Attempting to summit Mt. Everest has been a dream of mine since I was just a kid… now, I have actually made it a goal of mine to complete a climb to stand on top of the world. It will be significantly harder for me with my recent epilepsy diagnosis but I won’t let the doctor’s “suggestions” prevent me from accomplishing my dreams. Just some words of advice, don’t ever let anyone tell you you can’t achieve your goals, you just work within your means to accomplish them. And now, the video that will take you to 29,031 feet adding one more person to the small list of 2,700 people who have ever summited Everest.
Most of the time when someone asks what I like to do and I mention “mountaineering“, they sort of nod their head and say, “oh that’s cool”… not usually fully understanding what that means. More often then not it is thought that mountaineering is a couple hour hike to the top of a mountain, as apposed to what it usually is… a multi-day, multi-faceted, rigorous climb to the top of a mountain and then back down (since the top is still only half way).
I don’t have a wide range of experience with mountaineering but I at least know what it takes, and it takes a lot. If you are a fan of the outdoors (and you should be given my recent blog post), and even if you aren’t, you should take a look into mountaineering… or at least put it on your list of things to do before you die. If you want an experience that highlights the ultimate of everything life, then you should do mountaineering. I plan on making mountaineering my main outdoor experience for the next several years. My current goal is to climb the ’7 summits’ – the tallest mountain on each continent… ending with Everest.
Lets take a look of everything that goes into and comes out of a mountaineering venture: It’s a very specific skill set that utilizes many kinds of techniques and practices. It’s the ultimate in physical and mental determination, requiring training in both areas. It can be more dangerous than most outdoor adventures. It takes months, sometimes years of planning. And lets not forget everything from previous post here… http://iantimberlake.wordpress.com/2010/11/08/why-experience-the-wilderness-it-would-be-naive-not-to/
There is crampon skills to learn, ice axe skills, roping and knot skills, travel skills, breathing technique, alpine camping technique, food/water consumption technique, clothing skills, and much more. You can burn 10,000 calories in a day and don’t change clothes for weeks.
As you can see, mountaineering is probably up there as the best form of all around life satisfying ventures. You have physical exertion, mental preparedness, relaxation, fun, teamwork, experience and more, all wrapped up into one thing. That sort of thing is not easy to find.
All this might seem intimidating to somebody who doesn’t have really any experience in the field but it is not hard to hire a guide service to train you and take you up the mountain. Mt. Rainier in Seattle is an excellent place to experience this in America. It’s a very tall mountain and likened to a mountain in the Himalayas. There are also many guides you can hire on the mountain. For a 4 day trip of training and climbing, it would cost each person roughly $900, which actually isn’t bad at all considering what you might normally pay on a vacation. What really gets you is the gear cost… if you don’t have the technical gear, usually you can rent, but the cost adds up. For somebody who regularly spends time in the outdoors and has some gear and clothing already, a 4 day guided trip up Mt. Rainier would cost you just under $2,000… pricey, but worth it in my book. I’d rather purchase experiences than items. That cost actually is good in terms of paying for guides. If I were to go to Alaska and climb Mt. Mckinlley, most guides cost close to $5,000… and can you guess what Everest costs? Try stomaching $75,000… and you would be stupid to attempt it without guides. Although, I’d rather attempt Mt. Everest than buy a Corvette and I hope you would too.
In life, it’s the experiences that make everything worth it, not what you own. At least that’s how I look at it. My current plan is to climb Mt. Rainier in 2011, then Mt. McKinley, followed by Mt. Elbrus in Russia and then Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa. It’s this kind of stuff that really shows that I’m alive and making the best of my time.