Monthly Archives: December 2011

Off to Argentina and Chilie

Finally the time has come for me to set off for South America – the only continent (other than Antartica) which I haven’t set foot on. It will be an arduous flight journey to Medoza (the city which we will be setting off to Acongacua from). I will be travelling in Malaysian airlines. SIN –> KL –> Cape Town (transit) –> Buenos Ares (transit) –> Mendazo (domestic flight). Altogether this journey from Singapore to Mendoza will take me 33.5 H (25.5 H flying and 8H in transit). Never travelled so extensively before in 1 duration Hopefully I don’t develop blisters on my butt from this.

Training unfortunately this time had to take a stand still during the month of Dec. 1stly, I was working too much to have time to train. 2ndly, there was too much admin stuff to sort out with regards to Everest preparations as well as the medical clinic in Phortse and fund raising. 3rdly, updating my blog and trying to sort out my emails took massive amts of time together with my old computer’s mother board getting blown up. 4thly, I had no one to motivate me to train and accompany me for training. 5thly, I had to meet to meet up with my long lost friends whom I hadn’t met in 6 months. 6thly, whatever reasons you can think of that I might use. I hope that the 1 week intensive training for marathons and the occasional trainings here and there will pull me through the 1st, 2nd and 3rd highest peak in South America. I am putting my hopes most on the previous 3 acclimatisation climbs to Mustagh, Cho Oyu and Ama Dablam to back me up this time on high altitude.

It has been one heck of a journey so far with so many ups and downs and sleepless nights. I think I’m falling sick as well. 2 weddings back to back 2 days before I fly does help much either. I hope everything turns out for the best in the end.

Let me give you a brief introduction on the mountains that I hope to be climbing.

PEAK #1: Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the Americas at 6,962 m. It is located in the Andes mountain range, in the Argentine province of Mendoza and it lies 112 km west by north of its capital, the city of Mendoza. The summit is also located about 5 km from San Juan Province and 15 km from the international border with Chile. Aconcagua is the highest peak in both the Western and Southern Hemispheres. It is one of the Seven Summits.

PEAK #2: Nevado Ojos del Salado is a massive stratovolcano in the Andes on the Argentina-Chile border and the highest volcano in the world at 6,891 m. It is also the second highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere and the highest in Chile. It is located about 600 km north of Aconcagua.

PEAK #3: Monte Pissis is an extinct volcano in La Rioja Province, Argentina. The mountain is the third-highest in the Western Hemisphere, and is located about 550 km north of Aconcagua. Its elevation is 6,793 m

I have updated my blog on the publications segment. You can have the latest info on the media coverage on me and my climbs at or you could just click on the tab above which says Publications/ Media.

I don’t know the internet connectivity situation over in South America when I’m climbing. Thus I will try my best to update posts now and then. Pls be patient and do continue to follow the blog. Thanks a lot ppl!!

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Posted by on December 30, 2011 in Uncategorized


Preperations for Aconcagua

It was been almost a month since I touched down in Singapore from my last trip from Ama Dablam but the time seems to have flown by so fast. When I meet many people who haven’t seen me for a long time, they tell me that I should cherish all the free time that I have during this one year off. In fact, they don’t know that I have been more busy during this one year break than during my busiest of days when I was a house officer in TTSH. Planning for Everest, planning for the medical clinic in Phortse, training for my climbs, looking for sponsorship, working part time to earn enough money to support myself, trying to squeeze in a little bit more time for research projects and last but most importantly trying to keep myself awake during the precious moments I get to spend with family and loved ones. Sometimes I wonder that in intellectual, monetary and personal pursuits, if people actually neglect spending time with what’s most important in their lives. Maybe they get too caught up with the big things in life to provide for their loved ones when in fact they don’t realise that all they need to give them is the simplest of things to keep them happy. If only people dedicate a fraction of their time and effort to these simpler things without looking far wide and if they just concentrated on what’s under their noses, I think the they’ll be lots more love and happiness in the world. I feel that I take the freedom and love my family shines on me for granted at times. They have been so understanding and supportive of this project even though it involves me risking my life and spending tonnes of time away from home. I truly appreciate them.

