I put out a call today for questions that people have about climbing Everest, my preparations, and the like. The response has been awesome and I’ve got some very thoughtful questions to answer. What a gift! Thanks so much.
Some I will be able to tackle in audio updates from the trekking trail or on the mountain. Others will likely need a deeper venue such as a written blog post or perhaps, my next book. Regardless of when the answers come to me and when I can answer them for you, they are a treasured addition to the experience. In adventure programming, we talk of “front loading” an experience, these questions (and others when they come in) will form a foundation of inquiry and reflection for me. Please have a read through this questions and see if they trigger others…if so, please share them in the comments below so I can take them along in my journal/on my journey as well.
The picture above is me making an audio update from the trekking trail on my way into Everest 2010. You can see a vertical prayer flag pole called a darchor. When you pass a darter, you keep it to your right (i.e. you pass it to the left). There is also a chorten behind me (the white structure with the gold top). There are five types of chortens (also called stupas) and they are said to represent the five elements (earth, water, fire, air, and space).
Here are the questions that have come in thus far…
1. Have you done any specific psychological training? If so, what? I can only imagine how mentally challenging this journey will be!
2. Am I right in saying that last time, it was altitude sickness that made you have to return? If so, is there any specific way you can prepare/prevent that this time?
3. When I went to Iqaluit I was amazed at how the Tundra smelled: like licorice. I want to know what it smells like.
4. What do you say to yourself on the side of the mountain in the dark of night to quiet your soul and fall asleep?
5. I’m always very interested to hear about the internal dialogue of amazing people like you who take on really big challenges most of us never will. What are the mantras playing in your head – especially in the scariest times. What deep resources are you drawing on when it’s time to be brave and face the really hard moments?
6. What is your favorite food to eat while on the mountain and what food do you want to eat first when you are back? 🙂 Do you take along a book to read?
7. I’ll be interested in the people you meet and the daily life activities, the things you see and think and how you encourage yourself and what you do to stay healthy. and all those things I don’t know to ask ’cause I just can’t imagine!
8. When you reach the top, what will be your first response? How will you feel?
9. Does it feel developed and busy with people stuff or do you feel like you’re out alone in real wilderness (which I realize it is – I’m wondering about the feeling)?
10. Even after acclimatization, is there a noticeable difference in comfort at altitude between the climbers and the Sherpas who assist them? What is your favourite “hack” for making daily like easier on the mountain?
11. When you’re on the mountain at what point on your journey to the top do you feel most peaceful or connected? In other words at what point are you one with the mountain?
12. How does it feel when you are in the presence of such beauty? Imagine yourself standing at a high altitude and observing the immensity of nature and its majestic force, while at the same time trying to overcome all those challenges. How do you feel in those moments? This is something that I always ponder about and since I don’t seem myself completing this incredible task/challenge, I would love to hear your voice on these observations/reflections.
13. What is more difficult mental strength or physical strength?
14. What inspires you to keep going, even when you might feel like quitting? And, what is the essential item you always take hiking?
15. What parts of training/climbing/expedition have you expected to be easy, but were tough? And vice-versa?
16. How do you prepare to judge what you have “in the tank”?
17. How do you stop from sliding down the mountain?
18. What is the reality of what you see as you climb and camp….is it a pristine mountain with beauty and spirituality all around or is it littered with the refuse of those who have been there before? I wonder about that….
19. What is it within you that compels you to climb Everest even though you know the reality of the dangers that you face ?
20. When you successfully summit Everest, you will also become the fourth Canadian woman to complete the Seven Summits. How much of your motivation to climb Everest is coming from the Seven Summits goal vs your desire to summit Everest specifically?