It’s not been that long ago that an expedition to Mt. Everest was a nationally-supported endeavor. I have a connection to that era through one of my teammates who is the son of a member of the first American expedition on Mt. Everest in 1963. I also feel connected through a paradigm known as the “climbers pyramid.”
The climbers pyramid has held true since the first Himalayan expeditions and recognizes that there are many people and resources at the “base of the pyramid” for every climber that is positioned for a summit attempt.
I am keenly aware of the climbers pyramid in my own experience. There have been scores of porters, mules and Yaks that have transported my personal equipment and the camp infrastructure that I depend on everyday. The Sherpa team has established camps, fixed ropes, and positioned oxygen at the high camps. Pemba Sherpa, my climbing partner, has watched over me. There are the cooks and camp staff that labor endlessly. And, of course, the western guides that care for my safety and comfort.
I am also highly aware of the many others who have contributed to making this opportunity possible. There are those that have assumed my responsibilities while I am away. There are those who guided my physical training and preparations. There have been many who have encouraged me and sent well wishes and have prayed for my safety and success. You are each an important contributor to this undertaking.
But most of all there has been my family.
My family has endured my climbing pursuits, supported my ambitions and encouraged me to follow my passion, even if they don’t fully understand the motivations. I know it is hard to have me so far away climbing a big mountain.
So as I prepare for my summit attempt I have in mind all of those who are participants and contributors and collaborators in this endeavor. I feel thankful for each of you and for this opportunity. I will give it my best effort and never forget that the ultimate measure of success is a safe return home.
Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers over these next several days.