by Chad Butrick
October 15 PHERICHE (This post was held up @12 hours due to an Asia-wide satellite outage) – What a day! I almost don’t know where to begin this was such an exciting day. After trekking for 10 days we finally approached our summit day with excitement. It was really hard to get any sleep before making our climb. I was extremely restless.
We left in two groups one at 1 am the other at 3 am. The plan was to meet on the summit together. When group one left I was already up and ready to go despite leaving in group two. The first part of the climb was a rock scramble up really slabby rock. There was lots of loose rock and scree also.
Toward the top of the rocks we could see the massive snow slopes above us as the sun began to rise. We were also greeted by the massive giant mountains of Nepal. I have been in the mountains in Colorado and Alaska and I can assure you nothing compares to the scale of these beautiful rugged giants. NOTHING! We quickly strapped on our crampons and began our ascent.
It was as hard as you think it would be. I have climbed a lot of mountains but never at this altitude. It is a real fight to survive the altitude, save the climbing. I was blown away at the resolve I saw on everyone’s face as they pushed themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally. I remember conversations along the trail as we began to push each other knowing that everyone on our ropes had what it took to summit.
As I hit the summit I broke down in tears. Charley Mace had to dry my eyes as I was overcome with a sense of accomplishment and pride. I had reached my personal elevation high at 20,075 feet. It is hard to describe my complete mental process but I was overwhelmed with emotion.
Then I looked up. There is nothing like looking across the skyline and seeing nothing but huge, giant mountains for as far as the eye can see. There are absolutely no words to describe the scale and size of these mountains. NO WORDS. We looked across the valley and saw the highest mountain in the world; a short 8 miles that might as well have been 100. The scale is that big. No photo will do it justice. Our team met on the summit and it was a very emotional experience for all involved. It was a real coming together showing what a few individuals could do if they decided to do it, disability or not.
Knowing that getting to the top was only half way we spent a short 45 minutes on the summit and began our descent. With a couple of exceptions we all arrived at our advanced base camp unscathed.
I know over the next few days/weeks I will have a lot more to say about the day and what we experienced but honestly I am not sure I have processed all of it yet.
I would like to thank sponsors again for getting us here. For me in particular I would like to thank United Airlines, Bent Gate Mountaineering, Quaker and World T.E.A.M Sports.
We have a few more days of trekking to get down completely and I will talk to all of you again soon!