The Trek to the Top of the World

I have always loved mountains, always been mesmerized by their overwhelming power and beauty—the majestic glory of Hashem’s creation.
I have also always loved hiking, climbing and traveling to exotic locations, so it wasn’t a complete surprise, at least not to me, when I woke up one day with an intense desire to see Mount Everest. I had been to the Himalayas once before on a trip to India, but now I wanted to see the world’s most famous peak.
What I had in mind was not the very dangerous, very expensive, eight- or nine-week expedition to the summit, which would have required a lot of rigorous training and preparation, but a more modest 14-day hike to Everest Base Camp, which, sitting at an altitude of 17,600 feet, presents quite significant challenges of its own.
As a physical trainer, my fitness level shouldn’t be a problem, and my circumstances—I could afford the cost, and my work situation allowed me the time off—afforded me the opportunity. My family and friends, who know me, my motivations and my capabilities, were supportive, and I decided to go.
As soon as I announced my plans, my friend Malka immediately texted me: Hey, are you really going? Can I come along?
I was thrilled to have such a great traveling partner! Little did I know that traveling with her would turn into a life-changing experience of growth and knowledge, providing a fresh perspective on life.
There is a small window every year during which Everest is accessible. The bitterly cold and stormy winter season is out of the question. Summer monsoon season, with its heavy storms and landslides, is also too dangerous. April and May are the best months, but we ultimately chose August, towards the end of the monsoon season. It wasn’t ideal, but it’s what worked with our schedules. If the weather got really bad, we could always turn back.
With our plans confirmed, we had a few weeks to prepare for the trip.
The first and foremost aspect of my preparation was mental, meaning my total commitment that I was going to do this. Whatever it took, I was going to do it.

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