It has been 2 years since I attempted to summit Everest. I returned home and told everyone I would not go back. It took me 6 months to heal up both physically and mentally, I was a wreck. The mountain stayed with me and soon it became clear that I had to give it another try. My wife and family have always supported my adventures, but they saw me after I returned, and are still not crazy about me going back.
So the training began. I hired Uphill athlete Sam Nunly and Steve House and they set up my training. 3 trips to Colorado 17, 14ers. My wife joined me on our 34 anniversary and climbed Mt Evans and her nemeses Mt Uneva where we got caught in a storm exposed the year before and waited the hail and lightning out kneeling on pack praying. I also returned to Everest in October 17 for a base camp and high pass with Hau gear and my tent mate from 2016 Cat Isfan and helped bring an amazing Blind climber to BC, which is still one of my best climbing experiences ever.
While I was in Katmandu I interviewed Adventure Consultants team and leadership and made the decision to go with them this April. I added a acclimation climb in Chile with Andes specialist Max Krause. After booking and paying for my trip, my daughter Mallory tells me my first grandchild will be born while on Everest and I will miss the birth of my first grandchild as I write this, still very hard to think about. So my plans are to write my day to day climbing post and add advice for my grandchild that will be born any day and the grandchildren to come.
Messages to grandchild from Everest:
I am in Khumjung Khunde with 3 post to send and you gave me a new theme to my posting. Sorry for all of you that are looking for just climbing info, but my plans are to post my climbing info and add a note to my unborn grandchild based on events. Adventure consultants are doing a good job at sending out short daily dispatches so that may be a quicker source of climbing info. I hope to compile my advice to grandkids at the end of this journey. It will at least make me feel better about missing the birth.
Kentucky to Katmandu April 1-3
My trip starts with long painful 36 hours in coach siting up with bad food and I get off the plane barely able to walk much less climb Everest. Preparation and my last days have been harder than others. Two weeks from Ojos kicking my butt, not feeling great, low confidence, and guilt from leaving work and family on baby watch. This puts a lot of stress on everyone that cares for me, I know that its because they love me but the mountains the last few years have taught me as much about myself than anything I have ever done.
Get to Kathmandu go through meet Rob Smith the team leader who wrote the book How to Climb Everest. Meeting the team, attending the briefings, gear checks and shopping for additional supplies take up the next day. The assistant guide Lydia, who is the first female to climb Everest without supplemental oxygen and who has published the book Going Up Is Easy, checks my gear. I needed a -40 sleeping bag and with her help we buy a North Face Inferno bag that will withstand a nuclear winter and when I get home I can roast a pig in it.
I have a free morning as it is Easter and I find a church for Easter mass. I have always been impressed with the spiritual vibe in Kathmandu. Hindu, Buddhist, and Christians worship side by side. The Assumption of Mary is where I ended up and it was amazing. No shoes were allowed in church, and no pews. We sat on the ground but God was there. The mass was celebrated like I have never seen before.
Lesson 1: Put God first and everything else in life will have balance. I tell everyone, if you don’t believe in God… climb a mountain. Faith is as essential to getting to the top as any climbing gear you carry. The top of a mountain is one of the holiest places that I have ever been to.