|The South Face of Mt. Quandry's West Ridge January 2nd, 2014|
|Mt. Quandry's West Ridge|
In climbing and mountaineering the ability to do something is largely based on the confidence to just try it. Confidence is typically increased by having other people around, by having ropes, by a beaten trail, and not having to carry all of the equipment. As I compare this past week of training to the likely experience of Mt. Everest, in some respects, yesterday was harder. There was no fixed line for me like I anticipate on Everest, a fall might have been 1000 feet down. I had to do all the trail breaking. On Broad Peak one day I did about 200 meters of breaking trail up the fixed lines that had been buried by a snow storm a few days before. It was terribly exhausting! You try breaking trail at 19,000 feet! On Everest there will be so many climbers that I do not anticipate ever being the one out in front breaking trail. I would enjoy it if I was, but the reality is I doubt I will be. At the point yesterday when I pulled a class four move over some blocks and knew I was in the wrong place, there was fear about which way to go. On Everest I really really doubt I will ever get off route. In fact, I have heard that in places they even have two up (ascending climbers) fixed lines and one down (descending climbers) fixed line to accommodate all the people. The Hillary Step has an up and a down line. Try getting lost with three ropes all going the same direction. Finally, for every hard section I anticipate crossing there will be someone else around me to discuss with, probably to watch that person tackle the difficult portion, or at least to help me if I screw up and get hurt. That is so different from being at 13,000 feet more than a mile over rugged terrain from the nearest person.
Mountaineering solo is hard, but in the hardest endeavors we often find the most satisfaction. Don't only do what is easy, do what is hard.