carl for his care and attentiveness¬†leading us¬†up the mountain, and¬†now also, coming down, when Sheena was¬†especially grateful for his assistance.

There must have been a different, faster way down the mountain, because when we reached BC, the Search & Rescue team¬†were already there with the police entourage and later, the coroner’s vehicle.

We found out that the man whom we discovered at C1 had a driver. Philip and I shook hands with him at Base Camp and chatted briefly while the rest of the team packed our gear. He told us the man had intended to camp with us the night  we camped at 5,300m, but of all the chances he had to communicate this to us, when he was climbing quite close to our team, he never tried to make contact. Frank said at one stage, they were so close, he could have hit him with a rock (if he threw one). 

News reports after the incident revealed that the driver waited anxiously¬†at BC when the man failed to radio back to him, though unfortunately we didn’t see any lights.

We were later informed that he was the vice-president of a mountaineering association of Xinjiang, Qinghai’s neighbouring province. News reports confirmed that the man died of High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE)(fluid build-up in the brain due to prolonged exposure to high altitude; the severest & most life-threatening form of altitude sickness).

 

This experience was surreal, and one that we didn’t expect to have to deal with, on a simple fundraising expedition, by a bunch of office-workers from Australia. I felt as if I had walked straight into one of the climbing novels that I loved reading so much. We feel terrible for the man, we now know to be Yang Ge, and for his family and friends, that he had to spend the last hours of his life alone. We had so many questions that we will never know the answers to.

 

We packed up our remaining things at BC and drove to Xidatan ‚ÄúTruckstop‚ÄĚ (~4,000m)¬†for our first¬†proper meal¬†in days.

One the photos shows us all with red weather-exposed noses, as we had to cover up every part of our faces on the mountain, but the tips of our noses would often get missed. It’s probably also from wiping them constantly, lest our nasal dribble turn into icicles, which they did!

It was not until we arrived at Golmud¬†(Chinese:Ge’ermu) (2,800m) that evening that I felt we were well and truly back on safe ground, and the experience behind us.

After a hot shower, our second for the expedition, we shared some street food and a case of hot beer (people don’t really use fridges in Qinghai, with temperatures averaging -5 to 8 degrees). We drank with mixed emotions, but were ultimately and humbly thankful for the safety of our expedition.

 

ON BEHALF OF THE ADVENTURE4AID¬†TEAM, WE’D REALLY LIKE TO SAY A BIG THANKYOU TO CARL¬†AND PHILIP¬†FOR COORDINATING THE EXPEDITION AND TAKING CARE OF US. I HOPE THE MONEY RAISED WILL GO INTO TWO SOLID MOBILE CLINICS WITH¬†UP-TO-DATE EQUIPMENT & STAFF!

  

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THE CLIMB- Filling in the Gaps (7th October) Summit bid

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for the project details  |  how much we’ve raised so far 

Click on “Blog Entries & Pics” at the top of the website for:

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Day 7- October 7

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Although Sheena’s symptoms of altitude sickness were worsening last night, she woke up this morning feeling a bit better; but Julia, Sheena, and I all had stomach cramps, presumably from the water which boils at a lower temperature than at sea level, making it less effective at killing bacteria.

We were all rugged up, as you can see in the photos-¬†Julia and I¬†¬†“fell in love” with our down jackets-¬†when they went on at Xidatan¬†Truckstop¬†(~4000m), those babies never came off! I will say, in hindsight, that I’m sooo glad we didn’t skimp on sleeping bags & down jackets!

Carl and Philip (our guides & Philip, director of LOVEQTRA) gave us a head-start (from where we made camp at 5,300m, our unofficial Camp 1). They would follow, carrying our climbing boots and crampons (spikes that fit under specialised climbing boots for gripping the ice and snow)….so we headed hopefully upward to the official Camp 1 (C1).

 

When we arrived, we found a man asleep in his sleeping bag (no tent). We assumed he had just attempted the summit and was resting before heading back down. I talked to him in as many languages as I could muster; he was Asian so that narrowed it down a lot. I asked him if he was going down soon, that he shouldn’t be sleeping here at altitude and exposed to the sun. He just waved me off, as if to say leave me alone. He never said anything but I just left him alone after that. Apparently Carl and Phillip tried to talk to him, and walked away with the same result.

I remember being annoyed that Carl and Phillip were taking so long to meet us at C1, as this was our big day, our bid for the summit. I quickly reprimanded myself when I realised they were having difficulty boiling snow for water for our summit bid.

This man had set himself up with rocks all around his sleeping bag. Some of the team thought it was like some sort of ritual, others including myself, thought it was like a wind-break or something.

