Later this week, I depart for Kathmandu to meet up with the rest of the team for our Shisha Pagma expedition. I am very excited about this climb for a number of reasons. First, this is the second climb of The Road Back to Mt. Everest - Memories are Everything journey. Second my health is excellent and I have checked out 100% after Denali. And third, this is a great mountain with only a couple of hundred summits thus far.
Now for some details of the climb.
Shishapangma is the 14th highest peak in the world at 26,335 feet or 8,027 meters. It is located in southern Tibet and uniquely stands somewhat alone from the main Himalayan range. The expedition will start in Kathmandu, fly to Lhasa and the drive over the Steps of the Tibetan Plains to our Base Camp. The six week expedition will be my fifth climb on an 8000m mountain.
We will take the "normal route" for the climb. After spending almost 10 days getting to Nepal then Lhasa then driving to the Chinese Base Camp at 16,400', we will take a few days to further acclimatize in mid September. Next we will move to Advanced Base Camp with Yaks carrying the heavy loads. ABC is over 18,000'.
The actual climbing will finally begin after more than two weeks in transit. We will use the second half of September for "climb high, sleep low" acclimatization climbs to Camp 1 at 21,000' and Camp 2 at 23,300'. Most of the route is snow. It is generally safe to camp 2 but there are some big crevasses. The summit bid will start after a rest break back at ABC and waiting for a good weather window.
For the bid, we will return to C1 and C2 then climb a steep slope to Camp 3 at 24,600'. From C3, we will go for the summit. Shishapangma has a false summit at 26,286' or 8012m but we will go for the true summit at 26,335' or 8027m. The climb from C3 is steep but not too difficult. To the true summit, we will either have to negotiate a knife edge traverse or take a slightly longer route that has crevasse danger. The summit bid should take place around October 8th.
Jamie McGuiness is leading the expedition and is based out of Kathmandu. This will be his fourth expedition to Shisha. We will have 14 people on the climb including a few just going to BC only. It appears to be a strong team with a few Everest veterans, a coupe who have attempted Shisha before and others with 8000m experience.
After what I am calling the "Denali Mystery", I have spent a lot of time with specialists trying to understand what happened. The bottom line is that nothing conclusive was determined and all signs point to focusing on the basics of nutrition, hydration and pacing myself. So that is what I am going to do. Follow this link for all the gory details!
I will be posting frequent dispatches on this site. If you have signed up you will receive an email notification of a new dispatch. I have access to more reliable technology than I did on Alaska so expect some text, pictures, video and voice over the next six weeks.
I have also partnered with three sites that do Adventure news coverage: The Adventurist, The Adventure Blog and The Rest of Everest. I did a lengthy video interview with Jon at the Rest of Everest this past weekend and he will syndicate it using his Pod Cast Technology soon. All of these site are first class with a great reputation of quality reporting. Thanks Kraig, Jason and Join for your support. Finally Jamie will post updates on his company's site at Project Himalaya
This is not about standing on top of a Hill. It is about trying to do something meaningful for Alzheimer's research through something challenging, hard and personally fulfilling. Alpine mountaineering is deep in my essence. Each time I say this is the last climb, I come back for more. It is just the way it is.
But the Road Back is more than just an old mountain climber's dream. It is about letting everyone know that Alzheimer's is a horrible disease that robs individuals and their families of precious memories and eventually the person them self. But the current research is promising and there is hope. And they need funding. Please consider giving a donation today - no matter how large or small it is deeply and sincerely appreciated by all impacted and involved. The Cure Alzheimer's Fund has a donation page that makes this simple. Please go there now.
OK, that's it until I get to Nepal. I am ready for this next challenge. My body is strong after climbing 13 Colorado 14ers since Denali. My mind is confident after all the visits with the Docs. My resolve is purposeful.
I need four things to align before I go on a climb like this: Time, money, support from my family and a deep personal desire. Once again the window is open and the alignment is right. If I don't reach the summit it is not the end of the world and I will continue on my path to Everest. And I will be disappointed.
I am going to Tibet to give it all I have. I will be honest to a fault in my dispatches. I hope you come along and tell your friends. This will be fun!