There has been more reactions to my plans for Pakistan. People tell me I should not go by myself, that carrying my own stuff will make me too tired. Yes it might be true but how can you ever be self sufficient in the mountains if you can´t even carry your own stuff, set up your own tent and melt your own snow? I know it´s a lot harder to carry everything yourself. I have done that. It makes you slow too. It´s really nice to have someone carry everything for you, set up your tent and serve you hot tea and pizza when you come to camp II instead of dumping your stuff and then head back to camp I to carry one more time and when you get back – fight in the wind to set your tent and first two hours later have some water that you can drink and cook some food. I´m not going to this expedition so be served. I´m going to get more experience in how to do this on my own.
Then people say that I should use oxygen so I have a chance to get to the summit. I have never used oxygen on a mountain before. To me that is doping. Unless it´s used as medicine in an emergency. I´m sure using oxygen will make everything easier. Studies show that being on 8000 m feels like being on 6700 m if you use oxygen. Click here to read more about it and see graphs on this. It´s quite a big difference. But I want to see what it feels like and how my body reacts to the altitude for real. I´m sure it will be the hardest thing I´ve ever done. And I don´t know how high it will be possible for me to go. But that´s what I´m there to find out. Getting to the summit any way I can is not interesting to me. I don´t even care about the summit. It´s all about the experience.
So why don´t you go to a cheaper mountain and a lower mountain? You should at least have climbed a 7500 m mountain before even attempting a 8000 m mountain. That´s what people say. Yes experience is really important. But going on an expedition to a 7500 m mountain will be almost as expensive to me if we are talking money. It´s not just about the cost of the expedition. It´s also the cost of not being able to work during these weeks. So I felt that I might as well go to a mountain where it would be possible to go over 8000 m if the opportunity came. If I invest this time and want to test myself and learn as much as possible – why limit that possibility by choosing a lower one? If I feel good at 7500 m I can continue. If I don´t I will probably already have turned around. And to me it was important to go to a place I really wanted to see and visit. Karakorum is that place. I don´t feel that excited about Khan Tengri or Pik Lenin. The motivation for the mountain I´m climbing have to be there. It has to be a mountain I´m drawn to.
Your first 8000 m mountain should be Manaslu or Cho Oyu – those are the easiest ones people say. Yes if you want to get to the summit those are easier. Not as dangerous. But if it´s not about getting to the summit of an 8000 m mountain by any means then maybe it´s better to choose one you like? The motivation have to be there. I don´t know why others climb mountains. Everyone have their own reasons. I have never questioned that. Why does one think getting to the summit is the biggest reason? It´s not the case for me.
Why even going climbing a mountain if the summit isn´t the goal they say. What a waste of time. I don´t feel that way. To me – this is a learning experience. And I could not be more excited to go to this place I really want to visit and climb on high altitude and see how it goes.
I was pretty broken down yesterday at first from all of this. I felt like shit and questioned why I should even go there. I have probably not trained enough, I don´t have a chance anyway. I should probably just stay home and not waste my time. Everything I do is wrong. Stupid. I let all of these comments get to me.
So I spent the evening having a long talk with my coach. It felt a lot better after. He reminded me about when we were at Aconcagua. I might not been the fittest person there. I was probably not the one that trained the most before that expedition. But I did really good. I was strong the whole expedition and on the summit day – going faster than many others even tho I had carried everything on the mountain by myself. I started thinking about how I felt on the summit. I felt good. I was not exhausted so that I couldn´t had continued. I could easily pitched a tent up there if I had one with me. I even ran down the mountain after. I try to think about those things. That was not my limit. And I know 6962 m is not 8000 m. There is more than a 1000 m difference. And it´s huge. But you never know unless you try.
And then he said it so well to me: This is your learning experience so go there and get the experience you are looking for. This is not the last mountain you will climb. This is just a start. This is a test for the future. You will go there and discover what you need to work on for the future.
This is the reason I´m climbing this mountain. And all this focus on getting to a summit – like that is all that counts. That´s not how I think about this at all. And I know that might be different and that others doesn´t understand. The question I will be asking myself after this experience is not “did I get to the summit?” it will be “did I get the experience I was looking for?”