April 23, 2019
Sleep didn’t come easy last night as my mind raced. So much to be done, but so little to actually do here. I woke up to the heat roasting me and my watch read 728 AM. It was the latest I had slept in all trip. I can tell sitting still is starting to get me. I pulled out my silicone liner, the piece that rolls over my residual limb that creates the suction to keep my prosthetic on, and hair and sand were stuck to it. My blood began to boil. I looked around the tent and there was mud and gravel from my feet tracking it in during the not so ideal weather. You know its bad when the inevitable even starts to piss you off.
I have to remind myself that we are only three weeks in and we have five to go. I have to be patient now or the next five weeks will feel like an eternity — I’ll come out of this grey instead of blond. Luckily, we will be moving soon so I will have a change of scenery and can break out new gear for the higher altitudes. It’s petty, but seeing the same colors and same handful of gear all day every day can also wear on you. I’m like a real life Truman Show.
After breakfast, you guessed it — porridge, everyone grabbed their boots, harnesses, and climbing kit so that we could go practice on the adult playground of a glacier across a tiny stream from camp. I love being on fixed lines. While it is anything, but conventional and my techniques are everything, but normal, I actually don’t feel any different than anyone with two legs out here. The technical tools help me maintain my speed. The British and Kenyan guys commented on how I may even be quicker than them and I couldn’t help cracking a crooked smirk.
We stayed out for roughly an hour and a half practicing jumaring, arm wrapping, moving along traverses, and rappelling, then it was time for me to get cleaned up for Mrika and her father’s visit today. They had agreed to an interview and I was extremely excited to hear what they had to say. Mrika and Nida are strong, brilliant, and beautiful people from Kosovo — and both of their interviews brought me to tears. Meeting them out here has been such a blessing. I look forward to hopefully standing on the summit with Mrika as we both write history and shaking her hand as she becomes the youngest female to crush the Seven Summits and Explorers Grand Slam. I’ve only known her for a short time, but I am a proud friend.
When Rob and I finally made it back to the dining tent, lunch reminded me of Afghanistan. On the plate in front of me sat cole slaw, potatoes, spam, and grilled tomatoes. The only difference is I actually liked the spam in Afghanistan. Something about cold and limp, thickly sliced processed junk meat/innards doesn’t do it for me. The canned peach at the end redeemed it though. A fully belly and overcast skies meant a nap.
The rest of the day dragged on with plenty of speculation about what the weather would do and when would be the best time to move to camp one. We were all made aware that there had been a slide in the ice fall, and apparently some damage to one of the ladder sections which could cause a couple set backs.
April 24, 2019
I absolutely adore my crew, but I have to admit that it is about time to start moving. It would be nice to start missing them. That way, when we are reunited at least we would have new things to talk about. Our conversations have gotten pretty stale for content, though still funny. The British and Kenyan crew went to stretch their legs, while I reorganized bags to go up high.
The dirt has stressed me well out again and after another bit of laundry, I’ve decided to figure out a way to sweep and mop my tent. This is getting out of control. I already had my hopes up about moving to camp one today, so I am at the lowest of the low of the emotional roller coaster. It takes a lot to mentally and emotionally (let alone physically) prepare myself to suffer more than any one on the mountain. I am told that we will be moving at midnight now. Christopher does not want to be the first group over the new repairs on the ice fall. Hopefully, we get some good beta and actually make something happen later.
Today was easily my laziest day. I stayed on my mattress pad for at least 75% of it. I made the comment that it is definitely time to start moving before my boredom leads to overthinking and complacency — or just saying mean stuff out of grumpiness. Then it came after listening to Pete whistle for an hour wandering through camp. Out of my mouth were the words, “Oh for fucks sake, his lips have to at least get dry at some point.” Later, I made the argument that too many of the same consonants in a first name is always a no go. Rudeness and boredom boxes for the day were met.
This just in. We aren’t moving at midnight. Again. Maybe Friday morning at midnight. Maybe not.
Don’t let anyone fool you. The hardest part of Everest is sitting around.