Hearing Randy's voice from the summit today was truly one of those special moments in life that I'll never forget. He was very emotional, thankful for all the support, humbled by how this mountain had kicked even his Ironman-trained butt, exhausted, exhilarated, and mostly just 100% ecstatic. Back home in the land of abundant oxygen in little old Delaware, I was also ecstatic, proud, shocked (but not totally), excited, and mostly relieved that he was okay. Also relieved that he had managed to go back and get it done -- achieve this aggressive goal that had been nagging him since he was forced to turn back after 20,000 ft last year with fluid-filled lungs. And relieved because, well you KNOW Randy, we just might have been in this exact same position next year as he went for round 3. But here we are and he did it. Amazing. Who knows what's next, but right now we'll settle for celebrating this victory!
So now the details. I spoke at length to him a while back and they had made it roundtrip back to Camp 3 (19,600) in about a little over 12 hours. They took 9:15 to summit, stayed up there celebrating and taking in the breathtaking views (below) for about half an hour, and then came down in about 2.5 hours.
|Views of the sheer south face from the Top|
|Steep traverse on the way up|
The descent from the summit was very steep, slippery, and snowy and Randy had decided he was not going to trip and start sliding, so he took his time and stopped when he needed to. Even though Randy knows he was the slowest of the 4, JJ said it was one of the fastest descents ever. Back at Camp 3, Randy was feeling "a little tired, a little dehydrated, but overall really good". For the first time on this trip, I heard a bit of a cough, a "mountain hack" Randy called it, but that is pretty par for the course up there. The day had been really cold; in fact one of the other climbers, Tom, did get a bit of frostbite on his face. But our old faithful, Randy, at 56 years of age, managed incredibly well, didn't he?
Tomorrow they will pack up and head down to Base Camp around 10. It should take them about 4 hours to get down to Base Camp, even though it took 9 days to get from Base Camp to Camp 3! Funny how gravity works. Randy said it will feel so good to descend back to the land of thicker air and back at Base Camp tomorrow they will have a big dinner and maybe even a beer to celebrate.
Randy took a ton of pictures and videos. So now you've read the book. I know I can't wait to see the movie! : )