It is GO TIME for my final phase, the summit rotation!
It looks like there should be a good summit weather window for me between the 22nd and the 26th. As such, the plan is to head up to Camp 2 tonight and wait up there for the right opportunity as that window approaches and we get more clarity on the forecast.
If I’m feeling strong, the crowds are somewhere else and the weather continues to trend well, then summit day will be towards the front of that window. If the crowds amass, or the best weather trends later, I will likely stretch my legs to Camp 3 and return for a couple of rest days in Camp 2 before the bid. Either way, in the next week I should get my shot!
I am both excited and nervous. The big boss here rightly noted that the only reason to be nervous is if you are unsure of what you are doing. At least for me – without Os – I am also stepping into the unknown above 8,000m. I should perform well up there, but who knows. The final couple of hours was just described to me as ‘crippling’. I’m not scared, just worried that I might not perform as well as I want, or be physically unable to make it. In any case, I’m going to give it every single thing I have. Everything else is out of my control, so I’m focused only on what I can control.
Without oxygen I’m looking at a summit time of 12-14 hours (so a 15-18 hour day), as my best guess. Unlike most climbers I will leave in early hours of the morning to avoid the worst of the night cold, so I hope I can summit by mid afternoon. It’s a risk with the weather, but here’s hoping. In a perfect world that gives me the summit of the world to myself. Can you imagine!!
How to create that drive on the day itself? Last time, from Camp 3 towards the South Col, I realized that is was the same distance I sometime walk my 4 year old nephew to school. He hides behind trees so it takes ages, just like the climb! I just visualized the stage as that same walk with him. How hard can it be! I’ll use the same plan on summit day. I’m also remembering some quotes over the years which have got me through. Here is a favorite which I will write out and take up with me. I’m a normal person; I need these reminders as I go!
Pain is temporary. It may last for a minute, or an hour, or a day, or even a year. But eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it will last forever.
I want to thank everyone for your support along the way, it means a huge amount to me. You are the final piece of the motivation puzzle, and I shall be thinking of that support when the night is darkest. I thank you in advance for getting me through it!!
Fingers and toes crossed, for the summit and a safe return!