A Mindful Choice

Another film filmed by Scott recently is  A Mindful Choice.

The connection is Castle Hill Village where we live in New Zealand.  Our neighbours Hop and Sally practice a simple, peaceful style of meditation called Ascension.  An example of the mindset is described in a newsletter received today;

“This week – when you Ascend, don’t Ascend for any reason at all. Don’t do it to get anything, at all. Don’t do it to get rid of thoughts, don’t do it for anything. Not even for peace, not even for rest. Just do it, with wide open innocence, without expectations.
 Show up for sure – keep regularly practicing – but without any insistences, without looking for anything.
 Then you can completely let go and receive what you need to receive, not what you think you want to get.”
The mission of ascension is to create peace – a method to create a peace that is bigger than your problem.  The mission of Hop and Sally is to spread peace and spearheading this film that takes us into Mexican prisons, to Cuban elite ballet schools, and to the West Coast of New Zealand, was a way to scatter peace.
It’s a beautiful film.

“Stunning cinematography combined with the power of people sharing from a place of profound peace delivers a palpable and moving experience”.

“A convincing portrayal of how inner peace is possible for all.” Oaxaca Film Festival

View trailer here


Cave Connection

A few years ago Scott filmed the Cave Connection for Red Bull Media.  He joined notorious caver, Kieran MacKay and crew to find a link between two cave systems in New Zealand – the Nettlebed system and Stormy Pots.  It was spring.  The weather on the surface was all over the show.  I dropped Scott off to meet Kieran for a reconnaisance and you could tell Kieran was immediately stoked to see that Scott is not a big guy. Meaning he could squeeze though the tight spots.

The film was really popular and won awards at various film festivals.  What gets me is that Scott had to do all the squeezes and underwater sections right along there with the caving team.  He’d filmed in caves before but he’s not exactly a regular cave explorer.  Watching this film gives me the creeps.  I’d thought that it was bad enough to contemplate the sleeping in 40 year old sleeping bags stored permanently underground; Or that bedtime consisted simply of turning out the light and setting the alarm to wake you into the same scene of absolute darkness 6-8 hours later.  But no, the film takes you into the pure grovelliness of cave exploration.  As Mick Hopkinson, early NZ “pot-holer” explains in his Manchurian accent:  “It’s a dirty, cold sport – with no heroes”.

Here’s a link:  https://www.redbullmediahouse.com/content/movingimages/tv-documentaries.html



Summit of Everest

Scott’s been to Everest in 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015 and now in 2017.  He’s seen his share of tragedy – the awful icefall collapse that killed 16 Sherpas in 2014 and the terrible earthquake in 2015.  After summiting for the first time in 2010, he came close in 2013 (giving up his bid to provide his client with extra oxygen) and now in 2017, he got to see the top of the planet again.

It was exactly a week ago – Saturday May 27 Nepal time that the Pender team stepped to the top.  It was a long trip – the weather was capricious this year and there were limited summit days.  May 27 was the final day of the brief Everest season.

Paul, Mike (guide), Scott and six Sherpas:   Sange Dorjee, Nima Nuru, Purba Choter (Ang Jangbu), Mingmar Tenji, Passang Wongchu and Pemba Chote, left Camp 4 at the South Col at 8pm on the 26th for an all-nighter to the top.  They made fairly good progress on a mostly quiet climbing day and arrived at the summit at dawn on the 27th.  Flurries of snow swirled – When I get the picture up, you’ll see that Scottie’s eye lashes look frosty.  It’s not cozy.

We were thrilled to hear they had finally made the top.  From there, Scott can come home.  It really feels like downhill.  No time was lost and Scott skipped home in 5 days.  They helicoptered to Kathmandu from Basecamp – hence the quick return. We are happy to have him back after two months and 4 days!


