My backpack is nearly packed, I’ve spent most of the morning checking and re-checking gear and packing the essentials that I will need for the summit rotation - extra warm clothes, crampons, food (mostly sugar), a small supply of meds to manage my constant nasal congestion, chemical hand and foot warmers.
After months of thinking about and preparing for it, it’s time to climb to the summit! I feel 50% excited and 50% anxious, which is an improvement over yesterday when I was 75% anxious. I am keeping my mind focussed on what I need to accomplish each day, which helps me to not get overwhelmed.
Tonight, around midnight, the Madison Mountaineering team will depart for camp 2. I’ve climbed there twice already, so the terrain is familiar and, aside from spending hours in the shifty Khumbu icefall, I know what to expect.
The following day, the team will rest at camp 2, and the day after we will climb to camp 3, which is also familiar. After that, I’m stepping into the unknown … the next day the team will climb to camp 4, which is situated on the south col, and at 26,000 feet is the last stop before the summit. I’m feeling healthy and strong - although I can’t believe how much muscle I have lost in the past month! Plus, above camp 2 I will be using bottled oxygen, which will help to keep me warm and alert.
I know that the next week will present incredible challenges for me - mentally and physically - but I am confident that I have the skill and ability to overcome those challenges. I also realize that those challenges are not meant to stop me from reaching my goal, they are a part of the path to my goal.
I also feel incredibly grateful that I have even been afforded this opportunity, as there have been a lot of obstacles that threatened to prevent this climb for me.
All of the preparation is over, and there is just one thing left to do!
While I am on the mountain, you can find regular updates here.