Awesome Start to a Journey Ahead- Everest!

 April 4, 2013
The two and a half days I spent in Kathmandu flew by! I was pretty jet lagged and lack of proper sleep alone really wore me out. I was happy to have a few days to get final gear sorted and such. Upon landing, it felt like I had just been there yesterday. No part of me felt like 2 years had gone by! A day in Kathmandu!The organized chaos of Kathmandu can be quite endearing and somehow there is a strong sense of peace. I met the team at the Yak and Yeti Hotel, a lovely place to stay and unwind before this kind of trip. The next few days involved getting final kit, getting our first team blessing, sorting out technology, trying to get some rest, and reconnect with old friends and make some new ones as well! Walking around the streets of Kathmandu felt all too familiar and welcoming. I could remember the little shops and food establishments I had visited before. The smells, the sounds, the people all brought it back instantly. I managed to get a couple of hours of sunbathing in one day, which was nice-soaking in all of the warmth I could before I become a Popsicle! Final bit pool and sun time at the Yak and Yeti :)

Walking around Kathmandu can be quite the experience, dodging a sea of motorbikes and cars, cows, people, and just trying to get your bearings again. My crossing major intersections strategy was just to follow the locals, if they were jumping out in front of oncoming bikes and such, well then I would just follow quickly right behind them. You also have to be prepared for the impromptu rain and wind storm....got caught in a couple of those while we were there..haha. I also got to go on my 2nd motor bike ride :) That was quite the experience dodging all sorts of things coming our way! It was fun :)motorbike adventure...Kathmandu style ;)

Some other things that happened...got to meet with Elizabeth Hawley's team to register our climbing group for their Everest database and also learn some interesting facts about what is going on the mountain this year! I asked Billie about how many women had summitted Everest and she said just over 250! That is out of about 4000 climbers that have summitted. So it feels good to be representing the ladies up here :)

Next, in my scramble to get my data card and SIM Card I had to go through quite the process! Thumb prints, passport check, 2 applications, and photos! So far only the SIM Card seems to be working :/


My last night in Kathmandu was quite eventful! As one of these wind storms picked up out of nowhere and I was walking down an ally in search of a mobile phone, this massive pot fell of a roof and missed my head by inches! What was even better than being safe and The pot that almost got me! eek!sound, was the local shop owner that ran up to me and told me I was a lucky girl and that I had a purpose to be alive! He then asked me what I was looking for and offered to walk me 15 minutes to the place he had purchased his mobile phone and helped me negotiate the best price. I then treated him to a cup of coffee as a thank you and he wanted to learn more about my upcoming adventure, as he was headed to Everest next year with some clients. I figured if that was the most dangerous incident I came across on the trip, well then that would be good!

I also got a chance to reconnect with my friend Kevin from LA, which I hadn't seen in 5 years, so that was awesome too! I got to visit him at the Courtyard Hotel, also a very lovely place and had a delicious last meal :) The whole time in Kathmandu really felt amongst friends new and old and it was great to see familiar faces when being so far from home. It will be awesome to have friends on the mountain for sure. LA meets in Kathmandu!

This morning we flew to Lukla at 7:30 am. These flights can be a bit tricky and well it is Lukla Airport always interesting when you are flying into one of the world's most dangerous airports! We landed, we all clapped and cheered and well figured we were off to a good start! We hung out in Lukla for a bit sorting our gear, getting our expedition gear on yaks, and getting our plan for the day in order. We walked about 3 hours to Phakding, 2652 m today and now staying at a lovely little tea house next to the river with gorgeous mountains all around! The walk in was easy and good way to start adjusting to the altitude. I know I am going to sleep good tonight! We just enjoyed our first dinner here on the mountain and plan to head to Namche Bazaar tomorrow, about a 6 hours walk away. There we will stay for 2 nights to allow for proper acclimatization.
It goes without saying this place is magnificent; so beautiful, lovely people, truly extraordinary. Long walks go fast when there is just so much to take in :)

April 1, 2013

Final leg of this 32 hour journey. It's funny how when you are doing or working towards things you love, almost nothing can bother you.Can't complain about the journey over; it was good overall and no major glitches. The love song marathon in the Bangkok airport I could have lived without...haha, but it's cool. They had quite the expansive collection circa 1970-200! My poor ears! It's crazy this is all here. 2 years of the ultimate roller coaster flew by and as I land, I feel like there is nowhere else I am meant to be right now but here.I feel at peace, and I have already begun to let go of things that may have been dragging me down before I left.

The journey towards simplicity of survival has already begun to take it's course and that comes with so much healing.I do not have fear in me, but more so ultimate respect for what mother nature may throw at me. Last time my tent shred at Camp 2 in the middle of the night in 80+mph winds, I fell hypoxic and passed out at 27,500 feet and had my digestive system give out on me....so really I know some of the worst that may come and I know I was able to handle it and survive it last time so let's hope for better luck this time!I have nothing to prove, this is not a conquest of me against a mountain, but more a challenge against myself. Most mountaineers know the sport comes with a degree of suffering in return for personal accomplishment and to see and experience what very few will get to in their lifetime.

For me it is all worth it and in those moments when it feels like I can't go any further, I know I will have to remind myself I am blessed and privileged to be living out my dream and just keep going.I have always thought that the glory of reaching the top of a mountain is much too large to be enjoyed on a individual basis...so hence my campaign Climb Take Action for women in Congo, where I hope my journey will encourage and inspire people to help others along the way and also promote pushing one's limits.When I started the campaign I said, "the extraordinary is always possible, never limit yourself or life's potential." I firmly believe that now, as the extraordinary is happening. If anyone would have told me I would be going to Everest not only once, but TWICE in my lifetime I would not have believed it, and well here we go again.Thanks for letting me share the journey with all of you!

Much love and you can still support our efforts for women in Congo at www.climbtakeaction.com
~G~