Down In The Valley….

Conventional wisdom dictates that we now head even lower in altitude. Time to head ‘down valley’ where the Sherpa tell us the “oxygen is better.” So tomorrow morning Brooke and I will leave base camp and head for Debouche -a pleasant teahouse in the green trees and pastures of the lower valley. This seems so strange to me after 5 weeks in the snow and ice. Debouche is a 6-8 hour descent from base camp. We will spend three days there soaking up the thicker air and warm sunshine. Then we will clamber back up to base camp, which will take two days to reach. Imagine 6 to 8 hours down, two days back up. Kind of gives you an idea of what the pitch and altitude gain is like. Now I think of myself as a house cat that does not want to go out on a rainy afternoon. Do you have that mental picture? Claws out and I am being dragged by my tail!! Ah the ongoing search for good air to breath. It is amazing the effect on one’s body after prolonged exposure to thin air. We do have a tentative schedule for climbing the upper mountain upon our return from the lower valley but so many variables come into play it is impossible to accurately predict a possible summit push. At the moment the jet stream continues to hammer the upper mountain so no one is progressing much past advanced base camp except for the brave and invincible Sherpa. And as I learned you can’t hang out at 22,000 feet for very long if you are a whitie.

But yesterday word did arrive at camp that 5 Sherpa had reached the summit – now the race begins! Will the first official team to reach the top be Russell Brice’s “Discovery Channel” team? Or International Mountain Guides’ “Discovery Channel” team? Or Rainier Mountaineering’s “First Ascent” clothing line sponsored and filmed by Eddie Bauer called “First Ascent” so of course they would want to reach the summit first? For us mere climbers this makes for interesting speculation and viewing. Stay tuned as they say! I find it all very entertaining as you see camera crews and egos all over the place. I’m glad Brooke and I are a small obscure team. We plan to avoid all the hype and just keep our heads down and dig in – but ultimately Mother Nature will make the call.  

Yesterday I had the unexpected pleasure to be able to read all of your wonderful comments everyone has sent since I began this mission 6 weeks ago. For once I am speechless!!! It is rare to get an internet connection for more than a few minutes so you can imagine my joy to not only blog but to get unlimited time to read. My profound gratitude and heartfelt thanks for all of your encouragement and kind words. I hang onto every word and when the pangs of self doubt (which happens more than I want to admit) I draw upon the words so many of you have taken the time to send to me. A million thank you’s!!! You will carry me far!

Climb On!

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13 Responses to “Down In The Valley….”


  1. 1 Beverly May 6, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Yahoo! – Every day you get a little closer to the top, even if it means backtracking…

    Hang in there, baby! Holding good thoughts of a celebration @ St. Julien!!

    Love, B

  2. 2 Cinda May 6, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    Hello Wendy,
    I feel like a cat myself and I am breathing thick air, I mean thick baby, so what’s my excuse. Tom made it home safely on the 28th , it is a week later and he is still having trouble adjusting to the time change, jet lag and who knows maybe reality. I know he would really like to be there in the midst of all the excitement. Yet, I still only have him for eleven days and off to Denali he goes. The volcano is up to its antics again and threatening to go off soon. Hope this doesn’t cause problems for him. As I watch Tom pace around the house I know he is thinking about the two of you daily, aw c’mon, who am I kidding, hourly and is praying for your safety and success. Wendy, although you have had some setbacks in your expedition, remember your definite major purpose. Stay focused on the goal and stay positive about who you are, who your with, and what you are doing. Can’t wait to read your next blog.
    Livin’ the Dream…..
    Cinda

  3. 3 Carol May 6, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    Wendall,

    I find myself everyday waking up and running to my laptop to see where you are and what you are up to – no pun intended. I know that all of your friends and family are hanging on – ha ha – to hear of your latest adventures.

    Stay the course and work it, girl, work it!

    Love,

    PC

  4. 4 Sheryl May 7, 2009 at 12:28 am

    Hey Whitey, go enjoy some much deserved, delicious, thick, oxygen-rich air that us sea level dwellers take for granted. You can’t control what is out of your control, but you can take advantage of an opportunity to refuel your body. Put your claws back in and go. Tell your team that our team swept the Yankees in their new house 2-0 in their latest matchup, so wear those Boston ball caps proudly!!
    Keep us posted…
    PLF,
    Sheryl 😉

  5. 5 Mr. Cleere's Class May 7, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Hi Wendy!

