With the holidays upon us, I wanted to send out a greeting along with a Road Back to Mount Everest: Memories are Everything update.
I leave for Aconcagua in a couple of weeks. This will be my second climb of the highest mountain outside the Himalayas. I summited back in 2005. I will be going with Ryan Waters and Dave Elmore of Mountain Professionals, the same team that I will go with to Orizaba and Everest. So it will be a great chance to get to know each other better, get some training in and practice some skills at high altitude.
I will try to post some dispatches but it is more difficult from South America than in Asia due to having to use the Iridium satellite system.
As I reflect on my Journey I want to share some more personal thoughts with you, my subscribers and as always, thank you for your continued support.
I am not a professional fund raiser or mountain climber for that fact. I am just a 50 something guy trying to combine two passions in my life: family and climbing.
Earlier this year when Cathy and I discussed me trying to return to Everest something gnawed at me. Climbing is an intensely selfish sport that usually benefits only the person who does it. When I think back to my second attempt on Everest, I think I was guilty as charged. Maybe that is why I didn’t summit. Who really knows?
As the raw seriousness of my Mother’s situation set in, I saw her disease – Alzheimer’s – like I never had. She was losing everything that she had experienced over a lifetime. And it would get worse.
As I deeply considered tying my climbing with fund raising, I didn’t want to take advantage of my Mother’s situation. I didn’t want to take advantage of friendships. I didn’t want to be that person everyone avoids.
I did want to be a champion for raising awareness of Alzheimer’s. I did want to be that person who took risks and accepted hard challenges for a good cause. I did want to help millions who would suffer from this horrible disease.
Thus The Road Back to Mount Everest: Memories are Everything was born.
With two climbs completed and two more ahead before Everest, I want to thank everyone who has donated or sent me encouragement.
I spent some time with my Mom this past week. She is doing well. Her physical health is holding and she has recovered from her broken leg a few months ago. Her mind continues to slip and she knows it. In her words she tells me, “it is all washed away” as she rubs her forehead.
I am grateful that I was able to video her remembering her childhood and life. It seems that her oldest memories are the easiest to recall. I am also grateful to the staff that takes care of her on a daily basis.
I am told if I don’t ask, then people don’t know so once again I am asking for your donation to the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund. Remember that 100% of your money goes to research with the highest probability of slowing, stopping or reversing Alzheimer's disease. No monies go to me, my climbing expenses or the Fund’s overhead.
Until then, I want to wish everyone a great holiday season. Please enjoy the time with your friends and family and make lots of new memories.
Please remember: Memories are Everything.