Seven Summits

Hiking, very much like running a marathon – mentally!

As I was hiking today, I realized that setting out on a hike is very similar to running a marathon. At the onset you are scared, then once you start hiking you are excited and believe you can complete it, and several times in-between you question your sanity. Your body aches and you want to scream. An hour before your reach the finish line you tell yourself it is impossible to continue as your body aches and your legs are threatening to stop moving and you are going to just pass out. Then ten minutes before the end, you think to yourself – ‘this was not that bad’.

These thoughts and many more went through my head today, as I did three days in a row of hiking, as per RMI’s ‘Fit to Climb: Week 14 – RMI Expeditions Mountaineering Training.’

Since this was the Victoria Day long weekend, I thought it was perfect timing. On Saturday I hiked 2 hours, and even though the schedule did not call for it, I wore my twelve pound weight vest, to compensate for minimum elevation gains, of because of where I live. Then yesterday, Sunday I did a four hour hike, again wearing my twelve pound vest, because I was only able to gain 298 meters (about 1,000 feet) in elevation, when the training called for 2,500 feet. Yesterday it was raining off and on and the trails were muddy, but great practice for the Carstensz Pyramid upcoming climb I rationalized.

These two days were the prelude to today’s hike, where I had to hike for seven hours, carrying 45 pounds. I headed to the Bruce trail. Steve dropped me off at Limehouse, and then I proceeded to make my way towards SilveryCreek, following the main and side Blue Spruce trails.

I was a little out of place on the trails I think, carrying my 80 litre backpack. This is the backpack that I will be taking with me to Mt Rainier. I had condensed the backpack, since I had put the 45 pounds of weights inside and only had packed some lunch, water and a spare jacket. However almost everyone that I encountered on the trail, either wished me well on my long hike or inquired on how far I was going? 🙂

I currently weigh 100 pounds. So 45 pounds was hard. Really hard.  And the loneliness of hiking alone played tricks on my mind.

But at the end, like running a marathon, once you had a couple of hours of rest at home, you can’t remember how hard it was – and are ready to do it all over again.

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Training Session of May 8, 2017

May 8, 2017

I now train 7 days a week. I am training based on “Fit to Climb”, by RMI, so I am ready for my upcoming Denali Prep course with RMI’s Expedition Skills Seminar – Emmons, which is a six day instructional mountaineering course with a summit attempt on Mt. Rainier via the Emmons Glacier route.

At the same time, I am learning to rock climb and I have a personal trainer to help me build more of my upper body strength to tackle the Carstensz Pyramid.

Today, it was a particular tough day. I had hiked 3 hours yesterday, as per this weeks schedule from RMI’s weekly program, and it was to be followed by 7 hours of hiking today, with a weighted backpack.

I currently have 37 pounds on my pack.

When you are running a marathon your mind plays games with you. At least mine does!!! First you are excited to start the race and usually about around 10 km you start regretting having signed up for the full marathon. Then just around the split, you are resigned to run the whole thing. And when you are on your last 4-5 km, you question your sanity.

That was me today. At about 4 km away from home, and at about 6 hours of hiking time. I pondered using my cell phone and asking my family to come pick me up. I contemplated sitting and leaving my backpack on the side of the road and going later to pick it up. I worried not being able to climb.

Then I reach the steps of my side door and I knew that tomorrow morning I would lace up my running shoes and do the training session on the schedule.

Because like running, hiking is peaceful, challenging and I am doing it because I enjoy it.

And like when I was training for a marathon, I filled a bath and I let my body indulge for 20 minutes with the Jacuzzi jets at full capacity, and yes, I am aware this is a luxury that will not be available to me in my tent. But I am still home, so no harm in taking advantage of it!

Training is hard physically, but also mentally. Today my brain was more tired than my body, and thus they fought.

Ema

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Carstensz Pyramid – Puncak Jaya

Heinrich Harrer, an Austrian Mountaineer, athlete and author whom was born 6 July 1912.

“In 1962, he was the leader of the team of four climbers who made the first ascent of the Puncak Jaya (Carstensz Pyramid) (4,884 m, 16,024 ft) in Papua Indonesia, the highest peak in Oceania.” *

It is believed that after his many adventures, that he said these words in Papua. “„On Aigera I wanted to test my skills, in Himalayas I got to know loneliness, in Tibet unusual people. On the New Guinea Island I found everything altogether.“ 

Skills, loneliness and meeting unusual people – to me it simple sounds like three important ingredients for a wonderful adventure.

I have been reading and watching YouTube video experiences from others whom have climbed the Carstensz Pyramid. Some accounts make me laugh, some make me anxious to get there and some scare me a bit – especially those that say it is harder than Everest.

Carstensz will be my first official summit climb. I am training for the ‘skill’ aspect. The ‘loneliness’ part, I will keep in mind all the people that I am doing this with, even if they are not physically present. I am climbing with colleagues and with friends, my family will be in my mind and heart, my friends at home in my thoughts and my motivation will not falter because of those we can help by raising awareness to help #endstigma about Mental Health. Therefore by meeting “unusual people”,  this will allow me, I believe to fit right in…. 🙂

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_Harrer

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