I am a little more then two weeks away from departing to Pakistan. I have been busy packing, weighing, and buying. Right now I have about 250lbs of gear that I need to transport to Pakistan. Including 15 stoves and pot sets (THANKS LISA at JETBOIL), 50lbs of food and drink, three sleeping bags, 2 sleeping pads, 3 ice axes, crampons, medical kit, repair kit, clothing for 3 months(of course it is not that much and will probably stink to high heaven by the time I find a washing machine!), and so many other little things that make life bearable on the mountain.
I am looking forward to celebrating my grandparents 65th Wedding Anniversary on the 31st of May. It is an accomplishment that is far harder then climbing K2. They were married during WWII in San Antonio, Texas. They are an example to follow in life and relationships. Always be happy with where you are at in life, and do not waste your time wishing for what you do not have. It does not mean you do not strive for something better, but simply realize that you have control of your emotions and where you are going in your life. Celebrate everything that you do have and revel in the joy’s of your family. That point is being struck home right now because my grandmother has been in the hospital the past 10 days with an E-coli infection. It has been a touch and go process, and I am very thankful that I am close by to support them. My Grandmother keeps telling the doctors she needs to get out because she has a party to go to!
After that celebration, I will drive to Michigan from Tahoe City with my sister, unpack my trailer, repack my storage unit, and get everything weighed and loaded into 4 bags. Whew, I cannot wait to get onto the mountain where life will be simpler, but certainly not easier. My life has had many changes in the past few months, and I can only anticipate that it will change more over the course of the climb. I am looking forward to this climb as a time of personal reflection and pushing the limits of my ability at high altitude. But the key to any climb is to do it safely and be aware of your environment. No climb is without risk, and this one has its set of challenges.
One of the most common questions I am asked is how I train for something like this. I have been focusing on cardio workouts and altitude gain. I try to do 1-3 hours a day of running, biking, or hiking with a pack. Truth be told, my strength lies in my ability to keep walking all day with a heavy pack. I have never been a gym rat, but I do love going outside and experiencing a good runner’s high. My ankle has healed very nicely thanks to the ART treatment that I got from Dr. Karen Slota. It allowed me to start running again after my ankle surgery. Unfortunately, I waited almost a year before I sought her treatment.
I do want to thank all my family and friends who support me in this endeavor. I know it is a hard thing to experience from their perspective, and not many people understand. But to those of you who have given me your unconditional support I thank you.
Climb Hard, Climb High, Come Home!