Each climbing day as I train to summit Mount Everest, teaches me so much and I always gain a new perspective about something... There is a lot of time to think on climbing days, especially when it takes an hour or two to get to the mountain itself. Climbing over the last few days in the Swiss Alps, I have encountered some of the more fearful moments in my life!
What seemed impossible, was made possible with changing my mindset to simply, let's give it a go and then keep on going! Sometimes when I was climbing all I kept saying to myself was you got this, keep figuring out where to put your feet, focus on what part of the rock you can grab onto. Reminding myself that EVERY STEP COUNTS! Which is also the tattoo on my foot. Who knew from all those years ago, that it would come back into play and mean so much.
From all the pain in my calves, to feeling fully exhausted and drained, I knew no matter what, I needed to keep going. So often we tell ourselves things are way worse than they actually are as a way to get out of doing something. Of course, it would have been easier to say my calves hurt and go back to bed. The thing is, if we do that, we will never experience life!
Instead of me thinking, no I can't do this, I just kept having the mindset of let me try. Let me try and figure it out. Moral of the story is just take the next step and then assess. Don't say no before you have even tried!
This training has been some of the most challenging. I am beyond grateful to have the support of my guide and also of Luke. I could feel his energy and his presence there with me on the mountain. We weren't even talking (also he knew not to say anything lol) but just his support of being there was all I needed. Being able to experience these epic, challenging life moments with my person has been like nothing I could have ever imagined.
Here is a little behind the scenes dialogue from Luke and I about our climbing experience. I wish I could play audio for you because you can hear in our voices how absolutely exhausted we are, but also you can hear the sense of accomplishment at the same time. This has been quite the journey already and we aren't even to Mount Everest yet!
Ice Climbing In The Swiss Alps
Luke: Yeah, it was it was much more than what I thought it was gonna be! So really I came in with no expectations. I wasn't like oh, it better be this or better be that I was just like, I was just glad to be here. We're gonna go climb, we're gonna go ice climbing, okay, so I'm good there. And then we did. We did that. We wrapped around that thin ice climb that I was like, you've got to be kidding me. I was digging all the screws and stuff for the first time.
Rebecca: Our guide pre framed it, that it would be too thin. So in my head I was like, there's no way we're gonna do it. And then I'm clinging on. Well, you went down and round it but you must have looked at me like what an idiot!
Luke: Well you just kept your cool and kept doing it.
Rebecca: I was hugging the side of the wall.
Luke: I thought, this is not the time to say anything.
Rebecca: Yeah, don't say anything. Because you've got to literally swing around somehow and hook yourself on the wall from the backside.
Luke: Yeah, and you just went a little too high and there's no footholds there down lower. Or like a little ledge. Ice climbing was epic. Then just doing four or five stages like that and rappelling down. Then when we came to that mountain here, and we're walking out there and I'm like how far are we walking?! Like it feels like there's no end to it right?
The first day I was dressed warm because I'm like, I don't want to freeze, right. Our guides like no, I wouldn't wear those pants and I was like, oh no, I'm gonna wear these pants... I could not stop sweating! I sweated loads up to the edge of the rock.
When we got into the rocks at first I was like, oh, this is so cool. I said to you like four or five times and you're just looking at me like, are you f'in kidding me? Is he serious? Like yeah, he went there, but are we really going there?
Rebecca: We didn't say anything to each other. Just look to be like, I don't even know what's going through my head. I was like, okay, well just try it. Just try it. Then I was like, I could die. I could die.
Luke: You look at that ridge and on the one side it's down. I don't know how far but a long ways. It's down so far, at least 300 feet. And then on the other side, the same thing.
Rebecca: Well I was like Kenton goes, then I go, then you go. And I was just looking at it going, wow, just figure it out. There's not a lot pressure from Kenton, but you also just don't want to be like a pansy in front of like a guy who's summited Everest like 15 times. And if he says it's safe, it is but still. I mean, that was probably the scariest like two hours of my life.
Luke: That was scary.
Rebecca: There was a few times I was not doing it very elegantly because I didn't have the legs down. I knew that Kenton was like looking at me going "don't use your knees". But I was just holding on to the mountain. Like hugging the mountain. You see all these climbers just go do do do, then there's me, just like literally leaning in, on my knees, just crawling.
