IT'S GO TIME!!!!! IMG Team 3 just got the call to begin our final assault on the summit of Mt. Everest at 2am tonight!!!! If all things go as planned, we will reach Camp II (~21,000') tomorrow, then take a rest day on Sunday. Monday we aim to move to Camp III (~24,000'), and on Tuesday (the 23rd) we hope to reach the South Col (~26,000'). Weather permitting, we will attempt to summit Mt. Everest on Wednesday May 24th. I hope to be back on the grid with an update by May 26th or 27th. Until then, please keep in mind that no news is good news1.
So how do I feel?
I feel pretty stoked… And ready. During the past 5 days at basecamp, I went on a few training hikes with rocks in my backpack, and I felt stronger than I anticipated, given the altitude. I felt the burn; but it was a good burn—the kind I used to feel in the lead-up to important crew races in college. I felt sharp and in-control of my body and my exertion. For the first time since arriving in Nepal almost 7 weeks ago, I feel like I could do a speed workout at altitude without risking overstraining myself.
My excitement is tempered by the butterflies in my stomach. I feel like I used to feel as we backed into the stakeboats at the start of a regatta: part of me wishes I could do one more "power ten" or technical drill before the starting gun, but part of me knows that those wishes are just my nerves signaling that I care about what lies ahead. Deep down, I trust my preparation. If I can avoid catching a cold or a cough for just a few more days, I will feel like I did just about everything I could to give myself the best odds possible of scaling the world's tallest mountain. And that will be a reassuring thought, regardless of the outcome.
I also feel incredibly supported---not only by the knowledge that you are following along and care about this dream and about intercultural exchange, but also by the myriad emails folks have sent expressing curiosity about the climb, well wishes for our ascent, and solidarity with Youth For Understanding's mission to help teens see the world through another's eyes. Our teammates from the trek to basecamp (with whom we spent our first 3-4 weeks in Nepal and shot a killer music video) probably took the cake in their exuberance—attached is a photo of just some of the signs that they have made and shared with us.
Onward! Upward! Talk to you on the other side!!!
1) IMG may continue posting updates for "Everest Team Three" over the next few days, but the updates won't mention specific climbers. I'll provide a personal update as soon as I can when we get down! https://www.mountainguides.com/everest-south17.shtml