Ending an expedition of this length is always hard. Dave and I have spent the last two months with only one another (and a few others) to talk to. We have been incredibly focused on our objectives, and the work of climbing has taken up most of our time. It is especially hard to end an expedition like this when your goals remain elusive, but we are both content. We put in an amazing amount of hard work, and we arrived back from the mountain safely, which is always our first goal.
After only one night’s rest in Katmandu, I knew the cough that had started for me a few nights before was getting serious. Dave had the same cough, maybe even worse than mine. We decided to make our way to the clinic here and get checked out. A few blood tests and chest X-rays later, I was told that I have pneumonia in both lungs, and Dave’s is resolving. After a few days of rest and IV antibiotics, I should start feeling better. The long season has taken its toll on us.
I have learned so much this season, more than any other. My partnership with Dave has been pushed further than before. Our trust of one another appreciated for its full value. I know that when the cough goes away, and my sunburn heals, I will still have an appreciation for all the hard work that we did this year.
When you succeed at your goals, it can sometimes be easy to forget, in the glow of success, how hard you have worked to get there. Sometimes it takes the summit staying just outside of your grasp for you to remember the hard days, the work, and pain—simply, the things that make us grow. As we head home, I am sure the lessons of this season will stay with us for a long time ahead.
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