Planning for Everest

Later this year I will be in Nepal, climbing to the Mt Everest Base Camp. The base camp sits at an elevation of 17,598 feet above sea level on the southeast face of the tallest mountain in the world. To give you some perspective, the base camp is 10 times the height of One World Trade Center and over 3,000 ft taller than any mountain in the continental US.

The hike to the Everest base camp is tough. The trek takes about 8 days of hiking at very high altitudes. Apart from the unpredictable mountain weather, altitude sickness is the most dangerous and potentially deadly risk. As my trip grows nearer and I tell people about my plans I often get the same response. “Why? Why would you want to do that?”

Well, spoiler alert. I don’t really know how to answer that question. I don’t really know why.

This awe-inspiring and unforgiving mountain has just always been in the back of my mind, calling me. Hiking in the Himalayas, and particularly Everest has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid I had this coffee table book titled, “The 10 most beautiful hikes in the world” and in that book was the Everest Base Camp trail. In college I read the book “Into Thin Air,” about an ill-fated 1997 Everest expedition and my fascination with the mountain intensified. As I grew up and climbed taller and taller mountains the pull to experience Everest continued to grow.

My fascination with Everest is not unique. The native people of the Himalayan region considered Everest and other peaks in the region to be sacred. They are revered as protective deities, and in the native name for Everest means “Mother of the World.”

There is also a rich history of westerners, like us, being captivated by Mount Everest. At over 29k feet high, this mountain is seen as the ultimate challenge for the world’s top explorers and mountaineers. The dangers of the mountain – altitude sickness, severe weather, avalanches, crevasse, ice falls, and extremely high winds – have done little to deter thousands of people from attempting to climb to the summit. Everest is so incredibly tall that its peak extends into the upper troposphere and penetrates the stratosphere, so it is exposed to extremely fast and freezing jetstream winds that reach over 175 miles per hour. People have literally been blown off the mountain. There are well over 200 frozen corpses on the main climbing routes and many now serve as landmarks for other climbers.

The first documented attempt to climb Mount Everest was in 1921. After a number of unsuccessful expeditions two of the greatest mountaineers of the time, George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, made a summit attempt on June 8th of 1924. They were seen high on the mountain in the late morning by their support team below, but clouds obscured the summit from view the rest of the day. The two never returned to their camp. They disappeared into the mountain. To this day the mountaineering community hotly debates whether or not they were the first climbers to reach the summit of Everest. The first climbers to officially reach the summit did so 29 years later in 1953.

In 1999, after over 7 decades of searching for the bodies George Mallory and his partner, the climbers who disappeared back in 1924, his body was finally found. Interestingly enough, my uncle was on the expedition team that discovered Mallory’s body. Months later, over Thanksgiving dinner, my uncle recounted the story to my family and I, showing us pictures from the expedition.

Now I am not going to attempt climbing to the top of Everest like the late George Mallory, although the thought has definitely crossed my mind. I want to climb to the base camp.

I want to stand in awe of the tallest mountain on earth.

To stand in the footprints of the incredibly brave and strong humans that have gone before me.

To push my mind and body to extreme conditions that I have never before experienced.

To prove to myself that I can do it.

To share in the rich and sacred history of the Himalayas.

Why do I want to hike on Mount Everest? I think the late George Mallory himself said it best. In 1923, they year before his final and fatal summit attempt, Mallory was asked by a New York Times reporter, “Why do you want to climb Everest?” Mallory responded with three simple words, “Because it’s there…”

Love,

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Inspiration from Everest

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“But there are men for whom the unattainable has a special attraction. Usually they are not experts: their ambitions and fantasies are strong enough to brush aside the doubts which more cautious men might have. Determination and faith are their strongest weapons. At best such men are regarded as eccentric; at worst, mad.” – Walt Unsworth

“We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to live. That is what life means and what life is for.” – George Mallory

“It is not the mountains we conquer, but ourselves” – Edmond Hillary

I’m writing a speech about my upcoming treck to Everest Base Camp and came across these super inspiring quotes. I just had to share! The first one in particular resonates with me. Enjoy 🙂

Love,

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Wise Words from Dallas Clayton

In a recent Instagram story Dallas Clayton said something very profound that made me stop in my tracks.

“Making art has almost nothing to do with being the best.”

Now, when I first heard him say this my old perfectionist mind did a quick, “Say what?! Not true.That’s just an excuse.” But, then he elaborated.

“I’d rather be a mediocre bowler and have fun every game than be really good and be mad when I  get a 299.”

Oh Dallas, you are so wise! Making art has nothing to do with being the best. If we do make it about being the best then we’ve missed the whole point! We become the tortured artist instead of the happy doodler.

Every day I create art.

Every day I choose happiness not perfectionism.

Every day I choose collaboration not comparison.

 

Alan Watts – Why Your Life is Not a Journey

 

I mean, wow! I love this video.

Alan Watts so perfectly describes something about our society that I have been thinking about for years.

At the ripe old age of 14, while in junior high, I remember realizing that everything I’d done since kindergarten was just a step in preparing me for the next thing. And that string of “things” I needed to prepare for seemed to be never ending.

I looked back to the past: I attended preschool to prepare me for kindergarten, kindergarten prepared me for grade school, grade school for middle school, middle school for junior high.

I looked toward the future: junior high was supposedly preparing me for high school, high school for college, college for graduate school, graduate school for my career, my career for my retirement.

It all seemed so planned, so predictable, so unexciting, so meaningless.

Life is this exact moment. This moment is all we have. This moment is where life happens.

Look around you…this moment is beautiful! Let’s experience it with our entire being.

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p.s. Thank you, David Lindberg, for sharing this video.

Free Coloring Pages!

Hey guys! In case you haven’t seen it yet, I’ve added a new page to my website called “Coloring Pages” where I’ve posted two FREE downloadable coloring pages for your coloring pleasure. I hope that you love them as much as I loved creating them!

I’d love to see your art work! Use hashtag #artaffirmationcp and tag me @theevapeterson on twitter or instagram to share!

Infinite Love,

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“Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

 

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Experiments in watercolors – Waves

Today’s experiment in watercolors comes with a quote…

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do… So throw off the bowlines, said away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sail.

Explore. Dream. Discover.”

-Mark Twain

The ocean has always fascinated me. Growing up in the midwest, about as far as a person living in the USA can get from the ocean, I had very few opportunities to actually see it. When I did I was mesmerized.

The ocean reminds me that there is a huge world out there to be explored. Somewhere, on the other side of the blue, there are people just like me looking back. It reminds me that I am a small part of a much larger whole.

It reminds me that we are all connected. This water has been cycled and recycled throughout the earth for billions of years. The energy and carbon that make up my body, my bones, my brain are also part of that cycle.

The cycle of life.

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