Life at EBC
My apologies for not blogging the last 10 days. Yep, we are still at EBC, waiting for a good weather window to open for summit bid. There have been 2 2-day windows since our return. However, the 1 st opportunity would have required us to go right back up the mountain after returning from our 2nd rotation. We needed time to recover. The 2nd opportunity is May 21st ISH, but not ideal for us. This is more of an option for just a client/guide team, easier to weave around bottlenecks and groups. However, as a team of 7 climbers and 3 guides, a 3-day window is desired. Our guides know what they are doing and this 2nd window is not good for us. It looks like the jet stream moves away around May 26th, giving us a safer, less windy and warmer summit window. Sounds delightful, right? Exactly, but this means we have 10-14 days sitting at base camp (17,500 ft). So, what does this look like:
- Recovery (or not) – our #1 goal at EBC is to take care our ourselves. (Sleep, eat, self care)
- Watching shared movies in the dinner tent
- 3-4 hour day hikes here and there
- Checking the weather report every night
- And of course hoping wi-fi works to get caught up on socials/WhatsApp/email
After returning to EBC, my body felt weaker every day, throughout my entire body. We went for a hike to Pumori Camp 1 and I was WASTED. I could not keep up with the group. My legs were tired, I was choking on sinus back drip, and my motivation evaporated fast. I turned back early to return to camp! WTF? What was happening? This started doubt, fear, and quickly spun me into a mental fuck
I had a really hard day. So, I needed a new strategy, to get myself back on track.
With tears in my eyes, truly frightened my strength was gone, I spoke with Mua’ Dib and Attaché. They assured me this was normal, that I was strong and I just needed to concentrate on taking care of myself myself.
I had never felt so weak. It worried me that I was I was scared. I was letting the obstacle be bigger than my goal. This is part of the challenge, MY challenge. It is ok to feel fear, but I need to master it before we set back up the mountain. My new plan is as follows:
- Eat more – If I’m awake, I need to be eating something. All of us have dropped a lot of weight. It is expected. But our bodies are getting weaker, so we need to be eating protein, fat and consuming as many calories as possible.
- Sleep more – let our bodies and minds rest and repair as much as possible. We ARE getting out for day hikes, but individually monitoring what our bodies can handle right now. Some of us had a virus (snot and coughing) after returning to EBC and it is better to completely recover, than to push yourself in a hike. There is a polar side of that though… LETHARGY definitely sets in after numerous days waiting at basecamp. Man, you get used to JUST sleeping, eating, napping, eating, watch a movie, snack, eat, go to bed. You DO have to pull yourself back up, remember you were a super fit athlete about 2 weeks ago… AND GET OFF YOUR ASS!
- Listened to music that inspires me (my playlists)
- Repeat my mantra
- Treat ANY symptom immediately – do NOT be tough, do not wait things to improve, do NOT pass go, do not collect $200. Treat the smallest issue and give our bodies the time to recover before summit push. Ailments will NOT improve as we move up the mountain
With a plan in place, something I could control and take care of, my mental health improved quickly and my head is back in the game. Everyone has a bad day on Everest. I am no different. I am learning a deeper level of grit and determination needed to reach my goal.
We are hunkered down at base camp, supporting each other and waiting for our shot on the hill.