Kiki Tsakaldimi, Everest Base Camp, 26.5.2017
Kiki Tsakaldími, Everest Base Camp, May 26th, 2017, 08:11 am.
"At around 2:00 am Nepal time on May 23rd, my Everest summit attempt came to an end". "We were only 600 metres below the summit (at 8,250 mts altitude), gasping and battling to survive through hurricane winds of 100-110 kmh. We were being tossed around like dolls, wind chill of -60 C gnawed our bodies like an ogre". "We could barely stand upright. Every inch we climbed was at the stake of our lives and limbs, a hard fought victory over our own physical limitations.
That night, Everest had sent all her defences against us". "We gave everything that we had and even more but finally my guide, Satyabrata Dam, decided that it was more prudent to go down alive rather than losing lives or limbs, which would have surely happened if we continued. No mountain, not even Everest is worth dying for and that night I had already witnessed death around me in the death zone". "Frozen bodies were littered around like rag pieces without any human dignity. People had died with oxygen masks inside their tents. It was madness and "smell" of death permeated everywhere".
"I wasn't scared, neither was my team, but I refused to accept death in such isolation. We looked up and thanked Everest for having allowed us to come this far and we retreated our steps back to the refuge of our fragile tents that was being tossed around like a ship wreck". "I felt humbled, grateful and lucky to have lived through the ordeal. The summit would have been ideal but to me the journey has always been more significant than the destination, and this has been the journey of a lifetime".
"There are more than one Everest in our lives and now I would begin my journey for those others that are awaiting my arrival. I have bigger dreams and loftier goals ahead, Everest was my first step and it has shown me that anything is possible". "Now I am heading back towards civilization, slowly and steadily, recuperating and enjoying the warmer sun. More stories and images will follow". "I remain indebted to each one of you who encouraged and supported me with kind words, pushing me on to the literal top of the world. I wouldn't be here without your support and love". "And please remember that my project is Higher than Everest. I have only taken my first step, so this is the beginning. Let's see what my next step would be.
Sending you all my love and best wishes. See you on top!"