Paul Pottinger’s Adventures from the Top of the World

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Everest: The Rematch

Everest 2016  •  March 24

I am headed back to climb Mt. Everest tomorrow.  Here are answers so some of the questions I’ve gotten in recent months.

Really?  Really.  You are really going back there?  Why not cut your losses and stop while you are ahead?
My goal has not changed.  The earthquake was an unprecedented freak act of nature… It caused a huge calamity, struck a major blow to the people of Nepal, and took the lives of many.  It was awful.  But… it has not changed my resolve one bit.

How does your family feel about all this?
They love me (for some reason) and thus they support me fully, even if this obsession makes no sense to them.  I adore them more than I can ever say.  Strange to say, but being away for two months will be tougher on me than on them (they may feel differently).

And your career?   How do you get this time off?
As before, wonderful and supportive colleagues have made it possible for me to take this leave of absence.  They are amazing.

What’s the plan for Everest 2.0?
The plan is virtually the same as it was last time.  I will climb with International Mountain Guides (IMG) hybrid team.  Our itinerary is virtually the same as last time.

Are you still planning to use supplemental oxygen?
Yep.  Still in awe of those who do not.  And, still not eager to find out if I am one of the 5% who can pull it off.

Who is on your team?
Many of my friends from last time are joining again, although some are not able to return for this season.  We will miss them very much.  But, this gives us a chance to make new friends too, which is always good.  As last time, this blog will be about my own personal experiences, and only include general info on my friends if they give their explicit permission.  For info on our expedition, please see the official IMG expedition blog.

Any changes to your training program this time?
Yes.  I budgeted more time for training this year, and that is always a good thing.  I got the garage into shape for my workouts, which is much better for me than going to the gym.  I worked with the amazing sports medicine team at Husky Stadium to address my chronic knee pain, and am stunned to report that their diagnosis and management plans were perfect: physical therapy WORKS, and I am now virtually pain free, for the first time in as long as I can recall.  This allowed me to push it pretty hard this year.  I am starting the trip 10 pounds lighter than last year, and with about 10 pounds more muscle on board.  I’m defending a pulse ox of 85% while jogging at simulated 13,000 feet, with a 22 lb pack, at 30 degree incline and 50% resistance.  Not bad for a 47-year-old guy who works full time and lives at sea level.  Although I did not get out to the mountains as much as I would like this past year, the training climbs with my friends have been amazing.

My standard training route: 100 steps down the street from my house. Typical routine: 24 reps up & down.
My standard training route: 100 steps down the street from my house. Typical routine: 24 reps up & down.
Garage reborn as a gym.
Garage reborn as a gym.
Top of South Early Winters Spire with John and Doug.
Top of South Early Winters Spire with John and Doug.
On top of Liberty Bell with Tom, Kim, and John.
On top of Liberty Bell with Tom, Kim, and John.
On Forbidden Peak with John and Tom.
On Forbidden Peak with John and Tom.
Huddling by the fire in Ouray with Andy and Kim.
Huddling by the fire in Ouray with Andy and Kim.
Staying hydrated while belaying Steven. Thanks, Kim.
Staying hydrated while belaying Steven. Thanks, Kim.
Jim, Kim, and Steven on the ice.
Jim, Kim, and Steven on the ice.
Savoring the water ice at Ouray.
Savoring the water ice at Ouray.
San Jacinto with Doug.
San Jacinto with Doug.

Did you sleep in that hypoxic tent again?
Yes.  Since 1/1/16.  I think it helps.  I have maxed out my sleeping altitude at 13,000 feet, because for me going higher does impact my sleep architecture… tough to get up and train and work a full day after sleeping higher.

Any new gear you are bringing?
My kit is virtually the same as last time, very much standard issue IMG, just a few small tweaks based on my experiences last year. One nice new feature is a Delorme InReach satellite tracker, which I will use to track our progress on the climb… I can also text with it, in case connectivity is bad up there (which will certainly happen at some point). You can follow our progress on my MapShare Page.  If you want details on my kit, please see my videos:

Are you really ready for this?
Oh yes.  Much more relaxed and confident this time.  We have been to Camp 2, and come out of a big quake unscathed.  Most of the mystery that can provoke anxiety is wiped away.  I know what I need to do, and how to do it.

When will we hear from you next?
Stay thirsty, my friends.  More coming soon…

4 thoughts on “Everest: The Rematch

  1. It’s reassuring to know you are so well prepared and in such terrific shape. Now if Mother Nature will only cooperate this year! Stay in touch when you can. Love you!

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