One Step at a Time
My first big step was when I climbed my first peak of over 5,000 meters, Kilimanjaro in 2010. Since then, I summited other peaks, such as Mera peak, Mt Blanc, Mt Aconcagua and others. I also summited my first 8,000’er – Cho Oyu last year. My passion for mountain climbing has not diminished with these mountains behind me now, but instead it has grown even more for bigger ambitions and challenges. The people I have met and the things we lived through together will be with me for life. You cannot be selfish on a mountain. You have to learn how to rely on other climbers, guides and Sherpas and your equipment (my gear list) for survival. It’s all very humbling.
I have always loved mountains. I have a huge amount of energy and I like activity that gives me a physical and mental challenge. I seem to crave and be able to endure challenging environments for extended periods. Although I am a cautious climber, I have reached the summits of all the peaks I have attempted. It’s no wonder why mountaineering and I are the right fit.
During the summer of 2012, I was in Niger, working for the World Food Program on the food crisis in Sahel region of Africa (WFP Sahel). I have to admit that I have never seen so many hungry people in one place before! It is a shame that so many people (especially kids, babies) have to go to bed every night hungry! It can ripe your heart out of your chest.
(Photo by Edita Nichols)
It was here that it came to me that I can help. I will dedicate my climbs to a campaign called “Everest for Sahel”. I want to raise awareness of the situation in the Sahel and rally as much support for the people of the region as possible! We all can make huge difference if we pay more attention and advocate however we can for these people in need.
I want to inspire other women to reach their personal goals and challenge themselves and believe that they can achieve things that they dream of. I come from a former soviet country where most people, especially women, were led to believe that dreams and adventures are pointless. The difference between me and them is that I always believed that my dreams can come true and life can be adventurous. I have been able to achieve many of my dreams just by having the courage to take one step at a time.
I am planning my next 8,000 meter adventure this fall –Mt Manaslu, Himalayas (Nepal). Our expedition is taking the North East ridge of Manaslu. (see Altitude Junkies)
This next expedition will last 45 days (depending on the weather conditions) Here is the photo of the route I am climbing.
(Photo by Altitude Junkies)
Training for Manaslu and BIG E…
Trekking, jogging, yoga, exercise – all these activities are a part of my normal life. However, this is not sufficient for me to get ready for an 8,000 meter peak. I started more intensive exercising and training already this summer, few months before Manaslu expedition. Since I was living in Niger, part of my exercising was jogging…which is in Sahara desert… in +40C temperature heat! It was hard but it was a good test of my endurance.
(Photo by Edita Nichols, ‘getting ready for Manaslu 2012’)
The conditions to get a proper training in Niger where not so good due to heat and many hours of work. However, I was able to exercise every day – going to a tiny gym (no A/C), using mechanical treadmill which was perfect for to work on my leg strength. Three times a week, I would join Azziz’s (local instructor) “body pump” and “body attack” class. It was also a great work-out for me in addition to my regular running and thread-milling.
I was really lucky to be able to spend my last month before Manaslu expedition in Switzerland, where conditions for training were perfect. My normal training day would start by an 1 hr and 30 min jogging through the hills; an hour of yoga and swimming afterwards. In the evening, I would take up to two hours walks.
During the week-ends, I would go trekking to Chamonix the Alps or to the Saleve and Jura hills surrounding Geneva city. Carrying a heavy back pack, I would trek and climb for several hours per day.
I leave for Manaslu expedition next week. By now, I think I am in a pretty good shape to start my expedition. STAY TUNED!
(Edita on the way to Albert I hut point from Tour point in the Alps (near Chamonix)