With it’s easy accessibility and zero permit fees, it’s an easy climb right?
Well it has some surprises.
Being a relatively seasoned mountaineer (no pro but no novice either) I went there with no big qualms. Thousands climb the peak every year and it’s tremendously popular with those with no mountain experience due to the amount of guides that haul them up the peak.
Tim and I went to the Alps with training at altitude being the focus rather than a Mont Blanc summit. It would be our last training excursion before this year’s mega expedition; Tajikistan, and a Mont Blanc summit would simply be a bonus.
The countdown is on once again.
This is all getting a little familiar; The weekends away months before, the early bedtimes, the ordering copious amounts of food, antibiotics, altitude meds, paying the enormous insurance fees, Spot tracker and Sat Phone subscriptions... Just less than one month to go until I jet off to Tajikistan for quite the adventure. (Don't worry if you haven't heard of Tajikistan before, most haven't. It's next to China, Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan).
April isn't far away at all. April marks the time where I set off to join the World's Highest Dinner Party on Everest. Sounds bonkers, right? Well, that's because it is, but it's all for an amazing cause and some serious money is being raised for it.
Training/workouts/exercise/session/thrashing/beasting/gymming … Whatever term you use it all comes down to one focus – improving yourself physically and mentally.
I feel I can write a post about training now. I’ve been seeing real improvements over the last 3 months on the run up to my Denali expedition. It’s a real relief to see clear results of my developments because in the last year or so, moving forward with training was going at a real slow rate and injuries kept reoccurring. A few years ago I was fit as a fiddle, some may even say too fit/did too much as it later developed to injury (and when I say injury I mean running so much that I broke the bones in my feet.) Being injured really knocked me off guard and I lost my focus a little in the fear of injuring myself again.
I was told a memorable bit of advice when on an expedition in Svalbard for 10-weeks in 2011. For the whole team, it was the first long haul expedition we had ever been on. We had no outside contact at all, were completely self-sufficient in the Arctic wilderness. We were moving, climbing and partaking in science work for the duration and it took some of the team more time than others to adjust to this life. We were told that it would take each person different times before our 'spirit' traveled from the UK to Svalbard.
The idea being that our spirits would be left at home when we arrived in Svalbard whilst we adjusted to life in the Arctic. But when we were in the swing of things and the expedition became our world, our spirit would return to us and we would feel whole again. It would take even longer for our spirit to return to us when we got home. For many months post expedition it would be left in Svalbard as we adjusted to civilian life again. Thing is, I don’t think my spirit ever came back, my spirit is essentially always on the next adventure. That’s not a cry for sympathy, I love my civilian life but what makes it so great is that I can keep adventure a part of it. Without it I would have a big piece of me missing.