It has been four weeks since I became sick on Denali. A lot has happened since then. This dispatch is to update everyone on my status and plans as I continue the Road Back to Mt. Everest.
Climbing has many similarities with so many other difficult endeavors in that when something goes wrong, you must take a philosophical approach. I have never been a medical researcher but I can imagine that after you work on a theory for a long time and it does not prove out, you take a step back – consider what might have gone wrong, what you learned and than apply those lessons to the next project without pause.
I am not dwelling on what happened on Denali, I am learning from it. Since returning I have visited several specialists and have more planned in August. Here is the latest:
The top theory at the moment is that the blood flow gets cut off to my stomach in periods of extreme stress causing me to react with nausea and “perceived” diarrhea. The only problem with this theory and Denali was that I was not under high stress at that moment.
I went to the first of three appointments at Colorado State University last week. The first was to measure pulmonary capacity plus get a base line EKG and measure body fat. I go this Friday for a treadmill stress test and VO2 Max measurement – should be fun. Then the following week for the wrap-up.
All in all I feel good that I am at least eliminating a lot of potential problems and in the end it may come down to doing a better job of managing my stress (work) load, hydration and nutrition at high altitudes.
I have now climbed six 14ers since returning from Denali for over 50,000 foot gain and have felt great on each one. For example, I climbed Holy Cross this past Sunday – 6 hour round trip for 12 miles plus 6,000 foot altitude gain. I was pleased for being an old man! Ha! If you are interested, please visit these pages for a summary of each climb: Long Peak Keyhole, Longs Peak Loft route (twice), Mts Harvard and Columbia and Holy Cross.
This summer has been absolutely perfect in Colorado, I have many pictures of the climbs but here are few of my favorite shots:
Elk on Longs Peak about 12,500′
A hungry marmot on the summit of Longs Peak – 14,256′
Wildflowers on Mt. Harvard – 13,500′
A mother goat and her kid on the summit of Quandary Peak – 14,200′
Also, please take a moment to see a short video of a harrowing experience on the summit of Longs Peak! Parents, please be warned not to show this to your children.
I leave for Tibet on August 30th. All the plans are coming together and I am getting very excited about this climb. Shisha Pangma is the 14th highest mountain in the world at 26,335 feet. I will post one more dispatch before leaving with more information about this climb and the results of all my tests.
Finally, I am very grateful that the donations continue to come in for Memories are Everything via the Cure Alzheimers Fund. We have a good start but are a long, long way from $100,000. My deep and personal thanks to those who have donated thus far. Thank you.
OK, that’s it and I will keep you informed as I continue this journey. It is a long time until Everest and it is also tomorrow. Every day counts. I have had a rough start but I am not about to give up. Any journey worth traveling will have some bumps. And this journey is worth every bump.
Remember: Memories are Everything.