By Dawn Yip
In Part 1, we find out how Linda fell in love with mountaineering, the road she has taken towards her current quest, her sponsorship and her training regime. Click here to read Part 1 of Journey to Everest: Linda's Story. Part 2 gives you a foretaste of what her life will be like over the next 6 weeks.
Linda left for Kathmandu on Saturday, March 29, 2008, bringing with her about 40 kg of baggage. Besides mountaineering gear such as an ice axe, carabiners and crampons, Linda, who is vegetarian, will be hauling up food such as freeze-dried staples and – believe it or not – preserved caixin. "It's my comfort food; it makes me very happy," she explained with a grin.
It will take Linda about a week to travel to base camp. There, she will join up with commercial expedition operator SummitClimb, who will lead a team of mountaineers up. Each team member will have their own sherpa, and Linda's is a Nepali who has summitted Everest many times.
The first hurdle Linda faces may be political rather than physical: due to the current instability in Tibet, China has closed off the north face of Mount Everest until May 10, to give clear passage to the Olympic flame which is due to be taken up to Everest in early May. Linda will therefore be approaching the summit from the south, which is in Nepal.
Linda will climb about 5 to 7 hours each day. The climb up is not a straight ascent but a progression of ups and downs, to allow the body to adjust gradually to higher and higher altitudes. But it’s not just the thinning oxygen that Linda will have to deal with. "Temperatures get as cold as -40 degrees Celsius," says Linda, and there is always the possibility of strong winds, or whiteouts which drastically reduce visibility.
It's a harsh yet beautiful environment, and Linda relishes the contradictions of the mountain. Life is "slow to the point of insouciance, yet fast as effervescence once it decides to move. It’s all part of the deal, and is extremely seductive," says Linda. "You have to learn to deal with it being slow, have to learn to enjoy it and not be easily bored. You have to learn to have a lightning-quick ability to react when it decides to throw you a curveball."
Whether you understand mountaineering or not, there’s much to learn from Linda’s passion and hunger to achieve. Individual determination and effort count for a great deal, but tell only half the story in the journey to success. “f I get to summit,” says Linda, “it would be a celebration of every step I have taken to get there, a tribute to my family, friends, and Great Eastern."