More Altitude Sickness & Humility
- It was only after failed attempts to eat, then a quite sleepless night did I emerge in the
morning feeling better. It was a clear and beautiful day, and there were very few people
in the camp.
The camp consisted of two shelters that had bunks for for climbers to use -- we pitched
our own tent.
A group came down at about noon having reached the summit early in the morning. One
boy had serious altitude sickness, and it was painful to watch him suffer. He looked
extremely tired but restless -- he just couldn't escape the pain and finally broke down
sobbing. Some people tried to take his mind off it, but it was no use. Luckily, I didn't
think much of it -- I thought had my bout with it already (not knowing what was still in
store for me...).
We spent the day melting snow on flat rocks that faced the sun, collecting the dripping
water in botttles and then taking them to either (1) boil with a portable gas stove and or
(2) add iodine pellets or (3) chlorine drops. You either use up all your gas, get iodine-
tasting water (and realize why no one would ever cook with iodine) or you get pool water
When you are up that high in such conditions, it just matters that you have water!
By afternoon I felt fine again, and I climbed up to a peak to meditate on the amazing
panorama of moutains. You still find yourself a little short of breath, but it is so pure and
pristine to be in such a location. I took pictures, but my camera failed to download
properly... Renunciation was essential at that moment and everytime I think about it!
We then packed up, had our dinner and settled down to rest for two hours until 11pm
when we agreed to get up and get ready to leave by midnight for the summit...
To Be Continued
--- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, natabara7 <no_reply@y...> wrote:
> My hat is off to the Sri Chinmoy Climbing Team who have climbed some of the
> highest peaks in the world. I have a new admiration for them -- I now understand
> just how difficult it can be, particularly with regard to adjusting to altitude.
> Approaching 10,000 feet, where we camped the first night, I started to feel my first
> bout of altitude sickness. It first hit me by becoming short of breath, and then just
> slow. It creeps up on you, because you are climbing with a 50 pound pack on your
> back and you can't gage whether you are just tired or something else is happening.
> I kept looking up for the camp, wondering "Where in the heck is it!". I then realized
> something was hitting me.
> Here is what you feel:
> - Your brain is quietly trying to expand out of your skull...
> - Your brain stops working and functions at about 30%...
> - You are short of breath, and that alone reminds you of just how fragile you are as a
> human being. Your life is based on breathing air, and suddenly that source of life is
> cut short. This is a humbling phenomenon.
> - You are really getting tired and irritable at this point, and all you want to do is stop,
> - Your head won't let you relax or rest properly -- it wants to remind you that you are
> All this compounds to make you feel miserable, and thankfully my climbing mates
> shined with true spiritual colors as they pitched the tent and even blew up my
> sleeping mat for me to finally plop down upon. My heart goes out to them even now.
> TO BE CONTINUED