After 6 months of training and preparation, I leave today for K2. I feel as prepared as I ever have for a serious climb but I know K2 will test me both physically and mentally more than any other mountain I have attempted.
I have researched the route, understand the issues and have my mind 100% prepared to do my . But there will be surprises, and I’m ready to deal with those as well.
The build up to my departure has been exciting but now is the time to double down. As I climb, I am asking your help to support the cause. Take advantage of what I’m doing to talk about Alzheimer’s, to ask for donations – please use me!
What we are doing is extremely unique in the world of fund raising, and mountaineering. K2 is rarely climbed by people like me, and when it is climbed it is the domain of professional climbers trying to make their mark in the climbing world – not for a cause.
Yes, I want to summit K2 and will do everything I can to meet that objective safely but this is about the cause, not the climb.
I wanted to prepare myself in three areas: physically, mentally and emotionally with an overall objective of being as self sufficient on the mountain as I possibly can be.
My physical training has exceeded anything I’ve done for previous climbs. Since January 1, 2014, I have been on 58 outings ranging from 4 hour hikes to 16 hour technical climbs. I summited 15 of my Colorado 14,000 foot mountains, many in difficult winter conditions. I averaged about three outing each week carrying a 20 to 30 pound pack each time.
On each outing, I visualized myself on K2, knowing the real climb would make whatever I was doing at that moment look tame. Often climbing in the dark, or in strong winds or deep snow, I would embrace each obstacle as an opportunity to focus my mind on a positive outcome.
Back home, I often thought deeply about my goal, my purpose, my mom and the million of people impacted by Alzheimer’s. It gave me strength. I gave myself permission to feel whatever came to me in the moment, the challenges of life, the victories, the shortfalls; to accept that there are many life events outside of my control, all I can do is manage my reaction. It will be the same on K2.
Many of you are following me for the climb, and I genuinely appreciate your support. Others follow me to support the cause, and you know how I feel about you.
Whatever your reason, I hope you learn about Alzheimer’s – that there is no ment, the impact on families and caregivers often goes unnoticed by others, research is severely underfunded, that Alzheimer’s is fatal.
One in four who summit K2 die, thus there is a statistical chance I will not make it. But if I get Alzheimer’s, there is a 100% chance I will die from it never remembering I attempted K2.
While I climb, I hope you consider a donation to one of the non-profits. I mean this sincerely, any amount that is meaningful to you is meaningful to me – $5, $50, $500 or more – every cent goes to the cause.
Yes, 100% of your donation goes to fund solutions and support around Alzheimer’s – nothing ever to me or to the overhead of these two non-profits: UsAgainstAlzheimer’s and Cure Alzheimer’s Fund.
I will be blogging to this site frequently during the climb. I’ll try to put links on Facebook and Twitter but the content will be at this link.
I will post my thoughts, talk about the experience, the climb and post pictures and videos to bring you into my world. And in every post, I will ask for donations – not to be a pest but to remind every reader, new or old, that this is about the cause, not the climb.
Studies have shown people need to be asked 18 times before they give – so if I have asked you already 18 times, it’s time; if not please keep count and have your credit card ready 🙂 But in all seriousness, I need you to lead by making a donation today, not tomorrow, it will encourage others to join the fight. Please be a leader.
Let me close with these thoughts …
I’ll never forget the day my mom didn’t recognize me due to Alzheimer’s disease, it changed my life forever. It provided me a new life purpose of advocacy using my mountain climbing passion as the vehicle. To that end, I am pleased to have reached millions around the world with a message of hope, need and urgency.
Every time I left home for a new climb, I accepted the risks knowing the benefits to the cause were larger than one individual. However by climbing the earth’s largest mountains, I knew we could reach people who otherwise would never learn about Alzheimer’s perhaps until it was too late. Also we could raise money and make a difference that honored my mom, aunts and millions around the world impacted by this disease.
My sincere desire has always been to be remembered more for doing everything I could to find a cure for Alzheimer’s and improve the support for caregivers than as a mountain climber. Please give generously, help me help you and most importantly help the next generation never see another life lost to Alzheimer’s disease.
Memories are Everything