Snowed in at Base Camp
First of all I would like to apologise that I have not updated my site since I returned to base camp from the top of the world, however, we have been snowed in and have been unable to move. I had actually been planning to rush back to Kathmandu to help Miss Hawley with her interviews, however, getting out of base camp has almost been impossible and flights in and out of Lukla have also been cancelled. It has been snowing for about two days and we all have been digging our tents out every other hour to make sure they do not collapse.
Anyway, I know this is old news to you but I have to tell you again: I reached the top of Mount Everest on 21st May at 9.45am and I still cannot believe it. I am sitting here at Base Camp inside the White Pod and it feels extremely luxurious after having spent five days on the mountain. Most of you will probably want to know how it feels, or rather how it felt to climb to the top of the world. Well, the first thing that springs to my mind is that it was very hard – much harder than I would have ever imagined. So far, the fact that I was actually standing on top of the world only two days ago has not quite sunk in yet, and every once in a while I stop short and a smile reaches my face when I realise that I actually did follow Sherpa Tensing Norgay’s and Edmund Hillary’s footsteps to the top of the world.
As our solar panels do not work very well in this appalling weather, I do not have a lot of time to write about my summit push, however, I just wanted to update everyone and tell you that I am well and that Everest has not left any big marks on my body or my soul. Apart from feeling extremely tired and a little bit emaciated (I think I am back to the weight I had when I was twelve – 49kg) I am absolutely fine. However, I have to say that for the first time in my life I had reached my absolute limits and I can now understand why people die of exhaustion on their way down. Not that I was close to that level of exhaustion, however, on my way down from Camp 4 to Camp 2, I was really struggling and every step towards camp was a real effort. I do not think I have ever been so tired in my life and I guess that so far Everest has taught me three things: 1. Sherpas do get tired (however, they have ridiculously big loads); 2. I am not as strong as a lot of my friends think I am, and 3. I know now what my friends mean when they say that I do not have any reserves! I hit the wall on my way down to Camp 2 and I had no energy left – I could not even talk to my team members over dinner at camp, and I think they were a little bit worried about me as this was VERY unusual!
Anyway, I am very happy that I made it to the top and I have to admit that when I saw the summit just in front of me it occurred to me how important reaching the top had been for me. I knew that I had been very slow during the ascent and Russell had given us certain turnaround times. I kept on looking at my watch and I was so worried that he would turn me around before I could reach the summit (which of course annoyed me very much as I am used to be one of the quickest), so when I finally made it, Deano, one of our mountain guides, was sitting up there waiting for me and I felt my heart jump. Standing on top of the world is an amazing feeling, however, it was also a very short experience as I knew that I still had to get down despite being very tired. Deano and I took a few pictures, had a look at how the earth curves and left the summit about 15 minutes after we had reached it. Pasang Kami Sherpa and Kasang Sherpa were the only two other people who were on the summit with us, which was great as some of my teammates had to share the summit with 20 other climbers.
I will write more about my experience to the top of the world, however, I would like to thank Russell Brice for his amazing organisation of the trip and for looking after me so well. I would also like to thank Phurba Sherpa and his team for making climbing the mountain possible for me and for hundreds of other people by fixing the ropes, putting up the tents, organizing the oxygen and carrying hundreds of kilos of equipment to the mountain – without the work of the Sherpas most people would not have been able to reach the top of Mount Everest. Furthermore I would like to thank my family and friends for all their support, love and interest in my expedition to Mount Everest. Thank you for bearing with me and letting my dream come true!
And a quick message from Megan to her family: She sends her love to everyone and she is currently on her way down to Pangboche and is looking forward to seeing some green again.