Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Everest 1953

As many will know, today (29th May 2013) is the 60th anniversary of the very first ascent of Everest by John Hunt’s expedition in 1953. Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first people in history to summit the world’s highest mountain and in doing so, they rightly became famous around the globe.

And so to celebrate the 60th Anniversary, I am giving my own book Dare to Dream away free of charge on Amazon. I would encourage you to download it and give it a try, and then share it with everyone you know who would like a good book to read for free!

Then, after you’ve finished reading, I would love you to write your own review on the Amazon site to describe what you thought of the book, and to help me jump above One Direction’s similarly titled book!

It has taken almost a year to write, so I hope you enjoy it:

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Book Launch

Some of the people who read this blog or follow any of my climbing or sporting exploits may well know that over the past year, I have slaved away writing a book inspired by some of my climbs in the Himalayas including that of Everest. As much as I wished to only live many of the most agonising parts of expedition life once, I decided to live through them a second time whilst I put pen to paper and began to formulate my manuscript, entitled ‘Dare to Dream’.
I had decided even prior to climbing Everest that I would write a book, but at that point, I wasn’t sure what I would be writing for. Initially and for most of the way through writing, right up until the first edit had been read through in fact, the book was merely intended as my own diary of events on the mountains. I thought that by writing down everything whilst I still had a relatively good memory of events which unfolded, I would be able to look back in years to come at what was running through my young mind whilst doing the splits over a crevasse at the summit of Baruntse for instance.
Apparently though, the book was a bit better than that, mainly I think because it was written without any specific audience in mind, and so on the advice of a few, and perhaps in the hope that someone else might find what I have written somewhere in between moderately interesting and emotionally gripping, I have decided to publish my work. Initially the book will be available as an ebook only, which includes all current e-formats such as mobi files for the kindle and also a pdf for those without ebook readers, which you can read from the computer or print off if you have a spare ream of paper and a few ink cartridges going spare (you could always print it off in your office as work related research). And so this is mainly what I have been doing since my last trip to the Himalayas, my own way of wrapping up the journey to Everest.
Without giving too much away or spoiling the gripping cliffhanger ending where you are left wondering whether I survived to tell the tale (yes it really is that gripping), I thought I would share the books synopsis so you can make your own judgement as to whether this is the book for you.
Dare to Dream is, without sounding too vain, the account of me, Matthew Dieumegard-Thornton, and my journey to the top of the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest, in May 2012. The book however is more than just a self biography. Dare to Dream is a fusion of adventure, endeavour and some Bill Bryson style travel writing in an effort to explain just what is needed to climb Everest. I think this book has something for everyone; if you want to know of some of the harrowing events of the Everest 2012 season, or if you are fascinated with Lincolnshire, my home county and the birth place of Abi Titmuss, you won’t be disappointed. Undoubtedly the main point of the book is to document the ascent  of Everest which was world record breaking, with the three members of the expedition, including myself, becoming the youngest ever team to successfully summit and descend the mountain. The climb was acknowledged by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II & Sir Ranulph Fiennes and the story reached an estimated 100 million people worldwide, including 10 from Djibouti.
The book however begins in a different fashion, describing the longer journey to the mountain, and the decisions that led me to that point. The book focuses firstly upon the humorous aspects my home town in Lincolnshire, a notoriously flat county, and my younger life as nationally ranked squash player with always too much to lose. This lifestyle is then flipped upside down by a fateful stint in the French Alps where my love of the mountains grew, and eventually saw me planning a complex route to the top of the world. Three major expeditions then unfold, firstly in the little known Kyrgyzstan, secondly in Nepal to a remote range of mountains, and finally to Everest itself, with each period of time in between expeditions revealing a new set of challenges, both physically and emotionally, to overcome.
Over the course of the expeditions, there moments that will make you laugh, moments that will make you cry, and many moments where you’ll be aghast, as I aim to bring Everest and all its dangers to the chair. No other account has documented the successes and tragedy on the south side of Everest during the 2012 season, and whilst these events are described and explained, many personal challenges and dangers are also brought to life, such as the constant danger to life and sanity from the constant high altitude, the hidden dangers of the bottomless crevassed underworld, and the obvious dangers brought by multiple avalanches, all of which came too close.
The book finally concludes with an ending, as most books do, but this time with the huge physical and emotional stresses built up during such a journey, and the unique perspective that the climb has given a young 22 year old man.
So there you have it, ‘Dare to Dream’. Of course you are now probably thinking where can I purchase this work of art, but before I share any links to my work, I would like to be completely transparent and share with you some reviews from some of the most respected publications in the world today. Reviews often speak volumes about the piece of work they have reviewed, and I hope you are able to come to a favourable descision after reading the following honest words.
The Mail on Tuesday
“A real page turner; the pages are 1.5% lighter, so light they almost turn themselves.”

