Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Famous?

People I barely know are finding out how I spend my free time and money. And I think it is surprising for many of them. Recently at the coffee shop, a woman came up to me, "I heard a rumor about you." I replied, "it's probably true." Then we proceeded to talk about Everest for five minutes without actually mentioning the word Everest. One of the things she said was, "you're going to be famous." No one has ever said that to me, at least not in a long time.

To be honest, I think I preferred the lead up to Pakistan. It was more about climbing than a "bucket list" item. Most people didn't have a clue where it was, the name of the mountain I was climbing, or really know much about mountaineering and expeditions in general. When one mentions Everest, everyone has read a book or seen a show on television. There is an expectation, often incorrect, of climbing Everest over dead bodies, without enough experience, running out of oxygen, waiting in lines, and lots of people dying. Yet most 8000 meter peaks have those hazards to some extent.

So it is strange to me that on one hand, many more people will be interested in my climb than in 2009 because they have heard about it, and on the other hand the mountain itself is likely more safe and more developed and in many ways, almost less interesting. There is cell phone service near basecamp. There will be fixed ropes likely the entire way, not just the sections steeper than 30 degrees. It's an interesting experience to live through, the difference between attempting the 12th and 1st highest mountains.

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