It is hard to believe this is my last written dispatch before leaving for my summit bid on Mt. Everest. I will post two more audio dispatches along the way.
I am writing this at Camp 2 in my very hot tent. As I mentioned in my last audio dispatch, this bid came as a bit of a surprise when the weather models showed a solid 48 hour window of low winds starting on May 20.
Multiple teams are targeting this window, which maybe the last solid one of this strange weather season. We expect to see over 60 climbers and Sherpas on the route Thursday night.
We rushed late on the night of May 15 to pack our summit gear and then left at 3:00AM for our climb through the ever-changing Icefall for a night at Camp 1. I was very pleased to make that climb in 4:20 cutting more than 1.5 hours off my previous time.
This confirmed that my body was healthy and acclimatized; ready for the next phase. My climb from C1 to C2 was equally reassuring making it in 2 hours.
We leave tonight at 3:00 AM dressed in our down suits for a night at Camp 3. This time we will sleep on supplemental oxygen.
The next phase is a 4 to 6 hour climb across the Yellow Band and Geneva Spur to our camp at the South Col. We should be there midday on Thursday, May 19.
Dressed in full down with an oxygen bottle in our pack,we leave around 9:00PM, maybe later or earlier depending on weather and the individual. See the IMG site for a list of who’s climbing.
Hopefully we reach Balcony in 4-6 hours and switch to a fresh oxygen bottle. Every step now is new for me, it will be time to call on you.
I will have my SPOT GPS tracker turned on throughout all these climbs if you want to follow in real-time. Click on the tab “Where’s Alan”.
The climb to the South Summit will also take 4-6 hours, then across the Cornice Traverse, up the Hillary Step and a final snow slope to the Top of the World. The return trip is the time for focus.
My mind knows the drill; it is embedded in my essence. My body knows the skills; years of practice has made it part of me. My heart knows the reason; it is there everytime I close my eyes.
But somehow I remain nervous. I will be forever grateful for all the support you readers have offered through your comments and thoughts. I know I have tremendous support out there and will draw on it as I climb.
However even more powerful are the connections we have made on behalf of Alzheimer’s. That is what this is all about.
When I get tired, I will take one more step, then a second and a third. As I pause to catch my breath, I will think of all of you; the ones with Alzheimer’s, the families and caregivers, the researchers, the generous donors.
I will borrow upon your collective strength and take three more steps. Together we will stand on top of the world.
Memories are Everything