Some of my favourite expedition memories are from the lowest points. Here is a list written with the rosy glow of hindsight:
- Sleeping bolt upright on a 9-inch platform cut into a 45-degree snow slope at 5,000m in the Tian Shan (pictured)
- The roar of an encroaching sheet of rain whilst camped in a non-waterproof tent on a flood plain on the Musandam Peninsula
- Falling waist deep into a crevasse unroped in the French Alps
- Sat defeated on the curb at Ladbroke Grove with only 6 miles remaining of a 200 mile running challenge without the will to take another step
- Spending several cold, futile hours trying to hitch-hike outside Heathrow only to end up sleeping in a bush outside a kid’s playground having given up
- Dangling from a rope attached to my friend Thom several feet above me on steep ice with several hundred feet’s drop beneath me
- Willing my bike at 4mph to the nearest town inside the Norwegian Arctic Circle with a fever (then having my stove conk out and my shoes stolen)
- Waking up with a searing pain in my eyes having stupidly gone sans sunglasses on a Bolivian glacier
- Returning from a climb to the car where I expected my friends to be and realising that their absence meant they were stuck out on a ledge overnight with no camping gear
- Desperate for water 60 miles into a 90 mile cycle loop of Masirah Island in the Omani heat on Christmas Day (then losing our tent)
- Pedalling through Chester town centre at midnight on a Friday in high-vis cycling gear and waterproofs after a 110-mile day
- Sawing in half a boiled sweet as the only remaining sustenance on the final day of a five day trek into the Kyrgyz mountains
- Discovering only wreckage where a base camp was supposed to be, having just sawn in half our only remaining edible item, five days’ walk from the nearest person
OK, so that’s a few more than ten and four of them all come from the same trip.
What are your expedition lows?