Summit bid this week

Scott is currently at Camp 2 fending off what appears to be flu.  He and Paul and guide, Mike went down to Namche Bazaar for 5 days to rest but Scott seems to have caught a bug there.  With great difficulty no doubt, the bug is being transported upon high.  Not fun or easy at 6500 metres.  The AC doc is keeping tabs on him and he’s taking everything to beat it back.

The main AC team including our good friend Suze Kelly, summited yesterday. Yay for Suze!  Scott and team are looking for a summit bid this coming Thursday or Friday (May 25-26).  Fingers crossed.  Send healing and easy breathing vibes Scott’s way….

2nd round to altitude

Thanks for following Scott’s blog.  They did their first acclimatization round and tagged the bottom of the Lhotse face (6850m) then returned to EBC after 6 days up high.  Scott tweaked his knee on the way back down but it’s all taped up and has continued to improve since being back at base camp.  After that first round of acclimatizing, it’s important to return to recuperate.  Many have coughs and cold which really play havoc on the breathing up high.

The Pender team (Scott’s) set off at 1am Nepal time on the 28th to head back up for the second round of acclimatizing.  They’ll be hoping to get to camp 3 on the Lhotse face and will spend several nights at camp 2.  Then they’ll return to rest up and wait for the weather for their summit bid.  The key factor is letting the jet stream winds die down.  This happens only for the first two weeks of May usually.  The team is hoping for a May 12 summit bid.

In all AC posts and all conversations with Scottie, Blizzard the dog is a key feature.  He or she followed the team up to EBC and s/he’s followed them way up into the Icefall.  The entire team is besotted and Suze (AC manager) wants to take the dog home apparently.  The team next door is trying to steal Blizzard.  The latest is that Blizzard has fleas so they are trying to get a flea collar brought from Kathmandu.  Dogs in Nepal are not usually pets.  This is a feral opportunist canine!  But a most beloved one.  She did a runner for one night and the crew were devastated.  Obviously she missed her dinner so is now back.

Stay tuned for updates on the adventures of the high alpine dog and her followers.

Here’s a pic copied from the AC dispatch.  Classic – Scott is holding Blizzard’s paw.  He’s a dog lover from way back….




Scott has arrived in basecamp (EBC) and has pimped out his tent for the long haul. Anyone who’s hung out with him knows he’s a master organizer! He’ll be based at EBC for the next month at least.  All is going well – they crossed Chukung Ri (a pass) then climbed Lobuche East (20075 ft / 6119 m) to hasten their acclimatization without going through the dangerous Khumbu Icefall too many times.

The Puja took place today (or yesterday depending on who is reading this and where).  Thus blessings are completed and the process of climbing Mt Everest will begin in the next few days.  First:  an acclimatization round to Camp 2 or Camp 3, all going well.  He’ll be on the mountain for about a week then they will return to EBC for a rest before doing at least one other acclimatization round.  The purpose of all this upping and downing is to allow the blood to adapt to the thin air way up in the jet stream parts of our atmosphere.  As an example – if you or I went to the summit of Mt Everest (say we parachuted out of a jet), we’d be dead of asphyxia within 5 minutes.  Hence the need for a gradual ascent.  Fitness doesn’t really play into it much – although the better shape you are, the better your coping mechanisms.

Here are some images from the Puja:



Scott Everest 2017

He’s gone back!  Again working for our good friends at Adventure Consultants.  You can follow their blog at: www.adventureconsultants.com

Scott is with a private client and they are moving ahead of the rest of the AC team. You can follow his group’s instagram at:  Eaglecresteverest

Today – April 2 – he is currently in Kumjung/Namche Bazaar on their way to acclimatize by climbing Lobuche East.  He’s been a little sick but is sounding better and is in good spirits.  Scott is once again assisted by his assistant camera, Mingma.  Mingma and Scott have worked together since working with Karina in 2013.

They arrive in Base Camp for a fundraising concert by DJ Paul Oakenfold at the camp of HimEX.  Go figure!


I’ll be in touch with more details.  Fingers crossed for a smooth season!