We finally landed the day before yesterday after 2 previous attempts. I can't say I was upset about any part of it as we had plenty of time and the weather was improving. The first day was pretty brutal. The scenery is beyond stunning but you really are head down, pulling a giant sled and carrying a heavy pack.
The mountain and my team believe in equal opportunities so we split the team gear evenly. I was carrying well over 100lbs which unfortunately resulted in some pretty bad rubbing and bruising on my hips. This isn't the worst part.. unfortunately I also developed some very large and in charge blisters. Epic sizes and brutal pain. It's tough because the first few days are full of long glacier travel trips with heavy loads.
Our whole team of 12 are discussing solutions. It's slowing me down quite a bit which then slows my rope mates down. Everything is a group effort so it makes me feel quite bad. No one likes to be the weak link. I feel like the hips etc. will adjust over time and we will continue to have lighter loads as we move things up the mountain and store caches of gear. The blisters, as we all know, can be very debilitating. We will try to work around them as we continue pushing up the mountain. Three people from the group next to us left this morning. As I said before, there is nothing easy about this mountain.
I couldn't help but think yesterday about the women and girls who walk 8 hours per day to fetch water. Denali is very hard for me but I am here by choice. Women and girls in this world do not choose to have their lives made harder fetching water every day.
Please consider donating to #climbingforacause as I climb to support world hope International. Up to 11,000' camp tomorrow.
Sending cold Alaskan hugs,