The Thursday Times
“We’ve seen all the words before, but never in this order.”

The Dependant
“Avid readers of books will love this modern twist on ‘the’ book, still with just as many words waiting to be read…”

The Kiribati Post
“The author clearly has some grasp of the English language; if only he could speak Gilbertese this book would be of great use to our tiny nation.”

News of the Sun
“The Harry Potter series is a must read, timeless classic collection of books which marked a historic point in British literature. This is also good.”

The Parent
“This book will go down in history as one of the many books written in 2013.”

The Daily Moon
“A great read. Keep your receipt.”

The Weekly Mail
“Like the best novels ever written this book has a front cover, a back cover, and many words of varying lengths and meanings in between. This is a book in the truest sense of the word.”

The Puffington Host
“This is a book.”

Thank you for reading this blog about my book, and for those still wanting the next best thing not from Waterstones, you can find all the information you need either on Amazon for Kindle and for all e-book formats (a free app is available from Amazon to read on all computerised devices by following the 'buy' link) here: Dare to Dream

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

How To Climb Mount Everest

So, you want to climb Mount Everest. Chomolungma or Sagarmatha as they say in Tibet and Nepal. Standing at 8,848m above sea level, Mount Everest is the highest mountain on earth and hence it is on the to-do list of many high altitude climbers including those aiming for the seven summits or even the 14 eight-thousanders, but as with any obstacle this massive, the question of how to climb it is a tough one to answer and requires more than a simple knowledge of good footwork.

To answer this question, I will put myself back into my own shoes just over 2 years ago in January 2011. At that point, my plan to climb Everest was well underway, but I lacked almost every necessity required to make the climb. I had no high altitude climbing experience, I didn’t have any real cold weather kit, I had never been to Scotland – the hallowed training ground for Everest (despite having been to Australia and living only 6 hours away from Edinburgh), I didn’t really have any money, and worst of all, I didn’t have a clue.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Mind Yer Fud

Ama Dablam from Tengboche
Mind yer fud is Scottish for “mind your . . .” but more on that later.
Over the past few months, I have been trying to answer quite a tricky question which has been essential in moving on from Everest. It is simply, “What do you do after you have achieved your dream?”
It is such a hard question to answer since for so long climbing Everest has been my goal, and everything I have done has therefore been orientated towards making the dream a reality. But in May 2012, something amazing happened when I accidently stumbled to the top of the world and achieved my wildest dream, a dream which has since left me in a state of limbo.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Manaslu Avalanche 2012 - For Dawa

Many people will have hard about the avalanche on Manaslu which occurred on the 23rd September 2012 which was widely reported by the media:

Avalanches occur regularly in the mountains and are a way of life and part of the ongoing change to the faces of all snow covered peaks.

People who have previously read my blog may remember Dawa Sherpa. He was with me when I summited Mera Peak, and was beside me all the way on my summit of Baruntse a few weeks later where he subsequently rescued me from a crevasse just below the summit. I learnt only yesterday that the avalanche which occurred on Manaslu also took the life of Dawa Sherpa, almost a year since we reached the summit of Baruntse together. It is a sickening piece of news and an utterly tragic loss for our whole expedition and the Sherpa community. Dawa's smile was infectious, and ultimately he was a fantastic Sherpa. May he rest in peace.

Dawa Sherpa, Me and Sonam Sherpa.
After hearing about the tragic loss of Dawa Sherpa, I read an extract from a blog which I thought must be shared. It was written by Greg Hill who was on the mountain and witnessed the destruction of the avalanche first hand. It is a chilling piece to read, and a sobering reminder of how fragile life can be. His extract follows:

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Mount Everest 2012 Success

Dugla Pass
After a rather long gap between the last blog post, and an extended rest following the completion of the Yell Diamond Jubilee Everest 2012 Expedition, I thought it the right time to write a quick blog on the expedition, and what is to follow on from here.