We 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.
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.
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