I Did It! (Part 1)

Success!! On May 25th at 10.50am I summitted Mt Everest without using supplemental oxygen! I am now back in Kathmandu (no working internet in the Khumbu when I got down!), fit and well, if a little tired, bearded and sunburned.

Summit of Mt Everest! Check out the sunglasses reflection!


Before I get into the story let me take this moment to thank my parents, family, friends, the IMG team, my Sherpa guide Thunang and of course everyone reading this blog – YOU. Without your support and belief it wouldn’t have happened.

It had been a pretty wild ride since I left base camp 14 days ago! Let me start at the beginning, with a slight detour that set the tone for the summit bid!

The first drama occured before I had even started on the first stage of the summit rotation! At 3am we left Base Camp for Camp 2 at 6,500m/21,600ft, crossing the gravel-covered Khumbu glacier towards the place we attach out crampons (descriptively called ‘crampon point’), Going over one of the little ice ridges in the dark I slipped on some clear refrozen ice and went crashing down, putting my hand out to brace myself. That was a mistake, and I knew straight away I’d done something to it – a strange moment when I just sat there not wanting to move because I didn’t want to know if I’d broken something. Eventually, when I gave it a wiggle it seemed to do the right things, yet it also didn’t feel right and hurt quite a bit.

Sitting there I was almost in shock that my summit bid could be over before it had begun, and for such a daft reason! It was one of the worst feelings I’ve ever had, almost a despair that all the time, energy and effort had gone to waste; that it had all been for nothing. I had probably just thrown away my one chance in a single innocuous moment. That said, I wasn’t going to go down without a fight. Tentatively I got back up, “shook it off”, and continued to climb the icefall to Camp 2!

It hurt a lot, but at least for the gripping / pulling motions needed for climbing I could still function well enough, or use my left hand instead. For other motions like picking things up it was agony but those weren’t needed to climb! Perhaps I wasn’t done with this summit bid yet, so at Camp 2 I iced it and stuck with the plan. I also didn’t tell anyone – I figured I’d do that if and when it became a problem. Fortunately it wasn’t!

Swelling on my fractured wrist at Camp 2. But I got through it.


EPILOGUE – When I got back to base camp one of the Himalayan Rescue Association doctors (a Harvard trained ER doctor no less!) took a look at at. It IS fractured! My first broken bone as well.

So I am probably one of the few people to summit Everest with a broken wrist. Why make it easy, eh! 😀

Stay tuned for the next installment!

James

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7 comments

  1. lakepalestine · June 3

    Yeow, bet that did give you a deep sinking feeling. But, hey, what’s a little broken bone when the mission is on. Good work! Saw your summit reported and let loose a cheer for you. What an amazing accomplishment to summit without O’s, when people die from the lack of it at lesser altitudes. So happy for you!
    Bruce Jordan
    Texas

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    • jamesrbrooman · June 3

      Thanks! Yeah just keep soldiering on, that’s the key! I’m very fortunate it all worked out though!

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  2. Riley · June 3

    James congrats! It was great meeting you in Pheriche with the rest of the RMI group. Eryn and I have been following the blog since leaving Nepal, awesome to see you made it! Hope you get healed up soon and enjoy some R&R.

    -Riley S.

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    • jamesrbrooman · June 3

      Thanks Riley!! Hope you had a good rest of the trek with the group, great to meet you and Casey there!!

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    • jamesrbrooman · June 3

      Thanks Riley! Was great to meet you and Casey up there – hope you had a good trek back down!! 😀

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  3. Chocolata · June 4

    Congratulations, James. Well done. And with a broken wrist to boot….
    Your struggles have left quite an impact on me. I was working in my metal studio and became very frustrated with the piece I was working on. About to quit, I thought of you and said, “Hang on, James doesn’t quit.” I carried on. Best piece I made that day!
    Look forward to the rest of the story.
    Cheers,
    Lisa

    Like

    • jamesrbrooman · June 5

      That’s awesome! See, amazing what happens if you just take that one last step!

      Like

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