09 September 2007

High hopes

It's been a dull and uneventful summer spent working away for my client in Doha. The weeks passed in blur of routine activity - Sunday through Thursday in the office, Sunday evening Mass at Qatar's first and only Catholic church, a (censored) movie at the local mall on Friday, and lounging around the pool at the Four Seasons on Saturday. The only that kept things from getting too monotonous was the Four Season's luxurious fitness centre, where I spent hours every day preparing myself for the effort I will attempt tomorrow - an ascent to the summit of Mt. Blanc at 4810 meters.

Currently, I am at the Tête Rousse hut at 3167 meters, which I have reached after spending the past week in and around Arolla, in Switzerland on an Alpine skills course run by Jagged Globe. So after six months of physical conditioning, maintaining the discipline of my training regime in fitness centres in Sweden, Czech Republic, Hungary, Mexico, Dubai and Qatar, undergoing a week of skills training, altitude acclimatisation and practice climbing on Swiss peaks, and having spent what seems like a small mountain of cash on shiny new kit, success or failure has now been reduced to the performance of myself and the mountain over the next 24 hours. If I can continue to ignore the blisters, the sunburn, the soreness and the stiffness, overcome my reluctance to trust a four centimer ledge of rock to support my foot over a 300 meter precipice, and above all, manage to keep putting one foot in front of another for 12+ hours; AND of course the mountain does its part by letting the absolutely flawless conditions we have been enjoying to continue for another day or two, then it will be hard not to succeed. I cannot see how my chances could be any better - my mind and body are prepared, I've got the right gear, a guide I feel comfortable with, and a good weather forecast. If all goes as I hope and believe, then my next post - inshallah - will be made from the summit. It's now about 20:30 and I'm about to turn in. At 1:30 tomorrow morning I'll drag myself back out of bed, put on a headlamp, crampons, climbing harness and all the clothing I've brought with me, and begin my trudge up the glacier.

As one of my many efforts to ensure success was to reduce the weight I am carrying to the minimum possible, I have reduced my usual complement of electronics (laptop, PDA and two mobiles) to a single small mobile, which means I have been forced to tap out this entry on a standard 12 key keypad. I am discovering it is an excellent way to incentivise linguistic brevity - if only lawmakers could be compelled to draft legislation; and lawyers their legal briefs - using such technology, we would all undoubtedly benefit.

Tête Rousse
9 September 2007

1 comment:

DJ Grouper said...

I thought Mont Blanc was a company that made expensive pens! You mean it's a mountain, too?

Anyway, knowing you, I'd bet that you made it to the top. Even if you didn't, the mastery that you have gained over your inner sloth as a result of the attempt is a great accomplishment.

If you made it to the top, let's see some goddamn fotos! Now! Don't leave us hanging in suspense, you dog!