Off to Elbrus

Happy Saturday Night,

“It’s Saturday night and I don’t got nobody…I got some money because I just got paid, oh how I want someone to talk to…”  Writing a bit early this week because I’m home alone, laid up with a sore back, and want some company.  So I imagine you’re sitting on the other side of the table, we’ve got a luscious cup of tea and a spot of angel food cake to share and its time to chat about our weeks.

First off, thanks to everyone for making this birthday one of my best.  Special thanks go out to Marian, Nadia, Natelle, Wanda, and Joan for spending much of the afternoon on the hill with me.  Thanks as well to Heather, Charlotte, Stacey, Katie, Tina, Talisann and her niece for coming along for a few climbs.  Way big thanks to Wilma for the awesome cake and to Deb for bringing along her entire staff of Applecore Interactive.  The sea of blue shirts was terrific and made the last ascent go almost effortlessly.  I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face the whole time we shared cake at the top.  See the Applecore blog for some pictures:

Some near and dear friends gathered that night to share a few drinks and stories and I loved the whole day.  My dad called and left message that evening wishing me happy birthday and letting me know that they had gone ahead with his chemo treatment that day…something like his 43rd treatment or such.  He says all the staff at the chemo centre know him very well and appreciate his upbeat and humorous attitude towards it all.  My dad joked that I must be getting to be an old lady by now.  The funny thing is that I think my body is going through an aging spurt and various parts ache and pain in new and interesting ways every morning. 

I was pleased that throughout the ten ascents I was able to maintain the same pace.  Each ascent is about 1.6 kilometres and we were doing each one in just over 19 minutes.  I was carrying 35 pounds and we gained about 150 metres each time for a total of about 16 kilometres and 1500 metres of elevation gain.  Joan facilitated a speedy descent by driving us down the hill so we climbed steadily for nearly four hours.  I was surprised to be ahead of schedule so we actually walked down the ninth one to which my body doth protested.

Friday I was back on the hill training and to plant a birthday letterbox made by my dear friend Karen.  Karen called the letterbox, “To the Summit and Safe Return.”  This is a quote from Ed Viesters that he sets as his intention before each climb. (   I liked the sentiment and adopted the practice as well.  Karen carved a beautiful stamp of Mount Everest for the letterbox and also send up a Vanilla Dip Hitchhiker Letterbox for me to plant as well.

Letterboxing is a great activity that combines art, treasure hunting and getting outside for some adventure.  Check out for more information.  As I topped the hill for the second time that morning, my lower back was a bit edgy and has since progressed to down right cranky.  So I am stiff and sore and have been using ice and ibu through much of today.  It’s not unlike my body to have some injury/ouchie before a climb.  Something about making me continue to decide to go I guess.  So I’m hoping it settles quickly…fortunately if it doesn’t, I already have an appointment with my chiropractor on Tuesday for my foot.  Yes indeed, it does seem like my body is giving me a hard time these days. ☺

I presented at the Canadian College and University Food Service Association conference this morning.  I was surprised when I looked out in the audience and saw some folks wearing Tim Hortons clothing.  I hadn’t anticipated that though I probably should have.  I had great fun preparing for the presentation thinking of all the ways food is so critical to climbing…especially at high altitude.  I loved watching their faces as I began to profess my love for the Vanilla Dip and likening it to an edible prayer flag.  It was so fun.  The audience was appreciative and I’m 26 books closer to Everest!

There is a pile of gear and clothing ready to be tamed tomorrow morning after a training hike (if my body permits one).  I’ll go through my gear lists and start to package things up.  Cameras and sat phone are charging.  Good-byes are starting to be said and life takes on that sweet tender-heartedness of departure.  Seeing and noticing my own impermanence while at the same time planning for safe summit and return.  I plan to blog daily from Elbrus as the adventure unfolds so I hope you will follow along!

I leave on Canada Day arriving in the late afternoon of the 2nd in Moscow.  I have three nights there and then we head to Terskol via plane and van to begin acclimatizing.  We hope to be summitting around July 9-11.

I hope the summer is finding you well.  Drop me a line and let me know what you are up to.  Thanks again for all your wonderful birthday wishes and support of Wear Blue and Climb and the Canadian Prostate Cancer Network.  Donations can still be made throughout the climb. To donate to the Canadian Prostate Cancer Network,
please click on the following link:

Click the “In Honour” button and please fill out “Elbrus: Climbing for my Dad (Heinz Loeffler).”  Fill in your contact info and viola you’ve helped folks living with this awful disease.

Take good care and I’ll catch you from Moscow!


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