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Below is an excerpt from Alison’s Everest Blog. The full blog can be found here.
May 23, 2010 Summit, Deconstructed
We have lost radio contact with base camp. They have no idea of the weather conditions up high where we are. In order to not worry people reading their blog they report on the cybercast that the weather is pretty good but there is an “increased chance of precipitation.” This is like saying that there is an “increased chance” Lindsay Lohan will be found passed out drunk of the floor of Les Doux. The reality was that just about every base camp manager of every major expedition on the mountain was worried about us and many stayed up throughout the entire night in their attempts to check in on us. It’s a tight group on the mountain. Everyone pulls together to help everyone. The good folks do anyway…
There is no way we are going to climb for long in this weather. We keep moving. Lakpa is first in line and is leading the way, followed by Chewang and then me. They are breaking trail and are kicking in steps since there is a decent amount of new snow. Their steps are too big for me. I hate being short. Trying to use their steps is exhausting so I do my best to kick in my own.
About 90 minutes into the climb I look up and see a big group of headlamps ahead of us. It takes me a minute to realize that the headlamps are pointing TOWARD us. That’s not the way to the summit guys. They finally reach us and their guide tells us that the weather conditions are too extreme for them to continue–they are calling it quits and are heading back to camp. He says, “I hope we don’t regret this decision.” There is a part of me that is hoping that we will turn around in the crappy weather too as the winds and snow are making me nervous. I don’t know if I can do this. Visibility is horrible. I know Meg would tell me to ignore the pain/discomfort and to just put my head down and keep taking steps uphill. She was a fighter. Much moreso than I am.
We keep climbing throughout the night and the early morning. We reach a 90’ vertical rock pitch. No one told me about this!!! Apparently the fixed lines sometimes go around it but this year the lines go straight up and over. One by one, so do we. I am out of breath, even with my oxygen tank feeding me. We reach the South Summit (28,500’). This was where I turned around back in 2002 and was the highest point I had reached on this mountain. I don’t remember ever being here AT ALL. I have no idea how I even got this far on my last trip. I have no idea how I got this far on THIS TRIP. We keep moving. I look down. Southwest face on one side and Kangshung face on the other. Slipping is not an option. Up ahead, the Hillary Step.
8:00 AM. I see something in the distance… (read more)
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