July 17, 2018 - Camp 1 19,700 feet
Sometimes I feel like I will safely summit this mountain, and sometimes I feel like shit. My perspective can change in minutes. I really don't feel like I have acclimitized as well as I should have after almost three weeks above 16,500 feet but there's not much that I can do about that now. Today I was taking three breaths per step most of the way to camp 1. Counting steps is abysmal, and usually only serves to make the route feel more monotonous than it actually is. So instead, I think "step, step, slide" (slide referring to the movement of my ascender up the fixed line). This phrase becomes a meditation for me and I am usually able to turn off all of the chatter and pain in my brain. Today I decided to switch my mantra to "step, step, strong". A small thing perhaps, but if I'm going to be forcing my thoughts, they might as well be positive!
Klara and I are sharing a tent up here at 19,700 feet and it's a bit comical. Real estate at camp 1 is more than sparse and the slope is steep. So steep that I need a harness to prevent rolling down the mountain when I go to the bathroom. I'll spare you the details. Back to our tent situation … we're sharing tents with another team which means that we’re moving up the mountain a day after them and sleep in the tents that they've just left. There's always interesting things left behind, like chop sticks and pee bottles (ugh!) but the most exciting thing is that we're using rolled-up tents on the floor of our tent to level it (in case you're thinking of trying this, it doesn't work). Also the tents are soaking wet. Klara unfortunately is on the downhill side of our soggy, crooked tent and I am constantly sliding into her, pushing her into the side of the tent. Which is concerning because there is a label on our tent which makes me think that it's been in use since 2009! I'm worried that the aged nylon will rip and we'll both pop out.
I had another special surprise today … my period. I hope that's not too much info, that's just what happens when you're a girl and you climb mountains!
It's snowing now as predicted but the plan is still to move to camp 2 tomorrow.