Did all of you know how difficult it is to plan a climbing expedition to a foreign country? Particularly if your intention is to document you expedition on film?
Why didn’t anyone tell me!!!
I guess I didn’t fully comprehend every t that needed to be crossed, every i that needed to be dotted. Mountains of equipment are strewn across my floor, and a myriad of packages arrive in the mail each day with things I barely remember ordering. Do I really need a figure of 8 belay device? Will the rope be icy? How much sunscreen do one need for five weeks? Do I get the electrolyte supplement with caffeine or without caffeine? How quickly does a solar panel charge camera batteries? Will we need to bring the microphones to the summit, or is the cameras built-in microphone enough? My brain is about to explode.
It is one month till takeoff, it has been a year since I came up with this harebrained idea of making a women’s climbing film. Not just a film, but a film about climbing a mountain that for me will most certainly be a challenge. Not only is it the highest and hardest climb I have ever attempted, but I am also missing a quarter of my lungs for Christ sake!
One year ago I had major lung surgery. A rare type of cancer stole the entire upper lobe of my right lung. I went from running up mountains to barely being able to scale the stairs. It knocked me off my feet. Frustrated by my new inability, and families with small children overtaking me on the trails, I knew I needed a challenge to push myself. What I used to love was no longer fun, it was just simply hard.
At a mountain film festival not long after my surgery I was struck by the fact that there was not a single film about women climbers. It was surprising to me considering how many women are in my climbing community. Here is challenge I thought to myself optimistically. Let’s get a team together, climb something big, film it, and hopefully inspire other women. What a year it has been since!
We have trained, fundraised, won awards, trained, gotten sponsorship, given talks, trained, sponsored a local Nepalese female climber to be part of our team , planned, and did I mention trained? This year has been extremely busy and extremely rewarding, and we haven’t even left yet! It is crunch time, and sitting here surrounded by my Himalayas of gear it is hard to believe that a little over a week from now we will be in Nepal ready to take on Ama Dablam, a peak soaring to 22,342 feet and providing a mix of technical rock, snow, and ice. But, reflecting back on my year - the quantum leap I have made in my recovery, the camaraderie with my team, the lessons I have learned, I feel like I am already winning. Summit or no summit.