The mountain always decides. Last night, lying without oxygen at nearly 26,000 feet, Lhotse’s wind and snow made the decision for me…slide down the 8000 vertical feet of fixed ropes to base camp and GO TO THE BEACH IN THAILAND! Details to be determined…
Well, the story of the last few days is long, but I don’t have time to go into it at the moment. No summit, but the mountains aren’t really about that. It was a pretty amazing few days, and I ended up reaching the highest camp on Lhotse, nearly 26,000 ft, healthy and without oxygen. Not the slightest headache took away from the beauty of the surroundings and the privilege of visiting this wild place. Long story short, we got a really freaky forecast during the day which sent me into “serious decision” mode despite my excellent physical health and conditions the whole trip. It got a bit nasty early last evening and at my expedition leader’s urging, I switched to sleeping on a tiny bit of oxygen partway through last night in case I needed to descend in serious conditions in the morning. It turned out to be fairly reasonable last night, but I stuck with my gut and didn’t reverse my decision to descend. A bit after six this morning, I zipped down the route to base camp in a bit over five hours–absolutely flying without oxygen. It was a great day in the mountains.
This trip has been amazing, and I’m happy.
I’ll have more soon,