Entering the Western CWM

Apr 21, 2011
Outside Magazine


I leave for my first rotation to the high camps in about 12 hours. We will get up abut 3:00 AM for a breakfast of toast and a single fried egg, maybe a cup of coffee. Then along with our personal Sherpa we will pass the puja alter and through the smoke from burning juniper. Next is a stop at crampon point at the base of the Khumbu icefall to put on our crampons. From there it is 2000′ through the labyrinth of moving ice and finally into the West end of the Western CWM. It will still take another hour to reach Camp 1 which is about 19,500′.

I asked Kami how long he took the other day and he said 2.5 hours. Then I said how long for us, and he said 4.5 hours. I will be thrilled to be there in 6! However, I am only keeping track to monitor my improvement in future rotations and I am not in competition with anyone – been there, done that. I appreciate the IMG approach of going slowly and safely. Of course there are times when speed is required for safety and I feel prepared when those times arise. But this is not the time to burn myself out. By the way, I fell back to my old self and am at 100%.

I have been gone from home for about 4 weeks now. The entire expedition is about 8 weeks. As I was thinking abut this halfway mark, the number 8 stuck in my mind. My mom lived with Alzheimer’s for 8 years. At her half way mark, life became difficult as she began the crossing from being in control to living in the moment. It was difficult and helpless to watch but for her it was the beginning of the end.

This is what the 7 Summits Climb for Alzheimer’s: Memories are Everything is all about. I appreciate all your comments on this blog. I read each one and consider them deeply. I wish I could reply to each of you personally. But please know your thoughts and comments make an immense difference to me and your support of Alzheimer’s research and caregivers matter the most.

I will send a post from Camp 1!

Climb On!
Memories are Everything

Arnette is a speaker, mountaineer and Alzheimer's Advocate. He is climbing the 7 Summits throughout 2011. He has summited Vinson and Aconcagua already and leaves for Everest in late March. All to raise $1 million for Alzheimer's research. You can read more on his site.

Photo Courtesy AlanArnette.com

Filed To: Climbing

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