We've made our last trip up the mountain before our summit bid. I've reached the highest elevation in my climbing career too. I'm healthy. I feel strong. Mentally, I couldn't ask to be in a better frame of mind at this stage of the expedition. Things are shaping up for a great attempt at reaching for the highest peak on Earth. Except for the weather right now. It's been snowing up and down the mountain and wind has been plaguing efforts to fix ropes between camp four and the summit. There won't be any summit attempts this week. So we're taking a well-deserved break.
Tomorrow, my guide John and teammate Darrell will head down the valley about 1200 meters in elevation to the village of Dingboche for a few nights. I will stay in base camp. It was an easy decision not to go down. I had a choice: stay somewhere where I feel strong and know I'm well-cared for, or go down and risk getting sick from unhygienic conditions in an unfamiliar location. The decision was easy. I'm not compromising strength by staying in base camp. Our cooks are super clean and no one has gotten sick from anything we've eaten.
For me, climbing on an expedition like this one is an exercise in prudence and compromise. I know I have to be careful about health, hygiene and diet in order to be careful. Sure, the mental break of getting off the mountain would be a welcome change. But will it mean success more than staying healthy? I don't know if I'd get sick going to Dingboche or not. But I do know I'm not likely to get sick spending time in base camp. Sometimes the boring decisions are the right ones. So I'm staying put. I'll be here for at least the next five nights waiting for a weather window to invite the team to the summit. While I wait, I'll wander around in the valley immediately below base camp, climbing up several hundred meters and then coming back for good meals and better sleep.
For more details, visit Rob's No Guts Know Glory Everest Expedition blog.