Saw many a t-shirt throughout my time in Nepal: a little up, a little down, little seems an understatement considering men and a few very intrepid women have trekked to the top of this mystical magical Himalaya mountain time and time again to seek the top – something like 4,000 success stories, hundreds & hundreds of tragedies.
While in Kathmandu, I was able to hear Maya Sherpa (she is a female sherpa to summit Everest and a number of other peaks & this past spring the 1st Nepalese Women K2 Expedition 2014: Women Climb for Climate Change). Climbing is in her blood, spiritually, emotionally and undeniably part of her culture and as a woman, she spoke of always wanting to climb, being driven from childhood to seek the top of the world despite being born a girl. Her story is one of someone who never accepted the limitations of her gender and persevered.
Climbing today with oxygen canisters and “ice fall” doctors setting up ladders and safety line may be much easier than the expeditions of Sir Edmund Hillary and others, but the word easy is a crazy kind of understatement.
How did I summit Everest? Well, of course, I didn’t and very likely, I won’t ever get closer but endless respect in baffled awe those that do, did and will someday. All I did was take the touristy Everest flight on Yeti Airlines when in Kathmandu which was odd, quirkily funny, earnest and satisfied my needs, albeit at a safe and oxygen filled distance.
Looking at the snowy peaks from an airplane, Everest or Sagarmatha / Chomolungma is tucked behind the others a bit, the iconic peak slightly harder to see but then you do and from the Nepal side, the mountain looks forbidding, terribly cold and GIANT, the triangle top above all the others. There you are, I thought – the mountain, challenged and claimed so many lives.
Of course, we all have our own Everests. That time, that thing, that dream we cannot give up, that drives us up and up again, that suffocates us with lack of “oxygen”, that we pursue despite every single thing in our lives telling us to give up the dream, stay home, take the easier choice, hide, choose the smaller dream because the big one just might do us in, but we climb anyway, we cannot stop and all of us, united in dreaming and yearning, striving, may we be blessed with good conditions, clear skies and hopefully we all summit the peaks – a little down, a little up – now I get it.