Wednesday, February 13, 2008


In many respects, there are plenty of little "gotcha" things that can reach up and scuttle this trip well before I even lay eyes on the Hillary Step. One of those items is simple enough- teeth. Get a cavity in Base Camp, and I'm not going any higher. In the Marines, a mandatory stop before you can deploy is a swing through dental to make sure that the chance of a tooth emergency is minimized. Last place you want to be with the need for root canal is some remote corner of the world with medieval tools jammed in your mouth while the rounds are flying.

Same goes for climbing. I watched one episode on TV where a climber was sitting at about 22,000' when a crown popped right out of his mouth. The pressure and temperature extremes made an exposed nerve go bananas, he immediately flipped out, and his climbing partners basically had to then deal with a crumpled mess in the snow. The team lead tried emergency tooth surgery with some sort of cotton jammed into the hole and rudimentary epoxy solution to try and re-attach the tooth. It didn't hold for more than an hour, which of course immediately led me to wonder what this world is coming to when you now can't find reputable epoxy in any quantity at 22,000 feet in the Himalayas. Anyway, to make a short story incredibly long the climber had to go down- climb over for him.

So who knows. Cavities happen and maybe one too many cups of yak butter tea will do in a molar mid-April. But having them checked out now seemed like a good idea and an effective way to minimize via preventive maintenance.

Now I can eat all the Sour Patch Kids I want with no worries, right? ;)

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