    How are you? We are always thinking about you. Did you know that we are doing a Penny Drive for your Foundation for the little girl who lost her father when he was climbing and for the Sherpas to go to climbing school? We almost have the huge jar full of pennies! We love you! Good luck climbing Mt. Everest! Tell Brooke we are thinking about her too and we love her too. Brooke, did you get the dog that you wanted to get? It looked very cute. We love reading your blog and tracking where you are on our map that we made. It is out in the hallway where everyone in the school can see it! Ms. Duke’s class also says hi and wishes you good luck!

    Keep on climbing!!!

    Jeyme R. and Darcy, Mr. Cleere’s class

  6. 6 Charlotte May 7, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Thank the heavens that you were not in the icefall on May 7th!!! What a dreadful accident and to lose a Sherpa at that! Makes my heart skip many beats! A scary and exceedingly dangerous place. Be safe, smart and listen to your inner voice at all times! Mother Godess of the Earth rules.
    Fondly, Charlotte

  7. 7 Rosemary May 7, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    I check this site everyday to read about your adventures. What an incredible inspiration your are to so many. I pray that you will have a safe journey to the summit. Can’t wait to read your next blog.

  8. 8 chris and terry May 8, 2009 at 12:34 am

    Hi Wendy,
    We are so proud of you. You have so much courage and persistence. You go girl.
    We are rooting for you. Cheering for you. Thinking of you each waking moment.
    We are with Sarah and Mike in NJ and Mike wants to know if you know Nancy Norris
    YOu are giving us so much inspiration about life and overcoming such huge obstacles.
    We love and miss you.
    Our prayers and happy cheers are with you. You are the best!
    Chris and Terry

  9. 9 Hether May 8, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Wendy – Your analogy to the board game “Sorry” can be applied to so many things in life. Just remember, you are there! That, in itself, is a HUGE accomplishment. You are my hero.

    Heather

    P.S. Carol & I talk about you all the time. We love you and are so proud of you.

  10. 10 LIZ DONOVAN May 8, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    Just know that I send many calm, joy and peaceful thougths as you journey each day. This web site makes me feel so connected. Blessings.
    Liz

  11. 11 Jennifer May 8, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Wendy,
    Every day when I check in to see your latest, I’m reminded of how far you’ve come from that first trip to Colorado (orange Gatorade, anyone?). From marathons to mountains, you have persevered and overcome. Stay positive and keep the goal in mind. Be safe and know you have a ton of support sending positive vibes as you tackle this final mountain. Summit or not, you are an inspiration!
    Take care,
    Jenn

  12. 12 Antonella May 9, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    Wendy,

    Unbelievable! You are doing so great. Keep focused. Just like you said, keep your head down and keep pressing on. After all, it’s just some snow (and ice and wind…), right? You are way tougher than that stuff! One step at a time. Make good choices and you’ll get there. You are so strong and smart and tough. Show that mountain who’s boss!!
    From Your Most Favorite PT

  13. 13 Minna Blair May 10, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Wendala my computer has been on the blitz for weeks…hence no messages from me….I have been thinking of you everyday…am at Susie and Petes so am able to connect…Happy Mothers Day….your blogs are fabulous….you are amazing …what a celebration we will have when you reach home….every step you take is a moment that leaves those of us at home in awe….keep going girl….Loven’hugs Minna


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About Wendy Booker

In June of 1998, this 55 year old mother of three was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS after experiencing balance problems, blurred vision and numbness on her left side. When first diagnosed, Wendy was devastated. But it took very little time for her to transform anguish into inspiration. She immediately turned her hobby of casual running into a continuous pursuit and has now completed nine marathons.

Mountain climbing became the next conquest. Wendy learned about a team of mountain climbers with Multiple Sclerosis who were attempting to climb Mt. McKinley (Denali) in Alaska. With no previous climbing experience, she dedicated a year to hard training and set off with them in 2002. Although weather conditions prohibited the team from completing, Wendy attempted the summit again in 2004 on her own and she succeeded!

The feeling of accomplishment she experienced propelled her next aspiration: to climb the highest mountain on each continent. Just five years later, Wendy Booker has successfully reached the top of six of The Seven Summits – Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. McKinley, Mt. Elbrus, Mt. Aconcagua, Mt. Vinson Massif and Mt. Kosciuszko. Mt. Everest, the highest mountain on earth, still awaits for 2010.


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