Sunday, May 16, 2010

Summit push is on!


Wow! After 21 days of waiting at E.B.C. and 14 years of constant dreaming, it is now time for me to begin my summit attempt of Mount Everest. I am so excited, thrilled, anxious, scared and more. I take comfort in my favorite Bible verse of all time: Philippians 4:13. The verse states, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” For me, this 8 day endeavor to stand on the roof of the world and return safely will be the most physically demanding thing I have ever done. When the word ‘strength’ is mentioned, it is not only physical strength that will be required of me to stand on top of Mount Everest. Mental strength will also be paramount. The mental strength to keep pushing even though I will be exhausted. The mental strength to constantly reassure myself that I really do have what it takes to summit and that I truly have earned the privilege to climb Mount Everest. Perhaps, most importantly, the mental strength and clarity of thought to determine whether or not to continue up or turn around and be able to climb another day. I do not know, and I often ponder what I will face while high on the slopes of Mount Everest. Unsafe weather conditions, extreme cold, snow/avalanche conditions, the frozen corpses of past climbers, and a host of other factors will weigh heavily on my mind as I travel heavenward. As I have stated many times in the past, climbing safely and returning home to my family is much more important than any accolades I might receive from a summit of Everest.

Here is my anticipated climbing schedule for the next 8 days.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010 – leave E.B.C. at 5:00 a.m. and climb directly to Camp 2.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 – Rest day at Camp 2.

Thursday, May 20, 2010- Rest day at Camp 2.

Friday, May 21, 2010- Climb from Camp 2 to Camp 3.

Saturday, May 22, 2010 – Climb from Camp 3 to Camp 4 arriving no later than 1:00 p.m.

Saturday, May 22, 2010 – leave Camp 4 at 9:00 p.m. for the rooftop of the world.

Sunday, May 23, 2010 – God willing, I will summit Mount Everest around 7:00 a.m. and return to Camp 4.

Monday, May 24, 2010 – Climb down from Camp 4 to Camp 2. Call home, update blog.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 – Climb down from Camp 2 to E.B.C. Call home, update blog.

For those who are interested, the time difference between Denver, Colorado and Mount Everest is 11hrs 45min, with Denver being behind. This may help in determining where I am on the mountain in real time. If possible, I will call my wife and she will update this blog as information becomes available so please check in daily.

I am humbly amazed that I have so many people all across the world praying specifically for the team and I. Thank you! May God richly bless your life as He has mine.

Summits of Everest. At what cost?

I sit here at E.B.C. typing away on the computer knowing that right now, at this very moment, there are many people either standing on the summit of Mount Everest or are closing in on the final, few, hard won meters. I salute their courage and tenacity. However, the summit is only halfway. What good is standing on top if you can’t make it down? From the several radio transmissions we have heard a few of these people have been climbing toward the summit for more than 12 hours. They have been climbing through wind gusts in excess of 50 m.p.h. Their oxygen supply must be getting dangerously low. Their chance of severe frostbite is almost certain. Of course the latter observations are pure conjecture. Either way the conditions that these climbers are enduring are outside of our team’s realm of safety. I understand the possibility of trying for the summit if there was no acceptable weather window in sight. I understand trying if your remaining days on the mountain were limited. From what our team can determine a very suitable weather window is developing in just a week’s time. The winds are forecasted to diminish to a more suitable level, the chance of precipitation is dwindling, and the summit temperatures are expected to rise to a very balmy –13F. I do not know what leads one climber to accept certain conditions and another climber to whole-heartedly disagree and reject them as unsafe. I do know that we all have the same goal in mind and that is to stand on top of the world and return home safely. And safety is what I am hoping for for these few brave souls who are presently enduring extreme conditions. No mountain in the world is worth a person’s life. No mountain is worth not returning home to the loving arms of family and friends. For now we will continue to analyze the data presented to us in the hope that we will soon receive our chance of scaling the upper reaches of Mount Everest.