Saturday, April 4, 2015

The waiting game

Yesterday, I finished packing.  It was a whirlwind adventure as I ran throughout my house to locate those last-second items I knew I had but couldn't recall where precisely I put them last.  After about 2 hours, I managed to pack my bags, clean up my office, and sort out a few last-second items that might need to be replaced.  

Packing early gives me a ton of lead time to do these last-second chores.  So I sit here at home today and rest.  There are no more workouts; there are no more things to purchase; there are no more things to think about.  Now, I wait.

The past two days were filled with a flurry of activities.  I got my pre-climb haircut, shaved for the first time in about 4 weeks, and finished a few odd jobs around the house.  I sold my Lightning sailboat on Saturday morning; it is in good hands now and will be sailed more frequently than I could sail her.  The last thing on our list of major chores is filing our taxes.  In truth, we never file on time; we simply file an extension and pay whatever we think we might owe up front.  I'll get to thinking about taxes when I return.  For now, I anxiously await my departure.

If all goes well, I get to sail tomorrow and forget about the waiting game.  Sailing will help me keep my mind off of the others who started the climb already.  I am not worried for them or about them; they will all fare well.  What keeps me thinking is whether I am wise to stay home this late while others acclimatize on the mountain.  Climbing is not a race but there is a race against time that I must attend to if I am wise.  The Everest climbing season begins in early April and ends on June 1st - or thereabouts.  Summit windows typically open in mid-May and the opportunities to summit end as the monsoons sweep into Nepal.  So, leaving late means I have less time to acclimatize on the mountain.  Waiting, however, makes me think more about my delayed departure and less about climbing - not good.  Again, I wait but not without some trepidation.

The more I think about the situation, however, the less anxious I feel.  Few climbers are as acclimatized as I am now.  Each night culminates in a 8 to 12 hour slumber at 20+ thousand feet (6+ km) - all without any AMS signs or symptoms.  I sleep high and relax at normal altitude.  My wounds, bumps, and bruises from the past few years of training and climbing are now all healing.  I gained the requisite weight (now at 176 lbs or 80 kg and hope to be 180 lbs or 82 kg when I depart) so I have plenty to lose without eating too much into my lean muscle mass.  In short, I am better off getting strong and acclimatizing at home than winding my way up the Khumbu valley amongst the hordes of trekkers and climbers.  Even writing about my situation makes me calm down a bit.  Still, the waiting game eats into me and I often wonder if the delay may lead to some adverse and unexpected consequences.  Regardless, I wait and relax.

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