3, 2002: Dear EverestNews.com, from team
member Maria Maccecchini
is my Epilog to Everest 2002:
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?
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?
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.
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.
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