Saturday, June 6, 2009

I'm going to Broad Peak and Pakistan

Monday I leave for Pakistan. A little over a week later I will arrive at Broad Peak base camp. Sometime in the middle of July I will most likely have the chance to summit the mountain at 26,401 feet. Then I have a return flight back on July 31st and I arrive in the states August 1st. In between now and then I will be terrified, scared, happy, excited, nervous, elated, tired, hungry, and extremes of just about every emotion I've ever experienced. I know that many people are worried or excited for me or both. In this, my final long post until August, I'm going to address a few things people might be wondering about:

Why am I doing this? - In high school I learned that I liked hiking and backpacking and climbing mountains. When I tell people I like climbing mountains the question that often comes up is: Would you like to climb Mt. Everest? Well, I read the books and decided that yes I would like to at least attempt Mt. Everest. In order to actually get things done I find that it is better to set a deadline and have intermediate goals. I've done the winter climbs, the technical climbs, the winter technical climbs, the descents in the dark and rain, the heavy backpacks, the falls, the bleeding, the alpine starts, and I've learned so much about every form of climbing there is. The next step is an expedition. Now I could go on a 3-4 week expedition to Alaska or South America and I would get a lot of experience. However, I had planned on graduating this May and having one last big fling before I start working for the man. So if I'm going to take one vacation it might as well be two months rather than one month. As it happens the climbing season in Nepal/India/China is either premonsoon March-May or post monsoon August-October. In Pakistan the climbing season is June-August which fits in with a academic schedule better. Additionally, after seeing enough pictures of mountains it becomes evident that Pakistan is host to the steepest, most hardcore mountains in the world. If I am going to spend two months of my life learning how to get to and walk above 26,000 feet then this is the place and now is as good of a time as any. 

On a deeper level why do I climb in general? - Read this article about risk taking in climbing. Willi Unsoeld, first ascent west ridge everest, once said "it has to be real enough to kill you." It's hard to describe. I am a very safe climber but many of the most memorable moments I've ever had climbing are the ones when I am totally in the moment looking at the line between safe and unsafe or when my safety system is so basic that I try not to think of how few things are keeping me safe or when I'm hungry tired and it's getting dark out. It's a thrill ride but it's real. It's also very slow I mean a few hundred feet an hour is pretty typical so there is a lot of time to think about the turnaround time and traffic jams. For the most part nothing happens suddenly so it is relaxing in a prolonged stress sort of way instead of instant heart attack way. Also the view from the middle of a 600 foot tall cliff or on top of a tall mountain is pretty sweet.

Do I have a death wish? - No, read the stuff above. There is no fear or deadly drama in my life sitting at a desk. I could spend all of my time trying to live longer or I could spend my time living. 

On an unrelated note, what am I doing with my life when I get back from Pakistan? - Finishing my degree at WPI. As for the mountaineering company, if I find one investor I will start it. On a side note I am taking prototype one and two of the ice axe to Pakistan. 

How can you follow me and hear about my adventures? - Check back to my blog, which my sister will be updating, and also to the Field Touring Alpine Blog for this particular expedition. When I get back I plan to produce about a 90 minute documentary about my first expedition. I will most likely show it at a WPI Outing Club meeting in the fall. 

How can you support me? - Pray for me. If you are not Christian  you could become Christian. If the first two options are not enough for you I will accept cash and checks in any amount to help pay for my adventures and my student loans. Send donations to:
WPI Box 1678
Worcester, MA 01609 
I will even wear your logo and use your stuff if you give me money. 

Finally, friends and family, I love so many of you and you guys have been awesome. Just be ready when I come back more hardcore, confident, and experienced. I've been shaking up this world for years now but the real shaking begins in 2009. There will be changes because I will change things.

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