Thank you all for following what I will now call my Journey. First off, I did not make it to the top. It was very dissapointing to have to turn back, but I learned soooo much. So much that I am booked to do it again on Sep 1,2,3. Now, I must say that I did have alot of fun! I never mentioned who I got to climb with which was amazing in itself, but when we got to climbing morning we had an additonal world class climber. I was able to climb with Ed Viesturs (Arguably the top climber in the world), Peter Whittaker (Nephew to Lou Whittaker, the first American to climb Everest), and then Melissa Arnot (the top female climber in the world – she just got off Everest for the 3rd time a month ago) jumps out of the van to greet us with Ed. It was unbelievable! And then when we were climbing up to Camp Muir, Phil Ershler was coming down. He’s climbed Everest over 400 times. Ed and Peter both said this was one of their mentors. So what Ed, Peter, and Melissa were to us, Phil was to them, so we knew we were in the presence of someone special. Then when we were coming down we ran into Dave Hahn another world class climber and who is great friends with Ed and Peter and just got off Everest with Melissa. It was ridiculous who we got to meet.
As far as the climb itself I’m not quite sure what happened. On climbing day we left Paradise at 10am and got to Camp Muir in 5 hours, which was really good and I felt really good. We ate, prepared for the morning climb, and got to bed at 6pm. I was able to get about 2 hours of sleep which is actually pretty good. We ended up getting up at 11pm, ate, and took off at midnight for the summit. I felt as good as one could when we took off. We took off across the Cowlitz Glacier and got across fine, but when we went up the Cathedral Gap alot of the snow had melted and we had to walk up rocks and sand and it was like trying to run out of quicksand and we had just started out. We got to Ingraham flats and took a break and for some reason I already knew I was in trouble. I knew I was way too tired for just starting out the second and hardest day. I have no excuses, but I don’t even have an aswer to what happened. I was right behind Melissa on her rope and she was checking up on me and she told me the next day that physically I could make it and that wasn’t the issue (I will say here that when I decided to turn back, it was right after I almost pulled Melissa into a crevasse. She was about 15 feet ahead of me leading the rope and I stopped to take a deep breath and it pulled her back just as she was stepping over a crevasse, which I didn’t know or could even see. She very nicely called out to me, “Thomas can you please keep coming, I am stepping over a crevasse”. I got over the crevasse and then so did Chip behind me and our 2nd guide Ben who was at the end of the rope. I took about 20 more steps and made sure everyone was over the crevasse and then called out to Mellisa and told her I was done. I didn’t want to put anyone at risk again). Ben took me back down and what a class act. He made me feel as if I had made it to the top as we were going back to Camp Muir. He had mentioned that sometimes people who have never climbed at night can have a problem with that. I don’t know if that’s it, or the fact that I barely ate any breakfast. I asked Ed what his thoughts were because He had seen me on the way to Muir lagging a little bit he called me out and I picked it up and he said he was impressed to see me pick it up so quick. I stayed in back on purpose and would go as slow as they would let me. Even Peter said I had the best techniques of the group, so I wasn’t sure what it was. Ed had mentioned before that climbing is 50% physical and 50% mental and he said I very well could have psyched myself right out of the summit, because everything else was there and it didn’t make sense. Even Melissa told me that I just may not have been aware of what I was getting into at first, but now that I know she told me to get back up in 2 weeks.
Yes I had to quit, but I am not a quitter; that’s why I am already booked again. I will say that I am doing a 3 day climb instead of a 2 day climb. Instead of going to Camp Muir day 1 and then summit day 2, I will go to Camp Muir day 1, go to Ingraham flats and camp there day 2, and go for the summit day 3. Ed told me, “Thomas, climbing is a journey”, and I told him, “I’m into the destination”, he said,”that might be why you missed it”. So I am going to enjoy the “Journey” more with a 3 day trip instead of a 2 day trip.
Stay tuned for our next climb