Home
   Today's News
   8000 Meters Facts
  
Banners Ads
   Bookstore
   Classified Ads
   Climb for Peace
  
Contact

   Downloads
  
Educational
  
Expeditions
  
Facts
  
Games
  
Gear
  
History
  
Interviews

   Mailing List
   Media

   Medical
  
News (current)
   News Archives
   Sat Phones
   Search
   Seven Summits
   Snowboard
   Speakers
   Students
   Readers Guide
   Risks

   Trip Reports
   Visitor Agreement

   Volunteer/help

 

  American Autumn Shishapangma Expedition 2005: Val's turn


Val writes: Happy to be home

My kitty loves that I'm back. Of course. He watched me unpack the duffel bags of gear for over a week (or so), curled up in my huge pile of clean laundry, and was happy to have someone back who lets him sleep on the bed. Even if that someone is still walking awkwardly on the outside edges of her feet as her big toes heal from frostbite.

From the summit all the way back to Boulder eight days later, we flew  off the mountain and made our way home. I learned that the process and pain of re-warming frozen toes will wake you from sleep, even if you are extremely tired. I learned that if you don't want to hike the long way from ABC to BC, you can pay for a nice (slow) horse to take you down. I learned that even though I love most teas, I really, really don't enjoy yak butter tea (with salt). Not on the fourth or fifth refilling either. I learned that the best meal in Lhasa is had when Bemba orders everything. I learned that if you are in Lhasa and want to change a complicated airline ticket that includes four different airlines, neither your Tibetan guide nor China Air can help. And there are no other airline ticket offices. The best plan is to just fly to your next city and work it out from there.

Bit by bit I am adjusting to being back in the first world. First, half a world away at base camp, there were the four-wheel drive vehicles. Then, in Tingri, there was a small bed to sleep in. And we were eating inside a building. Next there was the sound of music playing as we bumped along the dirt road, first Chinese voices, then English voices, both changing cadence as the engine speed varied. Shigatse gave us our first showers, if mostly lukewarm, and warm, comfortable beds. Lhasa had hot water and a modern airport. Chengdu had skyscrapers. Shanghai had transport vans and short-stay lodging. Seoul had fast-access internet and cappuccinos. San Francisco had quick airport security lines. And finally Boulder had family and friends waiting with strong hugs.

It is winter in Tibet; it is fall in Boulder. The doctors wonder where I could've gotten frostbite at this time of year. Then I explain about being at 24,500 feet in Tibet without a tent or sleeping bag and they understand, even if they can't empathize. And some ask: when do you explain why this is fun, why you do this?

Because mountains inspire me. I love the lessons of the mountains. Those that are personal and beautiful, physical and mental. Those that are fun and those that are scary. Sometimes hard, sometimes simple. Learning about my partners, sometimes supporting and sometimes receiving help. There are aspects that have been there through my entire life. Those of learning about a topic, about an activity, about myself, about the world. Those of loving challenges. Having the clarity of a purpose, with the malleability of how to get there. Finding life's limits. Living there. Having enough reserve so that even when the going gets extremely tough, I may need a minute to regroup (or a day at BC to re-formulate the plan to attempt the summit again, or a half hour sitting on a billowing tent fly), but when I need to survive, I will. Kiki soso ashe, lha gyalo. "If you knew you could not fail, what would you attempt?"

Because it is the journey and the destination, for the journey puts your life in context, and the destination helps define who you are. And because once you see and experience the Himalaya, you will always return. In part, you are always there.

"And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good? Need we ask anyone to tell us this?"

"and here's to silent certainly mountains; and to a disappearing poet of always, snow and to morning; and to morning's beautiful friend twilight (and a first dream called ocean) and "If I am to choose between staying on the hill, or flying as a bird, I will fly." Resham firiri.

-Val

Updates

Millet One Sport Everest Boot  has made some minor changes by adding more Kevlar. USES Expeditions / High altitude / Mountaineering in extremely cold conditions / Isothermal to -75°F Gore-Tex® Top dry / Evazote Reinforcements with aramid threads. Avg. Weight: 5 lbs 13 oz Sizes: 5 - 14 DESCRIPTION Boot with semi-rigid shell and built-in Gore-Tex® gaiter reinforced by aramid threads, and removable inner slipper Automatic crampon attachment Non-compressive fastening Double zip, so easier to put on Microcellular midsole to increase insulation Removable inner slipper in aluminized alveolate Fiberglass and carbon footbed Cordura + Evazote upper Elasticated collar.

Expedition footwear for mountaineering in conditions of extreme cold.  NOTE US SIZES LISTED. See more here.

A cold weather, high altitude double boot for extreme conditions The Olympus Mons is the perfect choice for 8000-meter peaks. This super lightweight double boot has a PE thermal insulating inner boot that is coupled with a thermo-reflective outer boot with an integrated gaiter. We used a super insulating lightweight PE outsole to keep the weight down and the TPU midsole is excellent for crampon compatibility and stability on steep terrain. WEIGHT: 39.86 oz • 1130 g LAST: Olympus Mons CONSTRUCTION: Inner: Slip lasted Outer: Board Lasted OUTER BOOT: Cordura® upper lined with dual-density PE micro-cellular thermal insulating closed cell foam and thermo-reflective aluminium facing/ Insulated removable footbed/ Vibram® rubber rand See more here.

 

 

 

 

 




 

Altitude pre-
  
acclimatization

   Ascenders

   Atlas snowshoes

   Black Diamond

   Botas

   Brunton

   Carabiners

   CaVa Climbing Shoes
   Clearance

   Clif Bar

   Cloudveil

   CMI

   Crampons

   Edelweiss ropes
  
Eureka Tents

   Featured

   FoxRiver

   Garmin

   Granite Gear

   Harnesses
   Headlamps
   Helmets

   HighGear
   Ice Axes

   Kavu Eyewear

   Katadyn

   Kelty

   Kong

   Lekisport

   Lowepro

   Motorola

   Mountain Hardwear

   Mountainsmith

   MSR

   Nalgene

   New England Ropes

   Nikwax

   Omega

   Patagonia

   Pelican

   Petzl

   PowerBar

   Princeton Tec

   Prescription Glacier

   Glasses

   Primus

   Rope Bags

   Seattle Sports

   Serius
  
Sleeping Bags

   Stubai

   Suunto

   Tents

   Thermarest

   Trango

   Tool Logic

   Trekking Poles
   Yaktrax
  
and more here

 



  

Send email to  • Copyright© 1998-2012  EverestNews.com
All rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Disclaimer, Privacy Policy, Visitor Agreement, Legal Notes: Read it