Friday, May 16, 2008

16 May: Final Prep Day

Well, tomorrow at 4am we step off on what will amount to a culmination of the last two months worth of hard effort. In many ways, each of us has followed a path that has led us here for different reasons. But ultimately, we formed a tight-knit team that works well together and most importantly, shares a camaraderie that is unique among groups we are on the mountain with. Hearing other guides and members who have transited our camp, they almost all talk about how much closer we are than their teams, have better attitudes than other members, are more driven and capable than their companions. This will by no means be easy- but at least we will do it together, all the way up to the top.

I'll have to paraphrase this, because I can't research the direct quote from here. But, I remember the gist of it- Teddy Roosevelt’s "Man in the Arena" speech: "Far better it is to dare mighty things than to take legion with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory nor defeat." The point being: never give up, never give in. Keep going, and always, when given the chance, chase your dreams. Push yourself. How else can you know what you are capable of? And then when it's all over, and when you have succeeded in your goal? It's all the more sweet. You relish life and all it has to offer, making every day a blessing and feeling better about yourself and those who have supported you in darker, more trying days than you did the day before. And then, a few weeks from now when we are all home with our families and friends, we have stories, great laughs and wide smiles. It's truly that great.

Walking around Base Camp these days, you can see the looks in peoples' eyes, and who knows- it might be in mine also. Can I do this? The epic push that the six of us are about to embark on tomorrow morning in the early hours is something that we need to take in stages- if you think about this in the whole, it'll overload you. Very much like the way you succeed in weathering certain events that you find in the Marines, you do what you are told by those who have been here before, follow your training and be careful. Willie and our Sherpas have explained it in simple terms: take it one step at a time, one stage at a time. Don't think of it as a straight push from Base Camp to Summit. Think of it as tomorrow, we go for Camp II. Two days later, we move up to Camp III. In that manner, it's easier to digest and tackle. But the most important thing is knowing that if for some reason I falter, Francisco, Willie, Tendi, Lhakpa, or Danuru are there to help me press on. And likewise, if any one of those other people has a problem, I'm there for them, too. Teamwork on our team is strong and has been developed to the point where we can function as a single team. We may not be the strongest, fastest, or most skilled team out here, but we are closer and tighter than just about anyone. I'll take that over any other combination any day.

So hopefully (knock on wood) and everything going according to plan, in about five days the six of us will be standing on the roof of the world. Bridie will be updating regularly as we progress, using a radio to keep in touch with us and reporting here. Once we get down, I'll upload pics and a personal blog on each day and what we encountered. We all promise to be safe, careful, and watch out for each other as we move up and down the mountain, which is the least we can do for those at home who are watching and concerned.

All for now, have a great week and please keep your fingers crossed for our team!

Willie, Doug, Francisco, Lhakpa, Tendi and Danuru
Mountain Madness Everest Team '08

Next: Climb to Camp II

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