April 10, 2019
The ongoing joke is that I should’ve made two buttons to wear during the trek:
1. Yes. I am actually going for the summit.
2. Photos are a $5 donation to The Kirstie Ennis Foundation.
The morning went smoothly. Slow start, but there was no rush for Christopher, Sange, Rob, and I. We broke up the trek in to Lobuche by stopping in Thukla. The three of us (just missing Rob) pulled in to Thukla around 1130. Rob has been stopping every 20 meters or so to pull out his tripod so he can get some shots. It’s hard to not stay wild eyed when walking through the Khumbu, I can’t even imagine what it’s like for someone with a creative mind.
Rob was absolutely no where to be found and Christopher was betting on him being 4 hours behind. Luckily, the trail is straight forward so unless Rob was looking to get another “quick run” in, we’d see him eventually. Honestly, I was bored the moment we sat down at the Kala Patthar Lodge. With it only being lunch time, we had plenty of time to kill. Though it was a quiet afternoon, the 360 degree views and peace from the trekking mobs were absolutely worth it.
By dinner time, the sunset lit the sky on fire. The once white peaks were now pastel shades of pink and purple. The best part of my day was coming around the corner for dinner, and hearing the kitchen staff sing to the Nepali music and stomp their feet in dance. Had I been wearing my leg, I would’ve joined them. They kept it up until they saw me watching. I have loved learning about the Nepali and Sherpa cultures so much that I find myself being an onlooker quite frequently. The mountains are special, but the people will be my favorite memories.
April 11, 2019
530 AM: My sleep pattern is getting longer. I sleep more here than I could ever even think of back home. In bed by 8, and up whenever the sun wakes me. I’ll take it. We will be rolling in to Lobuche today. To get there from Thukla, we have to pass through a memorial for the climbers and Sherpas who have passed on the mountain. I can still feel the stinging sensation behind my eyes when I was here before. My heart hurt for them and their loved ones, but I didn’t want to cry so I fought it. This time will be different. I didn’t compare to them in the slightest before with just a few mountains under my belt, and only trekking in to base camp. Now, I want to pay my respects, but also carry their spirit with me; to use their memory to add to my fight, and to make them proud.
1130 AM: Rob shared stories of his friends who passed in the mountains. Hearing their memories makes everything more real. As dark as it may sound, I think about the suffering and pain in their last breaths – or did they feel anything at all? I wondered what takes place when someone is swept into an avalanche or when someone sits in pure exhaustion when they realize that there’s no effort left to give.
I’m certainly still a rookie, but I have been in the mountains enough to have seen the egos of the young bucks and the calmness in those seasoned climbers. I know the mountain will always have the final say, but that thought always leads me to think about times like my helicopter crash. Why was I spared? I didn’t do anything special to fight for my life. I recall just letting it ride, staying in a haze, and mentally preparing to say goodbye to my sister. Who makes the last call? Why are some spared and others not? Especially when some were just doing what they love?
I’ve read the histories of some of these climbers, and am blown away by what they’ve accomplished. I don’t rate or deserve to, but it’s an honor to follow in the footsteps of these legends.