One of the first questions I’m asked when people find out that I wasn’t able to summit Everest is, “Will you try again?” I wonder if they ask people who make it to the top the same question. Typically not, I suppose. These days I answer the question different ways. On “Glass Half Full” days, the answer is “You bet! Third time’s gotta be a charm and likely in 2012 or 2013.” On “Glass Half Empty” days it goes more like, “I suspect so but it’s a big project to gear up for and there lots of other things I want to do as well.”
Lately, it seems the glass is more half full than half empty so I find myself thinking, “What kinds of experiences/training do I want to have before I go back to Everest?” I know I applied most everything I learned on attempt one to attempt two. I trained smarter as well as harder. My training was periodized and had plenty of rest built in.
I did a number of climbs that took me back to high altitude and I specifically climbed Mount Pumori so I could make the final decision to go back to Everest while in the throngs of a high altitude expedition rather than while ensconced in my pretty comfy sea level life where most things seem possible. I used speaking at events as a fundraising tool so I could steer away a bit from toques and T-shirts and grassroots fund-raising efforts. All in all, I was very pleased with my preparation for Everest 2.0 and went to the mountain healthy, focused, rested, and ready to climb.
As you likely know, despite excellent preparations, one can still be felled by small microscopic beings. Bacteria 3, TA 0. I still live with wondering if I could have pushed myself up despite being wasted from the three infections. Likely not was my conclusion on descent but on half empty days, the question comes to mind.
People will also often ask, “What will you do differently in preparation for Everest 3.0?” I spent some of this weekend thinking about that and rather than a list of things to do differently-though that list will likely be generated as well-is a list of experiences that will teach some life lessons that might be good to have before going back…
I’m guessing you’re wondering what might be on the list. Yup. I’m stringing you along. Building suspense. The drum roll please.
Before Everest 3.0, I want to…
· Raise the money for and climb Mount Vinson in Antarctica
· Raise the money for and climb Mount Logan, the highest peak in Canada
· Raise the money for and ski across Greenland
· Attend at least a two-week meditation retreat (as recommended by my Buddhist mentor between Everest 1.0 and 2.0–OK I’m really listening now)
· Run or run/walk a marathon (I’ve done a half but my body seems to succumb to running injuries around the 28 km mark in training)
· Do the body work/body care necessary to avoid running/training injuries
· Trek through Nepal crossing the Amphu Labtsa as a way to continue to get friendly with Nepali microorganisms and build up more immunity to them
So that’s the list so far–I’m open to other suggestions…the timing will unfold.
I’ve begun to design a Vinson expedition fund-raising T-shirt and am asking supporters to get out their creative thinking caps for fund-raising ideas, because despite two massive fund-raising efforts for Everest 1.0 and 2.0, I still feel like a novice standing out on a diving board wondering if there is water in the pool below.
So, please–do be in touch with your ideas big and small–one of my preliminary T-shirt designs features penguins working together to form a penguin pyramid (and moutnain)–the idea being that I stand on a lot of people’s shoulders when I stand atop a mountain. I don’t get there alone. I need lots of help in both getting to the mountain and getting up the mountain. I’d be grateful if you would join the team in any way you can.
Beautifully written as always. The question of again is one I have also heard over the years. And for me, the answer is yes, as you know, but not for the 3rd time but 4th. Am I crazy, deaf, in denial, obsessed? Well probably a bit of all. But for me Everest represents more than a mountain, more than a climb; especially this time around.
The reasons we climb are intensely personal and deserve no explanation to others. That said, explanations help show the world the opportunities, the benefits, the challenges and the symbiotic nature of our relationship with nature.
So dream, plan and share. Dreams are meant to be pursued; not to sit on the shelf like a dusty book.
Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I know you’re headed back for Everest 4.0 and know intimately how much courage and desire and perseverance it takes to make the decision to go again, and again and again. I take inspiration from Pasang Lhamo Sherpa (first Nepali woman) who summitted Everest on her fourth attempt. It, however, was a tragic summit since she died on descent. So please go carefully with each step up and each step down. May the mountain grant you safe passage as you climb ever higher with the inspiration of your mom and all those who suffer given the tragedy of Alzheimer’s Disease beneath your crampons and ice ax-giving you strength when yours seems to have evaporated, giving you hope when yours is lost, and giving you a clear mind when you need it most!
Godspeed as we say in Newfoundland. I’ll be following your expedition every step of the way!
Pingback: This Climb is Sponsored by the Letter G: Going for Gunnbjørn Fjeld in Greenland | TA Loeffler's Adventures that Move
Pingback: Checking in on Everest 3.0 | TA Loeffler's Adventures that Move
Pingback: Everest 3.0.2 Reflecting on my Yes-No Decision on this, the First Snow Day of 2015 | TA Loeffler's Adventures that Move
Pingback: Reflecting on my Yes-No Decision: Everest 3.0.2 | TA Loeffler's Adventures that Move