For those familiar with following my climbing expeditions, you will recognize our current wait and see state. On Denali one year, I waited for 7 days for the weather to break. Today, December 5th is our 4th day of waiting.
Thus is the case for Vinson. The low pressure system is just sitting on top of us creating clouds and high winds. Teams are reporting from the high camp regular winds of over 20 mph and low visibility. This combined with temps well below zero make for dangerous climbing conditions. Frostbite would be a high risk not worth taking at this point.
So we sit tight and wait for better conditions. We have sufficient food and fuel for a while.
With lot’s of free time to think, it is almost impossible not to consider how isolated we are.
Only down feathers and thin nylon tents provide protection. While the sun never sets, it is not strong enough to make the cold bearable. Only with extreme activity, does warmth break through.
With this as context; I think about the isolation my mom must have felt going through the stages of Alzheimer’s. The loneliness, helplessness; the inability to connect, to remember – the isolation.
Waiting out weather requires patience. It is easy to let your mind go to negative places when you have no control. Little things can conspire to steal optimism. Staying focused on the goal, using your sense of humor, remembering why are all keys to maintaining perspective.
Again, reflecting on the last few years with my mom; patience was crucial to everyone. Being willing to answer the same question over and over. Or listening to the same stories for the tenth time that day. Caregivers do these acts not out of obligation but out of love. And they also deserve our patience as well.
So as I sit in my tent listening to the wind blow high on the summit ridge, I think about my mom. I know why I am here. I value all those memories.
Memories are Everything