K2: Leaving Basecamp for the Summit

K2 at sunset July 20 2014We leave for the summit push of K2 today. I have been looking at the summit for weeks now. I have flirted with the flanks only to be humbled, any semblance of self-confidence shredded on the steep slopes by a simple gust of wind or loose rock. But now I return.

When I look at a summit, medicine I don’t see a pile of rocks, a sharp point on the earth’s surface daring the brave to climb.

I see an invitation, a peaceful a place of solitude and serenity, a tiny spot where I can see what I can see, feel what I can feel and be what I can be. A place to be in touch, not out of touch.

A summit can be harsh, deadly winds, steep edges, slick surfaces. It is a place for care, for caution. It is an end and a beginning. Every climb aims to end on the top, not all do. Every return starts where you finish. If you are lucky it is the top. Often it is out of your control.

The tired expression for climbers is that they will take what the mountain will give them. Yes, that may be true but mountains can be generous and give a lot.

Climbers can take home satisfaction, respect, friendship, camaraderie. They can return a new person, cleansed of the past, full of spirit to try something new. Life can be renewed.

For me, this attempt provides an opportunity beyond a summit. It enables a sharing of a purpose, a life purpose, a way of telling many that they are not alone in their struggles. I will draw strength from their commitment to their struggles, their unquestioning support of their loved ones, their research, our disease.

We will climb together. You know what to do on your end. And you know my gratitude is eternal.

So I leave base camp full of hope, ambition, optimism both for the climb and the cause. I am confident in my teammates. I am confident in myself. I will accept any outcome knowing it what was K2 was willing to give on that day. And I will be grateful.

Climb On!
Memories are Everything

An anonymous donor has generously agreed to match all donations made to Cure Alzheimer’s Fund throughout our K2 climb, to a maximum of $25,000.

Double your impact and make a donation to end Alzheimer’s today!

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23 thoughts on “K2: Leaving Basecamp for the Summit

  1. Great work. Praying of you to make it safely up there and back to your family. We are following your blog closely. Inshallah travelling to Skardu soon.

  2. Alan, when it feels like you can’t take another step, take it. Then another.
    When it feels like you can’t eat another bite, take another. They another.
    You know, that summit is only a collection of these moments. Just keep moving and living in the next one.

    And, by all means, kick some serious ASS!!!

  3. May the generosity of K2 keep you safe. May you reach the summit goal and the goal to raise funds to eradicate Alzheimers!
    Judy & Barry

  4. Alan,
    Thinking of you and hoping that your climb and descent of K2 are safe and absolutely gorgeous.

  5. Alan, wish you the best of luck!
    May the mountain’s gods be kind to you!
    We are with you every step on the way!
    Climb on! Memories are everything!
    (from Brazil)

  6. Alan, wish you the best of luck!
    May the mountain’s gods be kind to you!
    We are with you every step on the way!
    Climb on! Memories are everything!
    Farah (from Brazil)

  7. Alan,
    When you get up there can u please throw in an extra prayer for world peace? There is way to much craziness right now through out the world, Thanks again for your purpose, be safe!

  8. Thinking of you and your team, and all others on this climb. You’re doing it for all the right reasons and it is such a joy to be along for the ride. Climb safely! As Ed Viesturs says, “Reaching the summit is optional, getting down is mandatory.” Here’s to you doing both. Go Get It!

  9. “Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it…” ― Wilferd Peterson

    Alan Arnette is a shining example of one dedicated to making our world better.

  10. Hi Alan,

    You are truly inspirational! I pray the Mountain is generous to you. You are already on TOP in my books! Remember safety first.

    All the best Mate!

  11. Hi Alan. I love your posts. I will be thinking about your and your team as you push on to the summit. I am hoping that the mountain is generous and more importantly, that you have a safe journey.

  12. Alan: climb hard, be proud of all that your have achieved, descend safely. My energy will be with you. – Jim

  13. Be safe Alan. You are a wonderful writer and an Inspirational Advocate for Alzheimer’s!
    Thank you for taking us along on your quest!

  14. May each step secure. each hold be strong as you climb. Praying that God will keep you and the team blanketed in safety and good health.

    Be safe…Be smart…Be Alert always my friend!

    As a good friend would say ,
    CLIMB ON.. .Memories are Everything—- you are now creating a magnificent memory!

  15. with you in spirit every step Alan; climb strong. I know you will! Good luck!!


  16. Alan
    I wish you every success my prayers are with you and your team you have been such a support to me when my husband was on Everest all 7 times it was your blogs that kept me sane 🙂

    Climb well Climb strong yours in adventure Lynne and Noel Hanna Ireland

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