Today I packed for the trip to Everest with Trevor Day’s team. I can’t believe those words are coming out of my mouth. Everest. I am going to Mount Everest; I have to pinch myself. I feel as though I am in a dream as I am packing clothing, gear, worn hiking boots, playing cards, and Kind bars into my duffel. A hurricane of different emotions flood as I go through my equipment list, making sure that I have everything I will need during the expedition. I am excited, nervous, eager, and apprehensive all at once. I keep trying to prepare myself for what is the come and to finally be a part of something I have researched and read about for so long now. I cannot fathom what it will be like to finally be at the foot of Sagarmatha.
Climbing mountains is nothing new to me; I live in Colorado and spend most of my weekends and free time trekking throughout the state. Nothing makes me happier than being surrounded by the serenity of peaks and tackling a new climb. Although I frequent the peaks of Colorado, the highest in elevation I have climbed is roughly 14,265 feet on Colorado’s Mount Quandary. This is about 3,000 feet below Base Camp. I begin to worry about the possibility of altitude sickness. “What if I become impaired during the trek and can no longer carry on to assist James with the story? What if I become ill and need assistance? What if I can’t reach Base Camp?” I try to push thoughts like this away and remind myself “It’s not the altitude, it’s the attitude!” Along with this worry is a conflicting desire that longs to defeat such a task, to overcome AMS and high altitude climbing, a motivation that cannot be explained but only taken out on the mountain itself.
Although these aspirations ring strong from within there is a voice in the back of my mind reminding me of the risk involved. April 25th, just a few days ago, marked the year anniversary of the 7.8 earthquake that devastated Nepal. Not only did this devastate more than 21,000 people but the quake also triggered an avalanche from Pumori into Base Camp, killing 22. Admittedly, this event has terrified me but it has also given me an incredibly strong determination. I think of the 22 that are no longer able to make the trip and hope to carry their spirits with me as I travel to Base Camp to assist in Trevor’s research. It is worth the risk to go.. simply because I can, because I am able, and because the research Trevor is working on is important. I resonate with the research and with the people who long to be in the mountains. I know those that have passed would not want this tragedy to be a deterrent to those who feel the same inner calling.
As I begin to wrap up my packing, zip up my duffel, and wrap my bags in prayer flags I feel a sense of peace. There are risks with this upcoming trek that I recognize but there are also incredible experiences, research, and stories that lie ahead. Through all of my preparation I know that there is nothing that I can do to be fully prepared for what is to come. I am sure there will be difficult days but I am also sure that there will be wonderful days filled with irreplaceable moments. I hope to be open to both and learn lessons from each. I am looking forward to taking part in this journey and hope to provide a powerful voice for this story as it lies so close to the heart of ADInstruments.
“It’s not the mountains we conquer, but ourselves”- Sir Edmund Hillary, Auckland, NZ