Last Post Before Summitting?

Last update I wrote was from Nyalam, a town we rested in while on the road in Tibet to help with acclimatization. It was the last place with an Internet connection; I am sending this through a sat-phone modem (for a modest price). Since there will not be that many interesting and exciting things for the next couple of weeks, I will probably not be writing too much, if anything. Using people’s computers that have been charged by even different people’s solar panels, I don’t want to be hogging their equipment for little updates. You can get most of what I would write at www.summitclimbnews.com for the next few days while we try to go to the higher camps for our acclimatization. Make sure to tune in to www.summitclimbnews.com close to the end of the month (Sep 24/26 or so) as that is when we should be starting our summit attempts.

But I will make the most of this post and fill you in on the happenings lately.

After Nyalam we moved to Tingri, another town along the way that was a little bit higher in elevation where we rested for a couple of nights. Here is where I started feeling really shitty. The food was horrible, and even though I was forcing myself to eat, I found myself losing weight (noticed by my watch fitting looser), low on energy, etc. It didn’t help that we had the exact same dish of crappy Chinese food for four meals straight. Now some food I could eat for 4 meals in a row (tomato soup, spaghetti), but this was definitely not it. Not sure if this is also somehow tied in but I started to get some stomach issues that made me go to the bathroom more frequently than I would have liked.

Now there is a reason I am getting into the details above. Here success, which is either reaching the summit, getting as far as your body lets you, or any other personal goal people may have set for themselves, are not really dependent on one’s climbing ability. They are dependent more on staying healthy and avoiding getting affected by altitude, bad food, unclean water, lacking sanitary conditions, colds, coughs, sore throats, bad nutrition, you name it. It’s basic survival. For each of the things above there’s either pills you can take to prevent/treat it, or a method you can implement (boil water, sanitize/wash hands, etc.) This gives the entire expedition a weird focus, as people are constantly popping pills, waiting for water to boil, worrying about clean hands. I myself do the same, as one slip-up in getting an upset stomach at the wrong time can end my expedition. I limit my pill-popping to Diamox for altitude reasons, though I took some stomach antibiotics at base camp to get rid of something my body could not fight on its own.

After Tingri we moved to Base Camp (BC), where we set up some tents for sleeping, as well as a dining tent and a separate kitchen tent. Here we were finally free of the food forced upon us in the towns, and we had our own cook make meals from our own food. The food was unbelievably delicious! Even rice, which we were sick of after almost a week of it non-stop, was delicious compared to the stuff we had previously.

Now the fact that the food was good may seem like such an insignificant fact, but really it is a necessary physical as well as psychological ingredient to successfully climbing a mountain. We will end up losing lots of weight on this trip, and if we can’t even build a good base at the start we have no chance of any success.

To be continued…

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