Ready to Climb!

Greg and Alan enjoing some rare sunshine outside the IMG communcations tent
What a difference a day (or week) makes! I came down from C3 last Wednesday basically shattered. My upper repository lung infection was taking control and I was in a battle for the future of my climb.

Combined with my personal battle was the fact that Everest weather this year has been down right strange. Usually April has clear days with little precipitation. Teams get their Camp 3 night in before May 1st and then wait out a traditionally bad weather spurt in the first half of May. Miraculously around May 15, online the weather turns good again and the race starts for the summit.

In 2011, click the weather has been all upside down, and it continues. It is 10:00 in the morning on Tuesday, May 3rd and snowing at Base Camp. Last week we got a foot of fresh snow at Camp 2. Each day has only a few hours of sunshine creating havoc for the solar panels. It is cloudy, cold and downright uncomfortable. Thankfully, IMG has propane stoves in the dining tent so we often huddle around like the Walton’s trying to get our toes warm before bed each night. The endless supply of hot water for our water battles are a Godsend inside the sleeping bags!

However this weird weather has not stopped progress. The Sherpas have the lines fixed to the South Col and are starting to stock this highest camp in the world with tents, stove, fuel and oxygen bottles. There is a virtual non-stop Sherpa train up and down the Lhotse Face. They make the climb from Camp 2 to the Camp 4 at the South Col, in a few hours refusing to spend the night at the dangerous Camp 3. Over the next week, the lines will be set to the summit.

One aspect of this weather is the impact on the climbing conditions. Even though we are getting snow, the upper parts of the route may still be more exposed than I personally prefer. In other words, the loose shale rock of the Geneva Spur, on the Triangular Face to the Balcony and the slabs below the South Summit; all may be smooth rock, not snow covered, making it a bit more challenge with crampons.

But you know what? It is what it is and I will be thrilled to climb on rock, snow, ice and whatever the mountain asks of me. I am ready!

I leave at 3:00AM Wednesday morning, May 3rd to spend the night at Camp 3. I will climb with Jay and Mirjam; two teammates also holding back a bit to climb at 100%. We will see the rest of the team at C2 as they are leaving or returning from C3.

One strategic move I am doing this time is to spend a night at Camp 1 on each rotation. This is a nuance but for those familiar with the schedule, Camp 1 is normally only used for the first time up the mountain to acclimatize. Upon advice from several people, and my own experience, I am going to spend the night at C1 on my way to C2 this rotation and on the summit bid. Thus will save significant energy even though it adds a day to my schedule.

Also a word on pace. Our team has a broad range of ages, skills and strengths. With my previous three Everest climbs and at age 54, I am an old goat. I love talking with my teammates and hearing them discuss times, schedules and strategies. Kami and I will climb at our own pace. We are not trying to race anyone. Patience and perspective. What I am trying to do is to tell the Alzheimer’s message from the top of the world.

OK, time to climb again! I’m excited to get back up there and see the result of my weeks “vacation”. I will send audio updates during this rotation to keep everyone updated plus use the SPOT tracker during my moves to C1, C2 and C3 on the Lhotse Face.

Finally, thanks again to everyone for your comments . I read each one and it has been instrumental in keeping me going the last week. I love your sense of humor, insights, your suggestions and most importantly your identification and support with our goal for the 7 Summits Climb for Alzheimer’s: Memories are Everything.

Climb On!
Memories are Everything

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42 thoughts on “Ready to Climb!

  1. Trying to keep up with your blog and experiences. I am an employee at NHC Hendersonville TN and work for Jay. Really enjoy the reading and the excitement of knowing someone on the climb.

  2. Hang in there Alan. So relieved to read you are doing better. I’ve been reading here and or on the page.

    My thoughts have been with you often and fondly. Climb on for your Mom and for everyone else with Alzheimer’s or caregiving for someone with Alzheimer’s. Thanks for your tireless effort, Alan!


  4. Great news! Might be an “old goat”…but at least a “tough old goat”! Back on schedule,camp 3 next.Be careful on the face. 🙂

  5. Glad you are feeling somewhat better and ready dor the next stage on the mountain!!!!

  6. Its great to hear you are feeling good, like many I was concerned for you, as I recognise how important this goal must be for you. I follow your progress every day and my family now look forward to my daily Alan update. Your strategy sounds sensible and I wish you every ounce of luck over the next few days, we will be listening in and reading your updates hoping to hear about your succsesful rotation. Climb On..

  7. Alan: Good luck and who are you calling an old goat? At 57 I still feel like a teenager. I just can’t climb like one!

    And now some very sad news comes of possibly the first death on Everest this year. It’s a climber from my home town in Roseville, CA. Of course the preliminary news is always sketchy, but they say he collapsed at 23,000 feet, but doesn’t say where–Camp 3? Which side of the mountain, etc.? Here’s a link to the local TV news station:

  8. We appreciate you for posting your experiences for us. Makes me feel like I’m there on the mountain. Good luck and thanks for bringing us along.

  9. Hi Alan,

    I enjoy your posts & look forward to it eagerly. Climb on, safely.

