With just four days to go before we fly, I've been in stores pretty much every day. We started packing three weeks ago, which seemed excessive at the time and seems pretty reasonable now. We've had several late night sessions where we've learnt how to fold wellies, compress sleeping bags and pad Daren drums, and things are coming together well.

Each person can take one bag of up to 23 kg. As these bags need to be useful on the mountain, everyone is bringing a rucksack rather than a wheely travel case. This reduces the volume a little bit, but we've managed to fit a complete caving kit, SRT equipment, sleeping bag and mat into every bag, and then topped it up with first aid kits, chisels, tents, crowbars, walkie talkies, GPS units, satellite phones, drills, bolts, drill bits, battery chargers, stoves, parachute cord....the list goes on!

In some cases, we were quite brutal with what we could take - here we are trimming a mat down to size for Cecilia!

We're fortunate that our contact in New Zealand, Kieran McKay has generously agreed to lend us many items, such as big stoves, pots, pans and even ropes, all of which are heavy and bulky. We just found out we have some additional funding (more on that when it's confirmed) so we're going to take one extra bag with 200m of 9mm diameter rope, as well as lots of extra goodies we otherwise might not have been able to carry, like a tripod, a powerful little stove and two quadcopters.


We've also been working out what food to bring up the mountain. We've put together an online shop with a grocery store in NZ to get an idea of the price and weight. We're current under our budget of 600 GBP (1200 NZD) for food for eight people for eighteen days, with such interesting line items as 18 kg of peanuts and 17 kg of canned beans! Fortunately we're flying all of this up the mountain by helicopter, because carrying it in would be quite difficult.

Food is going to be quite simple: porridge with dried fruit and jam for breakfast, peanuts, dried fruit and cheese for lunch in the cave, or wraps with cheese, peanut butter and mackerel in base camp (I don't know about you, but I'd rather be in the cave!) and then lentil and bean slop atop carbohydrates (rice, cous cos, smash or pasta) for dinner. Delicious.

Jack Hare