Some Everest veterans have told me that the view from
the summit is not as spectacular as one might imagine. At that extreme
elevation they say, the scale becomes completely incomprehensible. From this
view it looks as if the clouds are floating on the ocean and I have a slight
taste of what awaits.
In a way, it's appropriate that the view from the
summit dissolves into fantasy as the entire experience has evolved in a
similar manner. The last week before my departure is as clear in my memory as
a dream. Was it a week ago that I kissed catie goodbye... just yesterday that
flipped burgers on the BBQ... this morning that I
waved goodbye? Each
time zone that ticks by below seems to take my
memories another day away.
In the great English tradition of Boardman and
Tasker, I arrived at the airport this morning in my Himalayas boots. It wasn't
exactly planned, but a matter of necessity as my bags were dangerously close
to the 70 LB limit.
It's made for an interesting conversation piece. Two
of the most memorable discussions included and introduction by Himalayan vet
and Everest author Stacey Allison's neighbor, and some advice from a Russian,
who on landing in LA pointed out that the boots were "not at all appropriate
As I walked off the plane in Denver I was astonished
to be greeted by my long time climbing buddy, Avery. He had caught wind that I
was passing through and came to lend a hand in making my tight connection.
Going only on yesterday's ambiguous email, Avery had determined my incoming
and outgoing gates and airlines and had me on my way. What a great surprise!
Avery is part of a small family of climbers that
taught me my first climbing skills and we have since enjoyed adventures around
the world together. I have always looked to him for guidance and advice. Today
as I embark on the biggest adventure of my life, his advice was simple and