I was so exhausted when I had returned to Lobuche base camp yesterday that I ate my lunch (can you believe, after such a long day, I had returned in time for lunch?!) and fell asleep in my tent, only to wake up for dinner, and then fall asleep again for 11 hours.
My body felt like it had been ready to fall apart yesterday, but after sleeping for almost 11 hours, it was as if I was in a brand new body. There were almost no residual effects of the battering I had put my body through.
The doctor had diagnosed me with a classic case of Cheyne-Stokes, or periodic breathing which manifested itself in a depressed breathing rate when I was asleep, which eventually got so slow, that I woke up feeling as if I was drowning, so I was prescribed half a tablet of diamox every night to regulate my breathing, and I finally started to get uninterrupted sleep.
It is funny how perspectives change. When I had climbed Kilimanjaro with my brother a few months ago, I considered it a minor, but worthy achievement. After all, it is the highest mountain in Africa. Now, in the Himalayas, surrounded by real mountains and mountaineers, I wouldn’t dare mention Kili as an achievement for fear of being ridiculed. Everything is relative, and for most people in the world, climbing Kili would be a major achievement, but in the Himalayas, facing Everest, Kili isn’t even worth mentioning…not out of any type of mountaineering snobbery, but because the reality is, Kili is a hill walk.
Everest on the other hand is in a different league. Even if you do everything right, you are still battling the odds. After all, only 29% succeed in getting to the top of Everest…and that is 29% of serious climbers, not Sunday walkers. And so many fail for reasons out of their control…weather, injury, illness…But then if it were easy, then it wouldn’t be worth the effort.