1. No climbing in the Pacific NW this year: Our summer climb in Oregon/Washington conflicted with my son's freshman football training so something had to go. We figured he only had one shot at freshman (HS) football so that objective took priority over a climb that will always be there - well beyond our years. So, we will stay at home for the month of August. I was a little bummed but would gladly compromise my interests for my son's athletic interests. While I will not be climbing, I do intend to simulate altitude and climbing stress until December.
2. Hypoxico training for our Aconcagua team: I plan to climb with my family and two friends - at least - in Argentina this December/January. Sam and Brendan will accompany us down south and all five of us plan on training with Hypoxico units. Our aim is to climb light and fast up the hill by pre-acclimatizing at our respective homes. The international team (Sam from the UK, Brendan originally from the US but living in Japan, and the three of us from the US) plans to press for the summit in short order. How short? I figure 5-7 days ought to suffice if we all acclimatize to 20,000 feet for at least 2 weeks before our departures. Brian Oestrike offered some trip itineraries and such to assist in our success. I think we can do it; Brian thinks we can do it. Plus, the Aconcagua climb will be a great proving ground for Everest 2015 and our plans to skip the trek to EBC. Stay tuned for more details on those plans. For those who want to learn more about Brian and his background, check out an interview with him:
3. Caffeine free and eating (semi-)healthy: My typical day started with about 2 liters of fresh brewed black tea. I slowly became dependent on the stuff and suffered greatly when I could not get my morning jolt of caffeine. Well, those days are done. I slowly weaned myself off caffeine and enjoy a cup every now and then; no more 2 liter mornings. Before I leave for Argentina and Nepal, I may start up drinking a little more just to get accustomed to tea on the mountains. Nothing better than a hot cup o' tea on a cold mountain. As far as eating, I am off the beer and chip diet. I still have a icy cold malt beverage when I feel the pangs - usually on Friday evenings - but I am not making it a daily habit. The weight I lost in Nepal is finally back on (plus a few extra pounds) and I can finally start focusing on eating well and training diligently for my climbs.
4. Sleeping at 9,000 feet, training at 10,000 feet, working at sea-level: How cool is that? I live at 320 feet above sea level (100 meters for those of you who were fortunate enough to avoid our crazy English legacy system). I am sleeping at the peak of Half Dome (Yosemite Nat'l Park, CA, USA) and training at the peak of the Middle Sister (OR, USA). Eventually, I plant to sleep and train at 20,000 feet (5,500 m) that is roughly the equivalent of Denali (Alaska, USA). Brian characterized my training regime for Everest as "aggressive" but he said it sounded like I was on top of all the relevant variables. I agree. I measure everything and leave nothing to chance. Soon, I hope to have a good calibration of time to acclimatize - for myself - for every rise in altitude. Those measurements and analyses come after Aconcagua. For now, I train high, sleep high, and live low. The better I acclimatize at home, the safer my climb and the shorter my time away from home.
In summary, I feel great. Nothing to worry about whatsoever. Work is humming along without any stress. What can I say, life is great!
ONE LAST ANNOUNCEMENT: I want to take a moment to alert you all to Alan Arnette's K2 expedition. You can find his blog at http://www.alanarnette.com. He left a day or so ago and needs all the support he can get from climbers and non-climbers alike. If you have not read his blog, I strongly encourage you to do so. K2 is no trivial hill; it offers a real challenge to even the most experienced alpinist. Alan plans to update us on his position using his Spot locator - the same one I had on Everest this year. Please follow his climb and consider donating to his cause to support Alzheimer's research and treatment. Thank you for your time and consideration. Climb on Alan!