Everest 2011 is over. This was the third climb of the 7 Summits Climb for Alzheimer’s: Memories are Everything. In my normal tradition, I have written a compete trip report. But this one is a bit different.
I wanted to keep my summit in context of the goal thus the report provides a bit of background on my motivation to return to Everest for a fourth time in spite of being 9 years older after my first attempt in 2002.
I also try to describe in more detail than in my dispatches about the actual climbing, conditions and what it was like to actually be climbing the highest slopes of Everest and of course standing on the summit as the sun rose.
It is in PDF format that you download and read at your leisure from this link:
and as always, I welcome your comments back on this post or with an email.
This is an excerpt where I describe standing on the summit:
“I took the final steps to the summit and saw a bench carved out the snow just beneath a collection of prayer flags. I saw Mirjam and Minga and three other climbers already on the summit. They had climbed from the north side and were the first of the season from Tibet. Knowing our time was limited due to the current and impending weather, again I focused on mechanics. I unzipped my down suit and took out my satellite phone. I wanted to call Cathy and post an audio dispatch on my website.
As I spoke with Cathy, my emotional wall collapsed. I could barely get the words out as we shared the summit separated by thousands of miles. She had supported me unconditionally for over 30 major expeditions. We had planned my climbs, shared in the successes and cried together. This was her summit as much as mine.
Another button called a blogging service to record a message for my Blog. I had to enter the 9 digit ID code and took off my mitten. Immediately, I felt my finger tips go from slightly cold to a tingling freeze. But knew what I wanted to say. “I want to dedicate this summit to my mom and to all the Alzheimer’s moms. We love you and miss you.” The emotion was strong. I had more to say but could not go on.
Kami had taken my camera and was clicking pictures as I made my calls. Karma Rita pulled several banners out of my pack, including Flat Stanley given to me from a school in Florida. I tried to hold them steady in the high winds. With the tasks completed, my shoulders slumped as I put my elbows on my knees and my head in my hands. My down hood covered my face. I sobbed silently, celebrating the summit and grieving my mom. I thought about my 7 Summits project, all the supporters, all the followers; all the people who believed in me. The feelings were overwhelming.
Kami and Karma Rita stood by quietly giving me room. The wind gusted and I started to get cold. Time to leave. I stood up and looked from top of the world for the first time. I stood silent and still. I pulled my goggles up to have a clear view. The eastern horizon was now a long line of soft golden light. The sun was revealing the nearby summits, mountain valleys and glaciers. I looked north into Tibet, west and south to Nepal. The summits had the spotlight of the morning sun casting shadows to the west. There were no higher mountains, no higher spots on earth. I was a tiny spec, it was humbling.”
OK, there are more climbs to come. Next up is the climb of the highest peak in North America, Denali aka Mt. McKinely in Alaska. I will be posting regular dispatches during the climb so you can follow along just like on Everest. This will be my third attempt (yes, I know ) so there are many stories to tell and memories to share. I will be climbing this one with Mountain Trip.
But always remember that this is about the cause: to raise awareness and $1M for Alzheimer’s research. You can once again pledge a penny for every foot I climb or $131 for Denali. Use this link to donate.
Memories are Everything