Everest – Day 19: Training in Base Camp

April 17 (Wednesday)

Early morning one of the girls from the team left by helicopter for Kathmandu to check out her unexplained swollen arm.  The rest of the team moved on to the nearby icewall again for some advanced training.  Today we were supposed to ascend a vertical wall and rappel.  Even though the actual wall was a lot taller than the actual obstacles we would see further up on the climb, this exercise was supposed to prepare us for the icefall and the Hillary Step high up on the mountain.

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Well..  all I gotta say is that I’ve never rappelled before.  I was so scared!!  I was afraid that I would slip and fall, even though there was a person ‘breaking’ me down at the bottom of the wall.  The whole experienced was not fun at all.  It seemed like everybody else has rappelled before, or at least pretended like they did.  It seemed like I was the slowest out of the whole group.  I know I shouldn’t have compared myself to others, but especially at altitude, I was getting so self-conscious!

The emotions got to me to the point of actual crying.  I didn’t want to sit inside of the dining tent with everybody because I was just bawling.  So instead of drawing attention away from myself, I inadvertently drew it toward me by sitting outside of the dining tent and eating lunch out there by myself.  I felt like I was ‘the weakest link’, I was not going to make it.  This was only base camp, and I still had another 12,000 feet to go!!  If I can’t do it now, then I will surely fail up higher!  I went to my tent and kept bawling my eyes out.  Two guides came over and told me that I’m doing great.  They emphasized that climbing this mountain is a mental game more than anything, and that I’m strong enough to do this.  I eventually got better.  I’m normally not a wuss, and it takes a lot for me to cry.  Stupid altitude makes me so emotional though!!

DAY 20

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