If all goes according to plan, in six months I will be in Nepal having just started a trek to Everest Base Camp. I’m not entirely sure why.
My bestest travel companion in the whole wide world, Eszter, and I made it to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro last summer. It was not fun. I’ll tell you all about it another time, but suffice to say that before we were halfway through that climb we had decided, categorically, that we were not going anywhere near Everest Base Camp “if it’s going to be anything like this”.
A year later and the bad memories had somewhat faded, leaving the sense of accomplishment in the ascendant and the hideous moments now having acquired ‘funny story’ status. Everest Base Camp started to seem like a good idea – surely there are some serious cool points to be had for bagging both?
Whilst super fitness isn’t a necessity for either trek, very good fitness certainly helps to make the whole experience more enjoyable. What I learned from Kilimanjaro however, is that the toughest challenge on these excursions isn’t physical, it’s mental. It’s the challenge of getting up and doing another full day’s walking; of putting filthy clothes back on; of finding a way to get warm when you stop; of forcing enough liquid into your unwilling bladder to avoid dehydration; of not minding hordes of trekkers wandering past as you stop for yet another pee; of trudging onwards, meditating your way through the mind-numbing boredom of repeatedly putting one foot in front of the other. Am I selling this to you?
In an attempt to be fully prepared, I’ve adapted the 6 month training programme at http://peakfreaks.com/traineverest.htm to include skating and started the “six months prior” section on Saturday. I’ve already had days where I really can’t face it but I remind myself that this is more about mental toughness than physical and the whole point is that I have to push myself to complete what needs completing, even when it’s the last thing I can be bothered to do. To be honest, right now it’s not even particularly strenuous, but it’s stamina here that counts so I’m in this for the long haul and not about to do any more than the experts say I should.
This is a six month epic so I’ll check in every month and let you know how I’m going. In the mean time, if you’ve got any recommendations for ‘fun games to play when walking’, I’m all ears!