30 Days to Leave for Mount Everest

I close my eyes so deeply, so tight, and I see what my Father saw during the last days of his life, the last minutes, the last seconds. I was there with him at that time. His eyes were so shut, and his mind would not allow him to open them, no matter how much I wanted, no matter how much he wanted to live. Then on his last breath, he turned his head, opened his eyes, looked at me, squeezed my hand, and shed a tear. And then he died. And he left this life, and my life, and the life of my Sister. It’s not hard for me to be with my Father in this way, and also, when I am suffering physically, or mentally or spiritually, I remind myself that I have the ability to open my eyes. Such a simple act that gives me strength, confidence, and perseverance. I wanted him to open his eyes and be with me, but he could not. The fact I can open my eyes, and take a breath, are incredibly powerful.

I have been cursed with a respiratory viral infection. This kind of thing happens, at least to me anyway, when you are training very hard, as well as keeping up your professional and personal responsibilities. I actually am not completely unhappy about it. While it has impacted my training for about 1 week, it is preferable to be sick now, while I have adequate time and a good environment to rid myself of the virus and build immunity from another one. This is particularly important because if you end up with a respiratory infection as you arrive to begin your acclimating and climbing, it is almost guaranteed you will have that infection, and it will worsen, during your time on the mountain. This will compromise your chances of success. It’s like one of those things that life has given me some lemons, and I’m going to make some Lemon Pie.

Every day I wake up, and almost immediately I am aware of exactly how many days remain until I leave to climb the mountain. There is so much to do- ensure adequate gear, ensure professional and personal affairs in order, confirm logistics of climb, and train for the climb. It is incredibly consuming. Specifically, it is incredibly mentally consuming. Climbing is 80% mental and 20% physical. - Steve House. Never have more accurate words been spoken.

To combat my very real and regular feelings of insecurity, and quite fortuitously in terms of timing, I was referred Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins. This book, and its sound bite nuggets of Soul Taking, Cookie Jars Gifts, and the like, has been an amazing coach for me. His wisdom on suffering, and how to overcome it, backed by his undeniably challenging life, remind me regularly of my own personal motivations for the 7 Summits. Someone is always suffering more than me, someone is always going through something so much harder than me, so any feelings of weakness or self doubt I have cause me to reflect on that reality and simply keep digging deeper.

I have downloaded an app that will allow me to transcribe my journey, on Everest, as well as draft a book. The Otter app permits the audio, and when there is a wifi connection, the audio is transcribed. I am excited about this process. It will allow me to publish a book. There’s quite a story to tell, and the 7 Summits is really a metaphor for the Phoenix, a way to do right many things I felt were done wrong. I intend to bare my soul.

I’ve begun a campaign to raise $20,000.00 (or more) for Mount Everest, and of that, $10,000.00 will go to Keck USC. In addition, I will host a going away fundraising event on March 16. I also have partnered with Karma International as my brand ambassador for Mount Everest.

First up, Mount Everest. 30 days and I’m on a plane to Kathmandu.

Anthony McClaren