 

When Carl and Phillip arrived with our climbing boots and crampons, we geared up and were on our way. Carl broke trail and we followed his footsteps, it saves us vital energy that way. Philip was the sweep (the person responsible for making sure no one gets left behind). At parts, the snow was knee-deep, and the view was one in a million. From the official C1 upwards, there’s no more scree [mentioned in Oct 6 update], it’s all snow, soft, powdery snow. I remember thinking it’d be fantastic skiing!

 

At about 4pm we decided that as a team we weren’t going to reach the summit and come back safely while it was light. The wind was also picking up- the weather was starting to turn. My gut sank; I realized my dream for the summit was gone. I was so sure we could do it, when we started out this morning.

We decided to go on to a group of rocks which was about 6,000m according to Philip’s altimeter, and then make the final decision. Carl said it was a shame that he couldn’t put at least one of us on the summit, and that it was safe to take one of us up. No one was jumping for the chance because we all knew our limits, I think.

I, (not the fastest walker by far) said to Carl, if he thought it would be safe, that I would like to try. I felt that I had the most emotional investment in this, and I wanted to give it a shot. When am I likely to have this chance again? The others were agreeable to separate; as we had discussed this back in Sydney.

At the rocks, it was decision time. I asked Frank if he would pray with me because I knew that I would feel a peace for the right decision after that. After the prayer, it became clear to me that turning around was the only option.

We had planned to show our thanks to all our supporters and sponsors by displaying our Supporters’ Banner (with all your signatures) at the summit. At this time, I carefully took it out from my pack. It was confirmation that we’d made the right decision, as by now, the wind was so strong that one slip of the fingers and the banner would have¬†flown away.

We took some photos and headed back down. I think each of us were genuinely proud of what we had achieved. We knew the reason for climbing was to raise funds and the funds had been raised, so there was no reason to risk lives to reach the summit. This is one of the most difficult decisions climbers must make, some even being strong-willed enough to turn around 20 metres before the summit of Everest, the highest mountain in the world.

 

When we reached (the official) C1, we saw a sight which brought about up all different emotions in us. It made me feel sick in the stomach.The man was still lying there in his sleeping bag!¬† I thought that there was a purpose for our turning around at the precise time that we did.¬†My mind went into a “zone”- we knew something was terribly wrong and went straight to do whatever we could to save this man‚Äôs life.

We gave him oxygen, water, hand-warmers, whatever we had.¬† We¬†talked to him but he was¬†unresponsive as though really drunk, unable to control his own body anymore. We knew that the only way we could save him was to get him to a lower altitude. After some oxygen, he rolled over and started snoring, which Carl said was a good sign; but that didn’t last long.

We tried to carry him down, but at that altitude, it was unbelievable that the four of us couldn’t even lift him onto Carl’s shoulders. 

I had heard someone say that there was mobile reception on the summit, so I had my mobile with me. It was a miracle, (a) that there was reception and (b) that my mobile had close to zero battery life, but I could make four distress calls. 

After trying several times to lift him, it became painfully obvious to us that there was nothing we could do for him. We were forced to make that decision that no-one should ever have to make. The team’s safety was at stake too; the sun was already setting, and with that, the sub-zero temperatures (we were told it gets to -20C).

I made one last distress call to confirm that the Qinghai Mountaineering Association (QMA) must send someone up ASAP., as we couldn’t get him down to Base Camp (BC), nor even our tents at 5,300m, as first hoped.

We then solemnly and cautiously headed down the ridge to our C1 in the dark. I remember thinking one slip or wrong footing could send any of us tumbling off the side of the mountain, not having a good chance of rescue till daylight. It took us about 4 hours 45 min to get from 5,600m to 6,000m and only 45 minutes to get down! 

 

The team literally crashed into our tents from exhaustion. All I remember was feeling so humbled and thankful for Frank, who still had the strength to boil water for us, while Carl napped in preparation for another hour down to BC in the dark,¬†to meet any rescue team. We knew¬†Frank was as tired as any of us, but didn‚Äôt even have the energy to help him. That night was the toughest night to get through, emotionally. I know I didn’t get much sleep.

When we were all settled and sleeping, I had a big sob in my sleeping bag, thinking about him on the mountain lying there, while I slept warm in a tent.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† In the end, Carl didn’t go down to BC as he didn’t see any lights there.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

 

In the early hours of the morning, two Tibetans woke us. They were part of the search and rescue team. We presumed they were the closest that could be mobilized at short notice. They had spent two hours with him and unfortunately, couldn’t do anything for him. When they left him, he was still alive.

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