Our team made it to Everest Base Camp (17,500 ft.) a little over one week ago. I am blessed and humbled to be here. Everyday is a test of will, from dawn to dusk. But even when I feel exhausted and stretched to my limit, I find inspiration all around me and, most importantly, in the cause that brought me here.
After a little more than one week at Base Camp, I am still adjusting to the altitude and way of life here. We spend most of our time perfecting our skills, acclimatizing, and waiting for that perfect time to go up, and we have to be ready to go when that window opens.
In these first days on Everest, I have had a small taste of what lies ahead.
A couple of days ago, we were tasked with practicing walking through the ice fall, the most dangerous part of the climb. Here, we cross ladders and bridges over icy abysses in the glacier. Many climbers have died at this part of the climb - which is roughly a quarter of the way to Camp 1 - because the glacier can move with little warning, exposing deathly cracks and crevasses.
Surprisingly, the ladders and bridges were not as scary as I thought they would be, but the climb to and on the glacier was grueling. It took three hours to climb up the glacier and 1.5 hours down. The sun beat down on the ice and practically baked us in our climbing gear. That is the thing about Everest: as quickly as it can freeze you, it can fry you too.
This coming week, we will try and make it to Camp 1. If all goes as planned, we will do three rotations on the mountain before attempting the summit. This means we should climb to camps 1, 2, and 3 three times each before reaching Camp 4 the night before our summit bid on an early morning in late May.
Everest is a completely different climbing experience than any other mountain I have climbed, including the highest mountains in Europe, North America, South America, Africa, and Australia. I know it will take every bit of inspiration and mental and physical endurance to get me up there.
People take on Everest for many reasons. For some, it’s a life dream to get to Base Camp. For others, it’s a life dream to reach the summit. To most, it’s a test of their personal limits.
Being at Base Camp is living out a personal dream, but that is only part of the reason I am here. My journey here started four years ago when I first read an article about the epidemic of rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I decided I wanted to do something dramatic to highlight a crisis that most of the world knew nothing about.
I climb for the women of Congo, and when I have trouble finding resilience on this picturesque, but unforgiving mountain, I think of the resilience they show everyday against all odds, and am able to keep going.
To support my campaign, Climb Take Action Seven Summits, click here. Every cent of your donation will go to International Medical Corps and VDAY, two organizations providing humanitarian relief in the Congo.