Camp 1 – 65 mph Winds
Still snowing and blowing like a mother f’er!
Directions today: stay in tent all day. Period.
The crew is working hard to secure our tents, deliver hot water and keep the snow drift from taking over our little camp.
It is hard to leave your warm sleeping bag when the conditions outside are extreme. Most mountaineers easily use a pee bottle so they DONT have to leave the tent. For those who do not know, women use special made funnel, made for the ladies, to assist this process (“She-Pee”, “You Go Girl”, “Freshnet”). However, I have the hardest time using is when sharing a tent! My tent mate doesn’t care. In theory I don’t care (I’ve peed in front of people on Denali), but I get like stage fright! Ha! It took me 2 years to finally be able to pee in my scuba suit in the ocean. I will add this things I really need to practice back at basecamp.
Anyhow, back to the story, today was ALL day in the little tent. Try to sleep, intake calories, read, get to know your tent mate better and hope your tent doesn’t brake or blow over. Heavy Set and Atache would come by once in awhile to check on us and give us latest weather update. They’d have to yell, as the wind was too loud!
This is part of the deal, this is not unexpected, this is Everest! However, after 48+ hours stuck in your -40 bag, only able to lay flat or bend up at the waste, it’s hard on the body. My tent mate and I compared aches. Knees, hips and back are the usual suspects. You also need to vent your tent to reduce condensation, but impossible at such low temps. So, you have to manage the frosty interior, ice and snow cumulating inside your tent then occasional sun popping out and rapidly melting down all over you and your things. But, what else do you have to do all day?
The constant violent shaking of your tent and frigid cold started to zap my positivity. I sat there wondering if I could do exactly this for one more month (worst case situation). I wondered what my friends and family were doing at this same moment. My sister and cousins were looking for an Airbnb, with a pool, in Palm Springs, for June. I know my friends back in Vail just celebrated closing weekend on the mountain. My friends in So Cal were probably on an outside patio in Laguna Beach sipping “Chihuahuas” (so tasty). And here I (we) are in 65 mph winds and snow, praying my tent mates pee bag doesn’t leak, and/or the tent doesn’t brake. And to think “I PAID to do this”! This is what I spend all my money on. This is what I have spent all my time preparing for. And here I am living the Everest experience for sure. Have you tried to pee outside in 0 degrees and 65 mph winds? Oh, it takes skill!
Any mountaineer that’s says s/he doesn’t question their decision to climb Everest, at some point during the expedition, is LYING. We all have moments, usually when exhausted, freezing, sick, or sore, when we doubt. But, that is when your mental training needs to kick in. You have to turn negative thoughts around and start manifesting gratitude, growth, resilience, integrity and tenacity! I started thinking about what I was grateful at that exact moment. I WAS extremely grateful for that tent for protection, for my bag keeping my warm enough, for feeling really good (lungs, head, energy) at 19,800 ft and for remembering that I am fucking tough and pain is temporary. I, and this team, are resilient and tenacious and will wait this out.
So, I will sit here and take it. I will intake calories, stay warm, manage the frost and drip, listen to my audiobook (now listening to “Becoming” by Michelle Obama) and get through the dark.
(I am totally singing Annie “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow” in my head right now)
*Please by patient with any spelling or diction errors. I am dyslexic (proudly) and have little time to edit here in the Khumbu ;)