Everest: Summit, at What Cost?

I lay there for what felt like ages, debating what to do. I saw a stream of headlamps coming up the slope behind me. One by one, 15 or so climbers passed me; only one asked me if I was ok. I felt so alone, doubting that anyone would -- or could -- compromise their summit bid to help me if I really needed it. I knew that if I fainted again past the Balcony, I could fall off the exposed ridge and not only jeopardize my life, but other climbers as well. I asked myself if I was willing to possibly die that day for the sake of reaching the top, and to be a huge step closer to conquering all seven summits. The answer came immediately: no.

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Everest: No Turning Back Now- Huff Post

When I started, I would not have considered myself a "climber." I loved the mountains and hiking, but had never actually summited anything that required real mountaineering skills. Even before I had learned of what was happening in DRC, I had wanted to climb the seven summits, but it wasn't until I learned of the atrocities committed against women and girls that I found the fuel to make me do it.

I haven't turned back since.

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Everest Summit Push 2011- Here We Go!

It is hard to believe the journey is over and now seems a bit surreal...like it was a dream. I cannot wait to go back though! As much as I was tired of the freezing nights, roasting on the glacier some days, and pushing my body to the max point of exhaustion, I already miss it-the awe of the mountain, the challenge of pushing myself, the amazing people I met, the overall incredible experience that I could never replicate in my day to day. So Everest will be there for me next time :)

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Respect for the Mountain...Always

Well, there was a plan, Camp 3, but then Everest decided No. I thought I would not be in touch till the 4th or so, as the plan was to head up to Camp 1, 2, and 3 in a 8-10 day rotation on the mountain. We made it to Camp 2 and spent two nights there and then yesterday morning found out a storm was headed our way on Friday and could last up to 6 days, so we had to come down. Better safe than sorry! So now we are safe at Base Camp once again....and now we wait! Not sure if there will be time for another rotation on the mountain to make it to Camp 3 for acclimatization, or we may just have a single push...meaning one more rotation with summit push included. It is up to Everest....all respect to her mighty majesty, as she will only let us go as far as she wants to and we have to play by her rules.

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Getting to Camp 1! Everest

Ghostwriter #1 here, sending out a message on behalf of our girl Georgina. As of 1:00am, our incredible climber and her friends at Peak Freaks reached Camp 1 on the highest mountain on earth! I had the honor of getting my very first SAT phone text - yay!

She is hopefully nestled up in her down sleeping bag getting some much deserved rest at 20,000 feet. It was a tough day for our heroin, but she always pulls through. In her own words (loosely), "you just put one foot in front of the other and eventually you get to the top of a mountain."

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Everest Base Camp Baby!!!!

We made it to Base Camp today!! Now it feels like the adventure is just about to begin. The leisurely week we had has come to an end and we are now in our tents and our warm clothes are our best friends :) Today I felt like I was going to climb Everest...why...well I was weaker, had a headache, upset tummy. Basically the effects of altitude have set in. They are very minor and completely normal and after a couple of days acclimitizing here I will feel much better. This will be my home for the next 2 months, my safe zone, mi little casa :) It was a bit emotional coming into camp and I felt like wow, I am living the dream-I made it : ) 

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Namaste from Gorakshep :)

We have had two nights at Base Camp (17,500 feet) and it has been chilly with on and off again snow. Our first night we shared tents and yesterday we were all able to set up our own tents we had brought. So I now have my temporary 2 month home built : ) It is a two man tent- 3 season with my sleeping bag, a foam pad, thermarest pad, and a little mattress like thing they gave us. I am warm enough in my -40 F sleeping bag, but getting up in the middle of the night to go potty is still a process and chilly! Today most of the team went to Kalapatar for an acclimitization hike, but I am still fighting my cold and only hiked to Gorakshep and writing you all (about a 1.5 hours walk from camp).

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Off to our next stop! (we hit 5100 m today)

So it ended up being a very special day as Tristan, from Singapore, saw snow for the very first time!! It was super cute to see her expression as the snow started to fall and she couldn't stop taking photos :) After lunch on Monday we had very long hike uphill in the snow. I was actually grateful as that hill would have been a bear in the heat....so cold was good. Monday was one of those days where you just put your head down and hike...it was a long 7 hours and I was happy to pull out my 'mountain mix' on my IPOD and have some fun dance tunes to get me up the hill to Prembuche. 

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Nameste from Namche (11,300 feet)

We are on day 3 of our trek and at 11,300 feet :) Yesterday was a great day!! We had a beautiful 5 hour hike into Namche, crossed several suspension bridges, got our first view of EVEREST, and I got a shower :) ! Pretty great day if you ask me. The hike up was mostly uphill and going through lots of little villages; it also had a lot of stairs. Thank goodness for Lyon Step training!! I am currently carrying everything I need for the trek into Base Camp, thus my pack is about 45 lbs, so I am happy I trained with weight :) We have been having some YUMMY meals and had noodle soup for lunch and homemade french fries!! Probably sounds like a strange food combo, but all that salt hits just the spot after a long day on the trail. For dinner we had French Onion Soup, Chicken Nepal Style Kebab, and a big piece of chocolate cake :) We are burning up some calories and definitely eating to make up for it-guilty free of course! 

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Kathmandu to Lukla!!

t is so nice to have friends and fellow campaign supporters on the team! Kathy is doing the summit climb on behalf of Climb Take Action and then my dad and Steve are also trekking to BC for the campaign :) Then I have my friends Melanie, Mylene, and Tristan that have joined us from Hong Kong and of course my dear friend and climbing partner Pam! So we are one big happy family here and ready to set of on the next leg of our adventure....get us on that plane please! So for the team there are 13 climbers, about 13 trekkers, then 3 western guides, and our sherpa crews of +25. I must say it is so nice to have friends here...and am so happy to be able to share this adventure with them. It is also nice to have part of the Kili crew reunited here in Nepal.

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The Article That Started It All

There are things that you come across in your life that will dramatically impact the direction your life is headed. In late 2007 I came across mine, an article written by Eve Ensler (http://www.glamour.com/magazine/2007/08/rape-in-the-congo), which introduced me to the daily horrors some women and girls in Congo face, which moved me to find a way to take action to raise awareness to this massive issue of sexual violence and find support to help these women in their fight for survival.

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Life Comes Full Circle~ Everest 60 Days Away!

I normally use this blog to talk solely about the climbs and our efforts to raise funds and awareness for women in Congo, but I thought it was important to add a bit of a personal touch this time, as Everest is very close and preparing for it has opened up a whole new world of feelings and emotions. Training for this bad boy is not only about the physical prep, but also the mental prep and the emotional prep. I have always said climbing is 80% mental and 20% physical.

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