While channel surfing one evening before going to bed, I came across a TV show on the Discovery Channel that really struck a nerve with me. The name of the show was “Everest: Beyond the Limit.” https://go.discovery.com/tv-shows/everest-rescue
That very night while watching people climb and die on that mountain, I caught the very contagious climbing bug and fell in love with the idea of scaling the highest peak in the world. I knew someday I would have to conquer this mountain, so I started doing research online for anything and everything that had to do mountaineering. My research led me to the fact that I would have to train very hard and work my way up to that peak, so I should tackle one of the “easier” seven summits first, so I started with Kilimanjaro.
I asked my partner if he ever desired to climb. He was already in great shape and said he liked the idea of climbing Kilimanjaro, so I should go ahead and look into planning the trip. We picked the date of Jan 19-Feb 1, 2011, to tackle our first prominent peak together. Here is the provider we used. https://www.thomsontreks.com/route/the-grand-traverse/
I signed up with REI Adventures for a 3-day Winter Mountaineering Mt. Washington Winter Climb. It was my first hike ever, and it started the day after Thanksgiving. I could not think of a better way to burn off all the loads of stuffing I gobbled down.
“Mt. Washington is the most recognized peak on the east coast, towering above the valley at 6,288 feet. Winter climbs of this legendary mountain will challenge even the most experienced mountain traveler. Arctic temperatures, high winds, and deep snow make this peak an ideal training ground for those heading to Alaska, Rainier, or other high altitude climbs or those looking for a challenging winter mountaineering experience in the northeast. Join us for a guided winter ascent of Mt. Washington & put your outdoor wits and will to the test. Group climbing equipment, lodging, permits, and instruction are provided.”
I was introduced to my guide, Jim Gagne. A very experienced mountaineer. He was the first person in NH to summit all seven summits. The first day was the gear check. Jim showed me and three other climbers how to put on crampons, how to correctly distribute the weight in a pack, etc. The second day we practiced climbing on a relatively easy peak and did some safety training, and the third day we tackled Mt. Washington.
It was not an easy climb, at least for me. The weather records for Nov 28 show that the average wind speed as 48 mph and the max was 65mph. The max temperature was 15 degrees F, and the min was zero. What do you get when combining high winds and cold temps? You get a very icy, difficult climb. My googles completely froze over as we neared the summit, and I could not see where I was going. I did make it down in one piece, so it was a memorable climb.
After that, I trained with Jim on many peaks almost every weekend before I headed to Kili. He taught me how to race down a mountain and hop from boulder to boulder. (I need a lot more training once again to get back to that level of fitness.)
I have summited Kilimanjaro, Elbrus (Northside), Vinson, and made it to high camp on Denali-weather halted the expedition. I have yet to attempt Aconcagua, Carstensz, and Everest. I attempted in Oct of 2013 to climb Cho Oyu (not a seven summit but the sixth tallest mountain in the world) but only made it slightly below Camp One 21,000 ft. Most of my time was spent at Advanced Base Camp at 18,500 ft. (Everest’s base camp is 17,600 ft). My migraines halted me from going any further up the mountain. I altogether canceled my expedition to Aconcagua in Jan 2015 before I even left my house for the same reason.
My goal is still to finish climbing all of the seven (eight) summits. I thought I could finish up in 2019, but lack of training due to an injury in Jan has halted any such pursuits this year, but in 2020, I hope to get a few more peaks ticked off the list.
Before I hit any big mountain next, I have to start tackling the White Mountains again. I thought I would showcase in future posts the 4000 footers in NH I train on.
If you enjoy reading my posts about Egypt, STEM, Drones, MIT, mountains, or mysteries I hope you will want to run out and purchase my first book, “Osiris Returns”. With some luck, it should come to market late 2020 / early 2021. Please consider staying in the loop. An email sign-up form can be found at the bottom of my home page along with my social media links. Your email will only be used to alert you when it comes out. I will not use or share your email for any other purpose.