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.