Late February is an awkward time for aspiring Everest climbers. It is too late to make serious advancements in physical training and too early to eat what you want assuming you will lose weight during the climb. Making serious gear changes is not advised nor is changing guide services. But there is still work to do!
As we prepare for the spring, Alex Txikon‘s is back at Nepal Base Camp still hoping to get his winter summit, without Os, before March 20 – the end of winter. He was stopped once by brutal winds and extreme cold but is going to try again even though the weather forecast are not favorable. I am pulling for him to squeeze thru a narrow window of low winds. He has the strength and skills to do it.
A Month to Go
By now each climber has selected their guide or logistics service but it always pays to have a live conversation to review plans, dates and most importantly, expectations. Speak directly with the lead guide if possible, not a company owner who will not be there. Also if you can get the emails of other team members, it is good to make contact in order to scope out your team.
Team dynamics is crucial to a positive experience on any expedition. You can count on the fact that you will not get along with everyone on your team, regardless of the size, so getting to know each person as soon as possible will accelerate the bonding process.
By now you should have completed these step:
One Year Out
- Get a complete physical
- Commit to your “Getting into EverestShape” plan
- Complete Guide Selection
- Develop communications/blogging plan
Six Months Out
- Complete all gear purchases
- Use same gear for training you will on Everest and trek to base camp
- Test glove/mitten system so that you can put on/off crampons and manipulate carabiners without exposing skin
- Make airline reservations to lock in lowest fares
- Push your physical training hard, especially stamina and endurance
- Learn what snacks work for you and that you like
- Complete arrangements at work and home
With most people leaving home around mid March, these steps are still open:
Three Months Out
- Obtain final Doctor clearance
- Obtain rescue, evacuation and medical insurance
- Get needed immunization shots
- Get medicine
- Test blogging tools
- Push your mental toughness training
One Month Out
- Review gear list
- Buy snacks
- Buy ebooks or reading material
- Buy summit socks
- Keep training
- Do not gain a lot of weight. Go in at your ideal weight
- Do not get hurt or sick
The last point is key – don’t get hurt! While it may be tempting to add extra weight to the bar when doing curls, or push that long run an extra mile – don’t. You are at diminishing returns.
Your body is about as good as it’s going to be. Twisting an ankle or pulling a muscle that takes six weeks to heal will sabotage your entire climb, plus undermine your confidence. Keep working out but move into maintenance mode where you tone, not build.
Don’t be antisocial but avoid those people with colds or the flu. Replace handshakes with fist bumps and let Purill be your friend! Do not go to Nepal already sick!
You are what you Eat!
Watch what you eat, again this is not the time to get sloppy. Watch your balance of carbs, proteins and fat. When in doubt, avoid the carbs because healthy fats and protein build muscles. You will lose weight even on the trek in, let it happen naturally. Your diet will take a huge shift as you eat the food of the Khumbu or Tibet – lot’s of carbs thru rice, little meat.
Oh, and now is the time to knock off the booze. You should have already but it adds empty calories that will not help you at 26,000 feet! Also, watch those beers on the trek in, one is enough with a meal if any at all. After you summit, you can celebrate but not before.
As I previously posted, I expect 2017 to be a big year from both side. I base this on the record crowds on Manaslu in autumn 2016 and big teams on Cho Oyu – both used as training for Everest.
Also the Chinese are telling Nepal operators that they will limit the number of foreign (non-Chinese) climbers in Tibet in the autumn of 2017 because of “a large meeting held in Tibet at that time.” This may encourage some climbers to jump on the Everest train rather than wait. They are saying no more than 50 on Cho Oyu and none for the other peaks including Shishapangma and Everest. Check with your operator BEFORE sending any money and get cancellation insurance if you do.
I am expecting over 600 summits from the South (Nepal) side and well over 200 from the North (Tibet) totaling 800 from both sides, smashing the record set in 2013 with 658 total summits from both sides. In 2016, 641 climbers made the summit from both sides.
Knowing you will summit 🙂 think ahead on how to honor your summit and time in Nepal. Many people bring family pictures or tokens that are meaningful to them. While not allowed and discouraged, many summiters leave something on the summit.
This is a picture of a small singing bowl that reminds me of the monasteries, the bracelet from Bravelets is what I wear to honor my mom, Ida Arnette, who died from Alzheimer’s and the medallion is from Geo’ Junga and can be customized for your summit. Geo Junga will donate $10 to the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund plus give you a 10% discount via this link.
With all this, there is an important step remaining, getting closure with your family. And that is the subject of another post.
Finally let me know if you are climbing from either side as I would love to cover you and your team. Send me an email or make a comment.
Memories are Everything