Thursday, May 21, 2009

Everest One Year On

It's hard to believe that one year ago to the day, I was standing on the roof of the world, watching the sun rise on a windless, cloudless and beautiful morning. So today on a day of reflection, I can't help but note how fast time can slide by.

On May 21st 2008, our team found itself in the thick of it. Pushing forward, one step at a time, we experienced the thrills of the climb in a manner where I had to catch myself on occasion and be reminded that like everything, it was not forever. One day, the climb would end and everything would become a memory. I wrote down everything I could, took pictures at every opportunity, and pressed myself to make the most of the experience. Largely, it worked and the memories remained intact. Giving slide shows or telling stories continues to remain as exciting for me now as the day I first placed foot on the Khumbu Icefall.

But now there is a new set of climbers, a new set of teams. It is their time, their turn. Beginning in March, I have been reading their stories one at a time as they have worked toward the summit. Some echo similar experiences to those our team faced. Many are new, steeped in human interaction and uniqueness. I want them to succeed, have their experiences, reap their rewards, and then return home safely.

So there I am- reading blogs, tracking the progress of my friends. Many have already summited- this years push happened a few days earlier than last year. The weather was a little warmer, the snowfall a little more irregular. These teams didn't have to face the threat of a Chinese blockade that forced slow progress to higher camps, but they did have their own challenges. I'm proud of them, and once again of the clear-cut display of human spirit that comes shining through as people defy a host of obstacles and overcome.

So it has been an interesting ride, and today of all days there are many things going through my head. Emotionally, it is a strange feeling to be sure. I can close my eyes and vividly recall my own experiences. I am there, in spirit. I crave to be back.

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