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Days 15, 16 & 17 - Forward and upwards, dealing with emotions

Updated: 5 days ago

Day 15: Moving to Camp 1

The motto of the day is "forward and upwards." High or low, you never know when you’re gonna go. Live life to the fullest!

We made it; now we are in Camp 2 at 5500m altitude. We hiked on rocks and stones, and while focusing on the road, I reflected that life is also like walking on stones. There is a Turkish quote that says you need to be careful which stone you step on; always choose the safe stone. Today, we had to choose the safe, stable stones. Some stones were big like rocks, and some really small like sand. We rested on some stones and were happy to take the next step to a more stable and comfortable one. It's like people: different stones, and different colors like red, white, grey, and brown. Always mind your step and be aware of which stone you are on. Today, we stepped and stayed on different stones, taking breaks, moving quickly when it was slippery, and finding the safest, biggest rocks to sleep on overnight. I feel all the rocks on my back behind my sleeping bag. I’ve never slept on rocks. It will be a tough experience out of my comfort zone. It is snowy and cold, but we will make it.

This time, I shared a tent with the doctor, and there wasn't an eating tent. We ate in our own tents, in our sleeping bags. It was so cold that we only went out twice to use the toilet and ask for hot water. This overall experience is so surreal.

We went from 4500m to 5500m altitude, doubling the recommended altitude increase.

Thank God we are healthy, and let's see what tomorrow brings.

Day 16: Training from Camp 1 to Camp 2 with Our Ice Boots

Slept at 8 pm, and woke up at 5:30 am, waiting for the sun. The effective sleeping duration was 5 hours. It’s freezing cold, and even removing my buff from my nose makes me feel cold. I am waiting and hoping for the sun to come out and prepare myself.

I hear the voices of the Sherpas; they are already preparing our ice gear and breakfast and enjoying the morning. I have never seen such strong, resilient people before.

This hike was one of the toughest. We went up to 6000m altitude with our ice boots. It was really challenging. The ice boots are not comfortable. I didn’t feel safe, and the road was not just icy; we also walked on rocks and stones, making it really challenging to keep our balance. After four hours of hiking, we reached the glacier. We attached our crampons and followed the fixed ropes. It was a really challenging route. I felt beyond my limits at some points. I just wanted to give up. In the rocky area, I panicked and started crying, but I knew crying wouldn’t help. It wouldn’t make my position safer, so I tried to breathe, which was also a challenge because of the high altitude and less oxygen. In the end, I tried to focus and get it done with the team.

We also didn’t have lunch... it was overall a tough day with less drinking, less food, and an eight-hour trip. When we came down, it was almost sunset. We were lucky to have sunlight; otherwise, it would have been much more difficult to travel on those rocks and stones in the dark. The weather was okay; there was wind in some parts, but overall the cold wasn’t the biggest challenge today. The biggest challenge was the exhaustion from the lack of oxygen, the rocks, and trying to keep balance with those ice boots. Focusing for eight hours, a small mistake can cause big trouble.

Tomorrow we will move again to another camp, which will be the new Camp 2, and there will be an additional Camp 3 because of the distance and duration we need to cover.

They decided to add an extra camp because we are not as fast and fit as the Sherpas. We need our time, and this is the safer way to manage things. We are hopefully close to the finish line. In a few days, hopefully, we will break through, and all the suffering and pain will transform into celebration and nice moments as always. My motto is: healthy, healthy down.

Day 17: Hardest Day Ever

We moved from Camp 1 to Camp 2 at 5850m altitude.

Today didn’t start peacefully. I wanted to pack my warm water bottle, but the lead Sherpa couldn’t understand why I needed it. He said that if I needed it, I should go down. Probably it was a joke, but his argument wasn’t. He said that from now on, we need to cook our own meals; he will give us some gas, and at the top, it will be harder to get hot water. I started a discussion with him. Maybe it wasn’t the smartest move at that moment to figure out how to stay warm at 6500m altitude. I said that we at least need hot tea and a hot water bag to normalize and get warm to go down again. Anyway, the discussion stopped; I didn’t engage further and left one of my warm water bottles in Camp 1, hoping to stay warm. I have a backup solution with my second one.

After we got prepared, we started to walk, and Ali came a few minutes late. The Sherpa started to say: "Here we are in the mountains. If someone gets late, it’s no joke; the other person can die." He repeated this several times during the hike. Going up was exhausting enough with those ice boots, and I was already emotionally triggered. I started crying for a few minutes, letting my emotions go and giving them space. It’s an extraordinary situation, and it’s out of our comfort zone. Everyone in this group deals with it differently.

I’ve learned to give space to my emotions, and yes, I admit it is an emotional rollercoaster here. Suddenly Juan said, "Look at this rainbow!" Oh my God, I’ve never seen such a beautiful rainbow. That was definitely a sign from the universe. Everything will be alright.

All those experiences are part of the journey. Keep going. We safely arrived at Camp 2.


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