Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Mountains Teach Us

I have spent 10 of the last 12 days trekking, full days, from base camp, over the Ambulapcha Pass, Mera Peak, into Lukla, then two days to Phaplu with five Sherpas (and only one western person, me), followed yesterday by a 15 hour jeep ride, sitting four across in a Tata Sumo Gold. The only true rest day was in Lukla. I am tired. But my legs are restless from less than a mile of walking in the last 36 hours…

In a way, the long trek out was therapeutic. So much happened in my life in the last month. In one day 16 Sherpas died when a serac collapsed. This is what Everest has become, a place where Western climbers pay for locals to take their stuff through a dangerous area and make it so easy that inexperienced people have legitimate and high chances of summit success. I think it will change in the future, helicopter supplies above the Kumbu ice fall maybe.

There are a lot of emotions I am experiencing right now. I have a lot of thoughts about a lot of things. It will take some time to spill them all out.

In many ways this was very similar to my first backpacking trek in 2001. The mountains teach us about ourselves and about others, our relationships. They expose the weaknesses. They teach us what hard work counts for accomplishing things. They show us that when things go wrong, they can go really wrong. It's not about the mountains, this is true all around us, the mountains are just a microcosm at an accelerated pace.
Porters Carrying Ladders Up to Base Camp on April 20th, 2014
Most Everest refugees are already home. I am one of the last still here. It's depressing to be in Kathmandu May 8th. It's a lot more depressing to look at the list of the 17 dead Sherpas. One of the Sherpas who died, I don't know the name, had six kids, was divorced from his wife, and had custody of the kids. What a mess. 

Well, I don't know when I am getting home, but maybe as soon as Saturday. I will keep you notified. As a substitute, I have an idea for two "little" projects I want to do this year, including going back to the Tetons with some friends. I failed there in 2010, and I would like to try the Grand again. Life goes on. I will say, I have some things to talk through, and my friends and family I will be wanting to do some talking and walking in person this summer. You need to help me figure out what this means. A good question, what does this (Everest 2014) mean for you?

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