In early April, advice I’m returning to Nepal, the Himalaya and to the Everest region. This will be my 11th trip since 1997 and I will be climbing the world’s fourth highest mountain, Lhotse at 27,940 feet or 8516 meters.
As always, I will use my attempt to bring awareness to Alzheimer’s Disease but this time not only for donations to research but to ask readers and followers to join the Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry.
A Personal Commitment
The day my mom, Ida, asked me “Who are you?” was the day my life changed forever. I made a personal commitment to do everything I could to make a difference in finding a cure for Alzheimer’s. I began to dedicate my climbs to raise awareness about AD: no cure, always fatal, not a part of normal aging. Thus far, thanks to many of you, we have reached 50 million people and raised $250,000 for Alzheimer’s research.
But there is so much more to be done, more I can do.
In finding a cure for Alzheimer’s, al trails play an important role. Many of the headlines you read about potential breakthroughs are done on mice or small scale human trails. In order for a new therapy to reach those in need, it must go through human trials and there is a severe shortage of volunteers thus stalling progress. In fact, 80% of studies fail because too few people sign up.
Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry
The Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry strives to overcome that hurdle by engaging people 18 and older of all races and ethnicities who are committed to ending Alzheimer’s, whether or not they have a family history of the disease. From simple questionnaires and surveys, to brain imaging studies and even pharmaceutical trials to evaluate investigational medications and therapies, the Registry offers members many ways in which to participate. In no way does joining the Registry obligate you to take part in a study or al trial.
The Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry is part of Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the goal of ending Alzheimer’s disease without losing another generation. It is helping to launch a new era of Alzheimer’s research—detection, ment and prevention at the pre-symptomatic stage—and to establish a comprehensive model of care that can be the national standard. BAI was founded in 2006 by Phoenix-based Banner Health, one of the country’s largest nonprofit healthcare systems.
• In no way does joining the Registry obligate you to take part in a study or al trial.
• Each study has a defined set of eligibility requirements, which means not everyone will qualify for enrollment in a particular study.
• All studies associated with the Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry are approved by an ethics committee and ensure participants’ privacy and confidentiality.
I have made the personal commitment and joined the registry.
With my summits of Everest, K2 and Manaslu, I have set an ambitious goal to summit the remaining 11 of the 14 8000 meter mountains over the next five years. Through my climbs, I hope to reach 100 million people, and make a difference in the fight against Alzheimer’s through raising awareness, promoting the desperate need for joining al trails and raising $1 million for research.
If I’m successful, I would become only the second American to summit all 14, following in the steps of Ed Viesturs (note: Ed did them all without supplemental oxygen and on private climbs, nothing like me at age 58). Also, I might be the oldest American to summit many given I’m 58 now. Read more on Project 8000 including the schedule.
I feel like I have climbed Lhotse four times already, just not to the summit as it shares 80% of the same route used to summit Everest. I will fly into Kathmandu in early April, make the life-changing trek to Everest Base Camp and begin my acclimatization rotations before attempting to summit Lhotse in mid to late May.
I will be climbing with Madison Mountaineering and Garrett Madison who I summited K2 with last summer. Also, I am thrilled beyond words to have Kami Sherpa (Ang Chhiring Sherpa – Pangboche) climb with me. I summited Everest in 2011 with Kami as well as K2 last year. Also joining me will be Louis Carstens whom I summited Manaslu with in 2013.
Lhotse is known as a “technical” climb meaning you need to use protection, climbing gear and full on hands and feet to gain the summit. As I make several climbs through the Khumbu Icefall, I’ll be thinking of the Sherpas who lost their lives in this section last year. I hope to minimize my, and our Sherpas, exposure by limiting the gear I carry to the high camps.
The real crux of climbing Lhotse is the final 300 meters or last 1,000 feet. Once leaving the Camp 3 at 23,500 feet on the Lhotse Face, I will cross the Yellow Band and then turn right continuing straight up the Face instead of contouring across the Geneva Spur to the South Col as I did on my Everest summit climb. We will make camp at 25,750 feet or 7850 meters on the snow covered steep slopes of Lhotse. It is almost 2,200 feet to the summit on 50 to 60 degree slopes.
Leaving early the next morning, we will climb about 400 feet eventually reaching the bottom of the Lhotse Couloir, a narrow, rock filled gully that leads to the summit that is only 9 feet wide in some spots. This is the most challenging part of a Lhotse climb and will require every mountaineering skill I have obtained on my previous 37 expeditions. I will stem off the rocks, scramble and full on rock climb the final sections. Lhotse’s summit is a small rock block that is often covered in snow making it dangerous.
The return involves rappelling and arm rapping back to Camp 4 or Camp 2 where I will spend the night. The entire summit push will take 7 days. Thanks to Ellen Miller for the Lhotse photographs.
Many of you have gotten to know me through my annual coverage of the spring Everest season. Well, my plan is to report on all the Everest action but this time from Everest Base Camp and not from Colorado. The coverage will be slightly different in that I hope to do first hand interviews with interesting climbers and give first person reports on route conditions, and all the unexpected activity. I will do my to cover the north side climbing as well.
While I usually do daily posts when I’m home, given I’m climbing Lhotse, the posts may be reduced a bit. I will also document my Lhotse climb with videos, text and voice dispatches similar to how I documented my K2 climb.
My Colorado climbing buddy, Jim Davidson will be there attempting Everest with IMG so I hope to share some time with him along the way.
Follow and Join
OK, I’m pretty pumped about all this. This is the first climb for Project 8000. I’m grateful to Banner for supporting me with this project and very pleased to ask you to join the Registry – I have.
I hope to hold that same picture of Ida Arnette on the summit.