May 9, 2019
Being in camp one is kind of like being in the Twilight Zone. It’s the same things day in and day out. Sherpa are going up and down carrying their loads and foreigners are dragging their feet and struggling in the altitude. Your days run together out here, especially when there is nothing to do. The climbing and ascent at this point will be the easy part, tent time and being still is the challenging part. In the beginning, I thought I was getting better about letting it all just ride, but now as I’m confined to my little yellow shelter and the stressors of summit windows are setting in, I realize I am not getting better about tent time or being more patient at all.
I’ve tried really hard not to get my hopes up in regards to the weather. I’ve said it countless times… all I can to do is be as prepared as possible and have the best team surrounding me — because the mountain always has the final say. Admittedly, I got really excited a few days ago hearing word that there was a long weather window coming up. A longer window is ideal for me, meaning I could let the first and possibly second day go to the the teams chomping at the bit to be first up — they would set in my boot pack making travel a bit easier (they would also be testing the lines for me). The longer window allows flexibility for there to be traffic and any hiccups with my prosthetic as well.
Now, our meteorologists let us know that the window is gradually shortening. Looking like it opens May 12th, with a jet stream closing it off on the afternoon of the 16th. The weather window alone cuts it close, but there’s another setback. The fixed lines from camp four to the summit still aren’t complete. Rumor has it that the rope fixers would be finishing it on the 13th and 14th. It is risky, but my team could follow the fixers up in hopes of a summit on the 15th and being back in camp two on the 16th. It’s hard because there’s a ton of “through the grapevine” word and everyone seems to be taking part in the game of telephone.
Either way, on Saturday the 11th I will be making a move from camp one: either going up to camp two in order to prep for a summit bid or back down to base camp for a handful of days to start looking and praying for another summit window. While it has been difficult for me to come to terms with going back down through the ice fall, and in turn having to come back up it — I can’t possibly sit at 20,000 feet for another week hoping for the weather to open; what’s left of my withering away body would be nonexistent.
There are so many variables to consider when coming up with a new plan. I know I shouldn’t have had my heart set on the original plan — as it was almost too good to be true. But damn, to be done two weeks early and on my way to my first real shower in nearly six weeks sure sounded heavenly.
May 10, 2019
A bit before 430 AM, I was woken up by Christopher giggling and chewing on his tongue mumbling to his baby momma and son on the sat phone in the next tent over. I should’ve put him in a tent in lower camp one. I rolled over in irritation due to only sleeping a short while because of pain, then found myself thanking God that I don’t have those kinds of things to worry about out here. Shout out to my loved ones for being content with InReach messages, you’re the real MVPs — and to the Depo shot for looking out for your girl! I tossed around a while thinking about all things marketing to fundraising and to the next big adventure (I can’t wait to share it with you all).
Around 8 AM, I heard Christopher shuffling around outside with his harness and crampons in preparation to make his way down to base camp. That meant P Diddy must be somewhere close by. While I stayed in camp one by myself for several hours two days ago, today I would be lucky enough to get to hang out with my favorite porter and admin dude for at least 24 hours while Rob and Christopher are down in base camp.
Though I was grumpy from the rough start of a morning, things were looking up. I stretched a while, meditated, and jumped right in to my audiobooks. I balled up my sleeping bag and shoved it behind me to rest against. While lounging, listening, and staring off in to space, P Diddy popped his head in to my tent vestibule scaring the living heck out of me. I jumped up with no where to go and realized who it was. I definitely do not understand his routine or schedule out here, but I like him. He always makes himself in the middle of everything and shows up when you least expect it. He asked if I needed anything and went on to explain that maybe I should just take a heli to base camp and rest for a week then come back up. While that sounds lovely, it just doesn’t work that way.
I drowned out my boredom with my ear buds and used the “Psychopath Test” as background noise, then looked around my tent to see what I could start packing up. I jumped. Again. Sweet Jesus, he’s back. “Empty bottles for hot water,” P Diddy asked. I handed him a small one and thanked him for being so thoughtful. Ten minutes go by. “Black coffee,” he exclaimed with his beanie barely hanging on to his head. Twenty minutes go by. “Soup,” P Diddy inquires. I sat semi cross legged (you get why) with my head cocked to the side staring at him, thanked him for his generosity and hospitality, then asked him, “Are you already bored?” To which he responded with a huge grin and an aggressive nod. I got to work on building him a sitting space in my tent, that way at least there wouldn’t be any more surprises or creepy eyes through the slits of the tent door.
Lunch and dinner were the same — ramen because I am still completely turned off by the idea of expired MREs (didn’t even know that could be a thing honestly). As I type, my fingers are frozen and I am wearing a massive smile. I got the news I wanted earlier. We are moving up tomorrow and from there will start our summit push with a goal of standing on top of the world on the 15th. I am overwhelmed with a healthy combination of excitement and nervousness. My team is strong and now I am foaming at the mouth to get this thing going. Alongside Christopher, Rob, and I, there will be three Sherpa — one of them has 15 Summits and another has 10. Now, its a race to beat the weather and the pressure’s on for the rope fixers.
To the summit. Cheers!!