Here has come another moment where I will have to part with them for another month or so. I’ve cleared up as many days possible with work, and the weddings (they’re so many this year!!) and the rest of the preps to spend time with them. I will be leaving on the 31st dec and returning on the 1st of Feb. Since I will be flying during new year’s eve, I’ll get to celebrate numerous new year’s as I travel across the time zones. Interesting though eh?

The initial plan was to do the 1st 2nd and 3rd highest mountain in South America. Aconcagua, Ojos del Salado and Pissis but I think the 3rd highest might have to be skipped. Malaysian airlines announced last week that they will be ceasing all their flights to Argentina with effect from 1st Feb. Thus the flight that I booked with them with a return date to SIN on the 3rd of Feb will no longer exist. Since it takes 3 days to fly across the world, I had to change the dates of the flight such that I depart on the 29th from Bunos Ares. So, if Acon goes well and we don’t use our spare days on the mountain, Pissis will still be possible. Else, we’ll have to be contented with the 1st and 2nd highest and spend some quality R&R time in Buenos Ares before we fly back. Whichever the case, I’ll be happy.

My diarrhea has still been continuing for 2 months since the 1st of Nov when I set foot on AD base camp. WHY!??? I’m finishing another course of my anti worm medications and still it hasn’t resolved!!! Maybe I’m looking under the wrong stones. Whatever the case, I sure hope that the Argentinian air and food will calm my insides a little and this dreadful condition doesn’t continue while I’m on the mountain. Climbers are required to collect all their stools in a bag and this will be weighed at the end of the expedition to make sure that people don’t poo around the whole place. I really hope the bag doesn’t leak when I’m having my runs up there. I’m going to be left much more miserable than just having to run to the toilet every hour if that happens.

There I was complaining about having no shoes when I saw a man with no feet. This quote will have to morph to; There I was complaining about my diarrhea when I saw another guy’s bag leaking.

I’ll send a last update before I fly off to my last series of preparatory climbs to South America. Thanks everyone for all the support so far!

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Posted by on December 24, 2011 in Uncategorized


Post Ama Dablam, Back at Home

It has been 2 weeks since I landed in Singapore from our successful expedition to AD but I’m still reminiscing the sweet moments of our climb. It was one heck of an experience that I’ll never forget. Some great stories to tell the grandchildren in the many years to come.

I finally managed to upload all my photos and videos of the AD climb. Took some time compiling everything and adding captions to all the photos, but I’m glad to say that they’re out! Below are some selected photos that made an impression on me.

The day after coming back to Singapore, I was hitting the tracks running 21km. I ran every other day hitting a max of 30km 4 days before running the full standard chartered marathon on the 4th of Dec. Me and my brilliant idea for signing up. Had major abrasions on both my feet (due to my new shoes), between my inner thighs and under my arm. Maybe the dry cold air on the mountains had changed the composition of my skin. I never used to get this kind of bad abrasions while I was at home training.

My diarrhoea persisted even after I came back home. I tried another course of a different antibiotic, Metronidazole (used for parasitic infections) and it seemed to have cleared up a little. But it seems to be coming back again. I really don’t know what bugs are inside me! If this is going to continue for another week, I’m going to the AnE to send in a stool sample to see what the heck is wrong.

After I recover from all my blisters, I should start training full time again till the end of the month. I will be flying off to Argentina on the 31st of Dec for Aconcagua, Ojos del Salado and Piesses (the 1st, 2nd and ?3rd highest mountain in south America). Will update the blog now and then throughout Dec. Wishing you a Merry Xmas to all those reading this.

The blisters that developed on the tips of my fingers after 2 weeks of no sensation after the climb due to the extreme cold. Luckily I can feel now.

Final farewell to AD from BC after the climb

Top of the world!! Not the summit. Just enroute to C3. There were so many secitons like this. Verticle drop off's on either side.

The photo that inspired me to climb! C2! Proudly taken by myself this time!!!

The Singapore flag standing proud on the summit!

The complicated combination of ropes all along the way. Which one should i choose? Inny Minny MiniMo.. and there your life shall suspend or cease upon your choice.

Just after the yellow tower and just before camp2. Up and down we go all the way.

The 1st successful Singaporean team to reach the summit of AD. Photo taken on C3.

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Posted by on December 8, 2011 in Uncategorized