Colorado Springs resident David Lien who attempted to climb Mt. Everest this weekend turned back very high on the peak. Here are two e-mails from him. First one right before his final push, then one after his return to Base Camp:
Regarding Mt. Everest summit attempts, there are two lists that have been meticulously maintained by Everest enthusiasts over the years: those who have reached the summit and those who died trying. I will bring all my physical and mental powers and mountaineering experience to bear to try and have my name included on the first list, while staying off the second.
And although I will make an all-out effort to reach the summit, I will not knowingly or recklessly risk my life, limbs, or digits over a pile of rocks, no matter how high or famous. "Everest fever," continuing to climb when common sense says that you should turn around, will be something I will strive to avoid at all costs. That is my promise to you, my family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances, as I embark on the final leg of this already
incredible and glorious adventure.
Now the one from when he returned, slightly abridged:
I opted to turn back with several others at Camp 5 (25,200 ft.) during our push to get positioned for a final summit attempt. Although I felt I likely had the energy to possibly reach the summit, the round-trip was by no means certain based on how I was feeling at the time. An extended, nasty high-altitude cold and all night coughing fits had left me a bit
drained of energy just before we left Base Camp to move up the mountain, just when I needed it most.
In addition, as of that day 7 others had already died on the mountain just on the north side. I opted not to put myself in a position to become number 8, and in doing so kept my promise to come back with all my digits, limbs, and life in tact. Although I did not reach the summit, I reached a new altitude high for me and had an incredible time. More to follow, including spectacular photos from Camp 5.
A tired, unshaven Lien after his summit bid