Sunday, December 24, 2006

But The View Is Amazing

I have never scaled Mount Everest, but I have been to the summit of Piestewa Peak quite a few times. All without the benefit of supplemental oxygen. Lately, Robyn and I have come about as close to Everest as we will ever get, thanks to the new Discovery Channel documentary, Everest: Beyond the Limit. It doesn't take much to get me to watch something on DSC (as long as that something doesn't showcase those overhyped Orange County idiots). However, if it is on DSC and Robyn likes it, it must be great. Truly, this series is great.

Unlike seasoned climbers, the times I have been at 29,000 feet above sea level have been in the back of a commercial aircraft. As I struggled to relieve the numbness in my lower back during our flight to Boston yesterday, I found that there were other startling similarities between scaling the highest mountain on the planet and traveling coach class in an A319. Here are my reflections from the top.

Miles of walking over rugged and unfamilar terrain are required just to reach an intermediate camp (or connecting flight).

Only sherpas have the über-human strength and stamina necessary to carry the hundreds of pounds of required bags and supplies.

At altitude, there is barely enough food to survive. Minimal sustinence consists of processed rations in one of the following forms: gel, dehydrated, freeze dried, or powdered.

Ultimate success or failure is at the behest of Mother Nature. For climbers, failure is the end of a dream. For air travelers, failure is the start of a nightmare that includes sleeping at gate B26 and eating TCBY for breakfast, Cinnabon for lunch, and Pizza Hut for dinner.

Space and movement are so limited that you have to urinate in a cup and throw it out. Ok, on a commercial flight, this is frowned upon.


Ryne said...

That show is pretty good. How about that guy with asthma and summited without "O's". That was pretty amazing. As for me, I am looking forward to the new season of "Beach Patrol: San Diego"

Exurban Jon said...

Hi Rick,

I enjoy your blog as well. Keep up the great work!