I am toying with the idea of taking a mountaineering course next spring/summer in Washington with a long term goal of climbing Denali and Cho Oyu with in 5-10 years. I am almost 95% I am going to take the course next year but beyond that things are a little hazy. Mountaineering is very expensive. A sponsor would be cool. Frank I am looking your way, I promise to wear your patches and fly your flag from the top of either Denali or Cho Oyu. Normally Everest is a goal for the aspiring mountaineer, but there are a few reasons that isn't even in my sights. It would cost me about 50 - 75k which I do not have. The success rate is far to low and for the price you have to pay it is not worth it. And it is much much to dangerous. So after some research I found that Cho Oyu is an 8000m peak and is much better to attempt. The success rate is much higher. It isn't "as" dangerous as Everest, but yet you get the experience of what it is like to work at that altitude. It is the 6th highest peak in the world and that seems to suit me fine. I am kind of a 6th kind of guy.
This all started last winter. I had this strange revelation when I was skiing at Big Sky and I stopped to rest while skiing Liberty Bowl, which is a run that starts from the top of Lone Peak at 11,166'. Anyway, I stopped to rest like I said, I sat down in the snow and started looking around at the beautiful scenery. And then it hit me, holy shit I was sitting on the side of this giant piece of rock. I looked around, I was the only person there, it was silent except for the wind blowing lightly. I swear to god that I could hear the snow hitting the ground. I felt so small in the world. It was the weirdest and most incredible feeling I have ever had. I sat there for about 10 minutes and just thought about how when I am gone this mountain will still be here and that maybe some other lucky person will stop in this spot and have the same feeling. Then I started thinking, this mountain is 11,166' high. I have skied probably about 1000 or so vertical feet so I am still above 10,000 but there are places on earth that are twice and almost three times this high. Denali 20,000, Cho Oyu is 26,000, and of course Everest at 29,0029. I started thinking what would it be like to sit in the snow on the side of one of those and look off into the distance. What would that be like? Well, I think I want to find out.
The class is an 8 day mountaineering training session on Mount Rainier in Washington. I think I have found the place that I am going to do the class through so now I just need to make the decision, and start collecting some gear that I will need. Luckily I have the most supportive wife in the whole world, she knows of the revelation that I had on Lone Peak and understands my whims better then anyone. She has a beautiful and VERY understanding heart. I told her of the costs and she said that was fine we will figure things out. So I guess I really don't have any excuse not to do it. Hmmm what to do, what to do...
UPDATED: I have become what I have sneered at.
11 hours ago