I’ve been back from Mexico for 10 days now, so it seems like a good time to write down a few thoughts about the trip. Let’s start with the facts.
Fact #1. I summited both Ixta and Orizaba.
Fact #2. The summit was irrelevant. As Steve House said “Climbing is about process, not achievement”.
We had perfect weather, good preparation, a strong team, and three of the best guides on the planet. Despite that, I struggled on Orizaba. Really struggled. And I’m thankful for that struggle. I enjoyed the fact that the outcome wasn’t in any way certain. I’m glad that the experience pushed me. The experience of “running out of ability” has stripped away any complacency or self-deceit I may previously had, and allowed me to understand what I’m capable of. I know with a fair amount of certainty where my limit was on that day, and it was… right in front of my nose. Because of that experience, next time I’ll be stronger.
I’m proud that, although I was surrounded by a safety net of guides and climbers who were (on paper at least) more experienced than me, I felt self-sufficient on both a technical and intellectual level. Yeah, it was good to have so many smiles and supportive words from the others on my rope team, but if there’d been four Matt Caves tied into that rope, we’d have all got to the top. That’s important to me. The desire and motivation to get to the top came from within. The unwillingness to give up came from a genuine desire to climb as hard as I could. Not from fear of failing and definitely not from the guilt of letting my teammates down (although I did discuss the possibility of me not getting to the top with the team). Whatever anyone may say, no matter how close someone may be to me, nobody cares about my successes or failures as much as I do. On hard days like that, I climb purely for myself.
I’m left with two unresolved issues. Firstly I suspect, but don’t yet know, that Heisenberg’s theory may have come into play. Simply by getting close enough to the limit to be able to see where it was, did I move the limit? Was I genuinely at my physical limit, or was I just pushing into previously unvisited areas of discomfort? Time will tell.
The other unresolved question I came away with is this… Would my sentiments be the same if I’d failed? I think I know the answer, but we’ll have to wait for the next failure to find out.
From the IMG news blog and expedition coverage:
We’ve been following their progress on the SPOT Tracker that George is carrying and it looks like our Mexico Team summitted this morning around 5:30am (PST). It’s not official until everybody is down safely but everything seems to be going as smoothly as George anticipated.
We’ll have a full recap after they get down to Puebla and have had a shower and a beer!
Needless to say I am thrilled and again, overcome with amazement! There was news that a climber (male) had decided not to go for a summit bid. Obviously they did not mention the climbers name but did state that it was not a health issue.
So.. I say, If it was Matt.. my message to him is – I commend you for making the right decision for you. If it was not Matt my message then would be – HOLY SHIT! YOU DID IT! WOOOOO!!!!!!!!!
If all goes well I should here from him today. One down, ONE MORE TO GO!
This is what happens when your partner in crime goes away.
I get bored hence I write a lot more on the blog.
Blame Matt for this folks.
Perks to this? .. none really. Although my landlords fed me dinner last night. actually delivered me Chili to
my door and it was really good. Im going through our blog quite a bit, reliving some adventures and looking
at some breath taking pictures realising how fortunate we have been this year.
OH and I had the balls to request Barry Blanchard as a friend on facebook .. and he did! *Pause for reaction*
What not to do while your partner in crime is away..
Listen to soppy a*s music and look at the blog and pictures. It does not do you (or me) any good and gets you
all girly, emotional and soppy. Which is nice in doses but I’ve been doing that a lot lately.
Now that my hammy (for those who don’t know Krista language that means my hamstring) has healed up a bit I plan on doing some bouldering this week. Treat myself to a few sessions as now I am going to dedicate more time at the climbing gym!
Great news on Matt! IMG has posted an update on the Mexico Team. Check it out:
Wishing the team a great climb!
With all this said I think I will call it a night!
Despite spending quite a bit of time doing various types of climbing, hiking and mountaineering this year, I still feel like I haven’t quite had my fill. Hence I’ve done something slightly impulsive and signed up for a 9 day trip to Mexico to climb Iztaccihuatl and Pico de Orizaba with International Mountain Guides. Neither mountain is technically difficult and I’ve climbed tougher routes before, but we’re starting to get into serious altitudes here (17,342′ and 18,405′ respectively) so it will be a big test.
This is a bigger expedition than I’ve done before. Firstly it’s in a foreign country. Secondly it’s a bigger undertaking (2 summits in 3 days). And thirdly I’m doing it without Krista which means I’ve got to stand on my own two feet. On the plus side, I’m in better physical shape than I’ve ever been, and the trip is being lead by Mt Rainier grand master and Everest summiteer George Dunn. I’m a bit nervous about going into uncharted territory (for me at least), but I’m also immensely excited about the prospect of spending a week in the company of someone with so much experience to share. Should be good! I depart on Nov 6th.