8,848m takes a toll on my body

Trying to stay fit by playing cricket at Camp 2 - the highest match in the world!
Trying to stay fit by playing cricket at Camp 2 - the highest match in the world!
Even though I was planning on writing something about base camp and the politics around Mount Everest, I first want to quickly update you about what (training) life is like after having climbed Mount Everest. It sucks! Even though I was boasting about having run all the way to Thoka the other day, I am suffering for it now. For me, running has always been easy and, especially after all my training for my expedition running to the little village near Kathmandu seemed to be a piece of cake. However, after having lived at an altitude of 5,500m for the best part of two months, all my muscles and strength have gone and I feel like I am starting from scratch again. I managed to run my 13km this morning but it was very painful – almost as painful as getting to the summit. I am not sure whether Everest has taught me discipline but the fact I actually managed to run all the way despite the pain made me wonder whether it is endurance I learnt on the highest mountain of the world.

I also started swimming again and even though splashing in the pool is not as hard as jogging up the hill, it is also rather frustrating. Not only do the muscles in my legs seem to have gone but my arms have also suffered from the lack of oxygen and proteins my body has been suffering for the last few weeks.

However, even though I am complaining about the poor state of my body I think I am actually doing quite well compared to what other people have to deal with. My lack of strength (not fitness) is the only detrimental effect Everest has had on my body and I guess that I am quite lucky. Some of the Everest summiteers I have met in Kathmandu since my return have to deal frostbite, severe sunburn, eye problems and extreme fatigue, and I can honestly say that I suffer from none of the above. However, I know it will take some time, effort and strength to get my fitness back but I will use the endurance Everest has taught me and keep on running until my body stops aching in the process.

I have been back from the Everest region for one week now and my life is more or less back to normal. Most expeditions have left and the only mountaineering group that is still left in Kathmandu are the Himex guides, however, most of them are leaving tomorrow. The number of tourists in the streets of Thamel is slowly decreasing, and the capital will soon start hibernating for the monsoon, when most foreigners, who live here, go home and tourists stay away due to the heavy rainfalls.

As I am not a fan of too much rain I am going to Europe to enjoy the sunshine and good Bavarian food, which will hopefully provide me with enough proteins to get my strength back. But before that I will have to finish the expedition work for Miss Hawley, so you can expect more notes from Kathmandu.