Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. — John Muir

I

once dabbled in the Himalayas in North India. Now it’s time for the real deal. I leave Chiang Mai tomorrow for Kathmandu where I’ll gear up with enough cold-weather crap to equip an Eskimo village. After Thailand’s 103 F temps, I have a feeling 15 degrees F on the summit is going to feel brutal.

The loose plan is to veer off the Everest Base Camp trail (it’s too busy) and go north through Everest National Park toward the Gokyo region. Sights are set for one summit at 5,357 meters (17,575 feet). And if time permits, another at around 6,000 meters (19,685 feet). I’ll leave for the summit at midnight and grab a photo of sunrise coming up on the Holy Mother herself.

gokyo-area

I’m unprepared, hate cold weather, am walking solo, and only have a month. The trek is a minimum of 21 days. There is a fuel shortage screwing up flights to Lukla, so I may have to walk an additional five days to and from the trailhead.

Some of the trails are still broken up from last year’s quake. I’m on the cusp of the season, so rain and/or melting may be a problem. Oh…and I have a broken toe from February — hence the lack of physical preparation. The bone never set.

This should be interesting. Under ordinary circumstances, I would be screwed. But I do have one important thing going in my favor: mountain madness. Never underestimate a well-timed fit of reckless madness. I’ll crawl up that summit if I have to do so. Or hire a Sherpa to carry my shattered body in a burlap sack. Am I nervous? You bet. But that’s a good thing.

I pay good money to bang on the walls of my elongated comfort zone. I don’t fear for safety or well-being; I fear failure. Failure is not an acceptable outcome.

One of my favorite sayings comes from the region and has never been more applicable, in more ways than one: May there be a road.

Done! And as usual, I survived. Here’s the story about solo trekking in Nepal.