  10. Yea! Glad to hear you are feeling better and I love your “go at your own pace” attitude 🙂

  11. “It is what it is and I will be thrilled to climb on rock, snow, ice and whatever the mountain asks of me. I am ready!”

    These words are staying with me, Alan. Thanks for the inspiration. Keep at it, whatever pace you have to go!

  12. SWEET! Nice to hear you are feeling strong again. Better living through chemistry – even at 17000′. Have a great rotation through C3.

  13. Alan, I’m 56 so at 54 you’re no old goat! We’re of an age, and I so admire your perseverance.

    FANTASTIC news on your recovery and determination to stay on your climbing schedule. You are doing what is right for YOU and that’s what matters. Seems to me that if you take care of yourself, your Sherpa companion will be more confident too.
    Keep it up, dude. Those of us with relatives who have Alzheimer’s appreciate you more than you will ever know.
    I love my mother, bless her heart, and she’s in the throes of dementia. Thank you for your advocacy.
    Stay safe, eat good, rest when possible, and KEEP CLIMBING!

  14. Patience and perspective! Well said!

    Say hello to Gineth, from Costa Rica

  15. I take offense at the old goat comment Alan. 🙂 I am 54 now and was 52 when I climbed Everest. I am but a mere kid. Pun intended. Glad you are feeling strong again. Run your own race. Believe!

  16. Are you really 54, Alan? I am as well for only 8 more days. Maybe you will have a successful summit on my birthday the 11th, that would be the most amazing birthday present! 55 wouldn’t even seem so bad. Weird coincidence that always freaks me out, the last 4 digits of my Mom’s Social Security #, 0511. Anyway I think this a very good sign that our Mom’s are out there somewhere watching your back! Shout out to your climbing partners, Cami, & all the Sherpa’s & organizers who are working so hard to support you on behalf of all of us!

  17. hi Allan, great to hear your feeling better. always look forward to reading your blogs and hearing your audio.
    be safe. climb on. Jim [ Hereford. UK]

  18. Hello Alan,
    we have heard that our daughter Mirjam and our son-in law Jay
    with you will head for the next camp and we wish you a good succeed.
    Dear Alan we wish you a lot of success with your honourable Alzheimer-Tour
    (this is also a big subject in Germany)
    And we hope the numerous donations to your high aim do justice.
    Please, provides you around Mirjam and Jay, so that eyerything well runs.
    Thousand times thanks nicely
    Please, excuse our bad English, but we think you understands us.

    Maria and Winfried
    from Germany.

  19. Fantastic Alan and great to hear that you are feeling better…very smart move to stop at C1 on your way up and for sure do it on your summit rotation too…plenty of time to rest in C2…take your time and just keep your steady pace…nice to hear that due to the snow on the Lhotse Face there are some great foot steps, beats the hard ice. I will send to your email some final “make it to the top” helpers….Namaste,

  20. Hi Alan – So glad you’re feeling better…you sound chipper and ready to go! Your cheerful attitude and fortitude are an inspriation. We’re cheering you on!

  21. Wonderful. You’re an inspiration in words and actions. God bless and Climb On!!

  22. Glad you are on the mend Alan. I was a little worried. I get deathly sick every time I go out of the country for a climb and it has ended a few for me. Like you, I am one of those people that catches every bug and my climbing buddy can drink from a mudpuddle with no problem. Hang in there, sounds like you got it whipped!

  23. Fantastic!!We are here reading so much that I can see who was here last year,commenting,as well as this year.Climbing Everest is the ultimate journey in my mind going back to the age of 7.We’ve got sunshine for you Alan,even on a cloudy day,so I’d guees you’d say,what can make me feel this way,memories!!Talkin’ bout’ Memories!!So heres to you Alan and all of us back home,May we never N-everest for alzheimers!!Rock,snow,ice…Climb on!!

  24. I”m Marcos, from Brazil. I’m not a climber. I don’t know why, but I love Mount Everest and I really aprecciate to follow all the expeditions.
    My grampa died because of Alzheimer, probably the main reason I became your supporter in this challenge.

    The only thing I can do from here (with 35º C outside) is to wish you all the best in your way to the summit.

    Good Luck! Stay healthy and God bless you.


  25. Alan, I follow your blog daily and cross reference your progress with a friend of mine pacing with you from another team on Everest. You may not be aware that your blog brings support and hope to others who are following teams and loved ones on Everest in their bid to summit. Thank you for your updates and awareness you bring to Alzheimers.

  26. hi Alan , great to hear your getting better , the best of luck on this rotation , PS the ‘ old goat ‘ comment made me laugh , ENJOY.


  27. Hello Alan,

    Glad to see you are cool, in shape, and humble. 3 good points to keep on. Keep it up 🙂


  28. I am following this blog religiously; living this climb vicariously through you! I love waking up to a new message, a new adventure within the adventure. Best of luck with this rotation and stay healthy!

  29. Namaste! Just take your time and don’t exhaust yourself. I’m enjoying your commentary and wish you a safe, successful climb. As another old goat who has been to base camp and would love to have the skill to go further, I’m following you all the way

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