Thursday, March 16, 2006

Three Weeks to Go

Recently an old climbing friend emailed me to find out how things were going for Cho Oyu. Here's what I told him:

I leave in less than three weeks (April 4). It's the usual mixture of excitement, nerves, and the occasional tendril of fear if I let my mind wander to thoughts of getting whited out on the summit plateau at 8000m. Everything's booked, my gear is all ready to go (not that that stops me from fussing with it!). I'm at the point in my training where nothing I do now will make much of a difference. You always wonder if you could have trained more, but I'm feeling pretty strong. Up and down Blackstrap for two hours today with big boots and pack and no breaks. But the real test will be on the hill.

It's strange to be going without Shelley, she's been my constant climbing partner for 10 expeditions over the last 20 years. Also strange to not have a team for the first time, but I'm kind of looking forward to that part. No one else to worry about, no one to fall behind or get ahead, no big logistics. It's a much simpler game, just me and the mountain, and that's appealing. With the right partner can be better than solo, but big teams can be worse.

Of course, so much of it is a crap shoot - I just have to hope I acclimatize, stay healthy, and get decent weather.

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