Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Living to Be 90

I know this is going to come up in the days and weeks ahead, so I'm getting out in front of it, I don't have a death wish. I plan on living into my 90s. The reality is that death is all around us, car accidents, cancer, home accidents, work accidents, carbon monoxide poisoning, getting hit by a car running, walking or bicycling, drowning, not to mention any sort of violent event.

I know that some of the things I do are dangerous. Yes, I know that had the serac fallen April 19th, I could be under it. In many ways, it's good that we all go home from Everest this year and spend time thinking about what happened, what could have happened, and how things can be different in the future. Ultimately though, this isn't going to stop most people on Everest this year from quitting mountaineering. Some people will quit climbing after a tragedy like this, others will never return to Everest or any 8000 meter peak. For many though, we can't let tragedy stop us.

Much of life involves risk assessment. Some people don't go out driving on the roads on Friday and Saturday nights because they are afraid of drunk drivers. Some people don't fly in airplanes because they are afraid of a crash. Some people eat organic food because they are afraid of pesticides and herbicides giving them cancer. Most people don't climb 8000 meter peaks because death rates are given in percentages. There are risks all around us. I just can't let every risk keep me from living my life. (Obviously a question I have to answer for myself over the coming months or years is, is the south col route on Everest too dangerous for me because of the Kumbu icefall? I used to say it was an acceptable risk, but I need to think on that more.)

I will keep doing "crazy" things, like mountaineering. Yet I really do plan to live to my 90s. I've even wondering about making it to 100. Maybe I won't. Whatever age I end at, I plan to live a very full life the whole way.
Me Hiking from Namche Bazaar (11,000 ft.) Up to Tengboche (12,600 ft.) April 10th

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