Alpine 8000 Everest 2002 Expedition

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Alpine 8000 Everest 2002 Expedition

Expedition: Leader: Willie Benegas
   * Robert Geier  -  Australia
   * Maria Maccecchini  - USA
   * Louis Strik  -  Holland

   * Pingui, a small stuffed Penguin, the only penguin to summit 2 times. Our team mascot

Sherpas:  After two summits together, I consider them my best friends in Nepal.
   * Phenden Sherpa 3 times to the summit.
   * Pemba Ringi Sherpa     3 times to the summit.
   * Mingma Sherpa            1 summit.
   * Dalengi Sherpa cook
   * Dorgi Sherpa C2 cook
   * Migma Chiri Sherpa    South Col.

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June 3, 2002: Dear, from team member Maria Maccecchini

Here is my Epilog to Everest 2002:

I have been back from Nepal for a week and have settled back into home life. First, I soaked in the bathtub, washed the laundry, put away the gear, went through my mail, e-mail, voice mail, planted annuals in the garden and geraniums in my flower boxes on the deck. I even had my hair and my nails done. Now what?

I did not make the summit of Everest: my coughing came back with a vengeance and I turned around. While talking to some doctors, I was told that I had been prescribed the wrong medication for my lungs. Great, what I am supposed to do with that information now? Who do I sue or blame?

But was it really the cough that made me turn around and would I have summited with the right medication? I am not so sure. Everest is not a difficult mountain to climb: Everest is less technical than it is overwhelming: collapsing cornices and crevasse walls, avalanches, strong winds, ice and high altitude. Your success depends on whether you can endure and survive the mountain's terrorist conditions. Let's look in
more detail at the condition "high altitude". High altitude kills some climbers, because the inadequate oxygen supply can produce strokes, cerebral and pulmonary edema and other bodily breakdowns. High altitude, however, more often kills the motivation of climbers by causing extreme fatigue and apathy. That is what happened to me: The summit seemed an overwhelming goal and the cough didn't help, instead it was a good excuse to call it quits.

It is generally accepted that many people summit on the second attempt and that the chances of making it to the top the second time around are much higher than the first time around. The reason is that people are aware of the pitfalls, are prepared and know what to expect. Also if you are willing to spend another three months and $50,000 you are pretty darn motivated to make it this time.

So, I am going to try again? Right now I would say no. However, never is a very long time and I do not know, how I will feel in a few years. If I should decide to try it again, I would put the experience gained this year to good use and increase my chances to summit. I would have to understand my lungs better to avoid more coughing spells. Mostly though I would have to reset my brain to accept as normal the physical and mental changes that occur at altitude. Maria Maccecchini