Because there was one point where I was supposed to go, it was the wedge part, but he was like just walk around the left side. And I'm like where?! You did it but I was like what, where?
Kenton's like there is a dent there, and I'm all no it's just a wall! So I literally go and put one leg either side, just shuffle across. I just don't care. I just wanted to get across to where Kenton was and what so I was like, I guess I'll scoop myself up.
Luke: That is the craziest part, that ridge because if you fall, you're done.
Rebecca: The crazy part was when he literally pulled me up like he suspended me like up there. But there was that moment right where it was really scary. I don't know how we got up there. He just looked like spider man just walked up! I get on and you're actually a little bit inverted and there's a sheer drop below you and you're going up which is only about 10 ft, if that.
Luke: You're counterintuitive. You're pushing off the mountain. I'm trusting that rope. Where if you go a long ways down, you're dead. There's no injuries. I remember when I did that, I was like, okay, I'm not gonna grab the rope. He said shove your hand in there. So I shoved my hand and I was like, pull the rope!
Like I was freaking out. I was like, oh my god, either I'm gonna die or get up there. Like, it's so freaky. But yeah, and then I got my hand on top and was able to push myself up and I'm like, thank God I'm alive.
Rebecca: But the worst part, or the bit where I like lost it was, I think the most challenging is yes, that ridge. But when you're walking around the mountain, you're like walking on the edge of the ridge. Not the top point but you're like walking around and you like walking across and there was one time I remember it vividly. There was a rock over to my right. There's one on my left. And all I needed to do was lean in to the one on my left and put my hand over to the one on the right. But my ice axe wedged itself in and as I leave it pushed me back. And that was the only time. I mean, there was moments that took my breath away but that was the only time you heard me gasp.
Luke: Well, I could feel it. You just went Oh, and then I got the rope around my hand twice and just anchored my feet and like okay!
Rebecca: There was so much nervous energy that day. Our bodies were both shot by the end of the day.
I wanted to come home and just sleep. Then I did not feel my calves until last night. And then I was like oh that feels a bit weird but I was thinking by the morning that I'd be fine. Well I woke up and guess what, they're really stiff. And they Kenton's like, well we'll just try it. I was like, you know what? I can't just quit there. It's not like my legs were falling off. So you can't just quit.
I'm gonna go down, I'm gonna put my shoes on. Because it's so easy when you wake up at six o'clock in the morning and it's dark and it's cold outside. You still have a bit of a headache, and it's comfy. And it's like it's so easy to be like yeah, my calves hurt, its just too much.
I'll put my boots on. I was like okay, then we get to the mountain. We're climbing today. And it's literally all calf work! What do you think the incline on that was?
Luke: I mean, it was steep. You had use an axe and crampons and it was much easier with two. I'd say 60/ 70 degrees maybe at the at the point. You have to propel down, You can't run down it. You have to go down backwards. So whatever it was it was steep and it was long. My calves started burning out and I was like how is she doing this?
Rebecca: Kenton kept going and I kept thinking, oh we're at the top now. I know the last part was probably the most challenging. I needed a couple of breaths there. And the other guy just like ran past us like no tomorrow. But what made it so good was because how challenging that was.
Luke: Yesterday it felt like you got hit by a train. But I was like, okay, let's do like karaoke, one in front, one in back one in front one and back.
Rebecca: And then you think you're there. You think you're at the top. Then you're like nope!
After an 8 hour day and reaching the top of the mountain, we made it safely back down and to our camp. Never have I had so much tension in my body while climbing the last couple of days. My calves were on absolute FIRE, but I did not stop! We all have those days where you talk yourself out of all the reasons why you shouldn't do something. Yet, if we have the attitude of let's just give it a go, those challenges become the greatest growth moments of our lives!
Everest is right around the corner and each day, with each training session I feel stronger in both my body and my mind. When you leave your comfort zone, incredible things happen!
Thank you for letting my share my journey with you all. Be sure to follow along with me on Instagram! @rebeccalouisefitness
Love you lots!