Final Prep

everest-gear-sortThere is a little over a week before I go. Lucky for me I love gear, because for Everest I need a lot of it.  The list is too long to duplicate, but needless to say there are duplicates of many items. Going through everything, checking it twice, takes time. But there is another process that is occurring.  I am about to leave the world for several months and I need to prepare everything else for the time I am away. Climbing Everest is not just a physical challenge, it is a mental challenge as well. Not a mental challenge like an extremely technical climb is, but one in which you have to keep a focused headspace.

I leave Saskatoon in the last grips of a long cold winter, to go and climb up into a colder and meaner one, and when I return several months from now I know I will be able to feel green grass beneath my toes and warm sun on my face.  I suspect I will get none of that until I return in June. It will be a thought that occupies my mind from time to time as I climb against lashing cold winds…. And then there is being apart from my wife.  There will be a lot of hard moments on the mountain.  I know that, but one of the hardest will be when I say goodbye to my wife as she leaves base camp to go down, and I turn back towards the mountain looking up at what I have to climb without her.

As I continue to sort through the gear, stuffing it into compression sacks, deciding to take which “lucky bowl and cup”, which prussic, which ‘bineers, which toque to take (well there is no question on that one: I have been wearing the same toque for years and during last summer, getting ready for another climb, I could not find my toque, and my wife thought I was bananas tearing apart my gear room and then house until I found it), there is a sense of finality to things.  This is it, this is what I have put so much time and treasure toward for so many years. This is really happening, not next year or the year after that but now.  And this is my time.  I feel mentally and physically this is my best time to go.  My climbing partner Dan Branham feels the same way, we are ready.  Let us hope for good weather and let us not get sick, and those two factors combined will give us our best chance.

Hopefully this year for Dan and me, Everest lets us climb to the top.

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4 Comments

  1. Candi
    Mar 14, 2013

    Best of luck. We will miss you while you are gone. Can’t wait to see you in June. Love ya, Candi & Warren

  2. Sherry & Gord Casswell
    Mar 15, 2013

    Wishing you a great trip and we hope it is one of the most incredible experiences ever. We know you will do great as you always excel at everything you do.

  3. Cheyene Tosczak
    Mar 21, 2013

    I very much enjoyed reading your journey thus far. What an incredible goal! I can’t wait to hear how it goes. All the best to you Steve!

  4. Tim Shanks
    Mar 22, 2013

    Best of luck and safe climbing, Steve-o.

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