May 10th, 2010
Not long after I left for my stay in NYC, Chad Kellogg left for Mt. Everest. As a friend and climbing partner, it’s a trip I think of with pride and trepidation. Chad is attempting to set the record for a single push from base camp to the summit and back (via the south col) without aid from Sherpas and without supplemental oxygen. He’ll be starting at 17,500 feet and going to 29,035 and back in, what he hopes, is under 30 hours.
Chad is an incredible planner; give him a goal and he’ll start ticking backwards from the deadline and have a schedule laid out down to the minute. He is also a machine. Having been run into the ground by him, I don’t say that lightly. If anyone can do a single oxygen-less push on Everest, solo, it would be Chad.
A couple mornings ago, while home in Seattle for Mother’s Day weekend, I was sitting in the sunshine with T talking about the important things in life like Legos, Batman, and Bakugan when I showed him a picture of the Baltoro glacier. At the end of it was K2, the second highest peak in the world. Then I mentioned Everest, and I mentioned Chad. T has met him, and remembers him, so we talked about the climb. We then watched a video of Chad on the Outdoor Research Verticulture site, including footage from his helmet camera on the South Face of Aconcagua. Looking at the steep ice and overhanging seracs, T grasped the gravity of Chad’s endeavor, and expressed it in his own terms. “Does he have kids?” T asked.
“No,” I replied, and then tried to explain the concepts of risk assessment, planning, and trusting yourself and your decisions. I think Chad will laugh when he finds out I’m using him as a role model. Or, at least, a partial one. I held back on something Chad has said to me many times since Lara’s death: you better make the most of the here and now, because you don’t know what tomorrow may bring. I understand and struggle with the thought; it’s a tough concept to bear even for adults, much less a six year old. So, for now, I’ll stick with the simpler and more upbeat of the life skills I can share with him.
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