Paul and I have text conversations almost every day, and he sent me this from Camp 3:
“Great climb, feeling good, nice conditions, oxygen working well. Could not have gone better.”
I think he might be a little drunk on bottled O2, because he went on to say that I was married to a mountain stallion/goat. “Take your pick,” he said. I think he is strong like ox, nimble like mountain goat.
He is feeling MUCH better than last time and asked me to pass along the following:
“Great climb to C3. 5:20 door to door, way better than 10:45 last time. Guess I’m not sick anymore! Enjoying the company, the view, and 0.5 LPM O2.”
And then, while we were texting, someone died. Someone (not an IMG climber, not anyone Paul knows) fell off the Lhotse Face and slid right past everyone at Camp 3. Paul did not see it–he was in his tent texting me–but I think others did. The climber was not using proper safety techniques.
People often ask how I can let Paul go climbing. I reply it’s not up to me to “let” him do anything. And that if he’s going to have a midlife crisis, this is far safer than a motorcycle. But the big reason I am not paralyzed with fear is that I know him. He is not a danger junkie. I don’t fully understand why he climbs, but I know he is not in this for the adrenaline. He knows that coming back down is always more important than going up.
And he always clips twice.