GETTING READY FOR MT. EVEREST – 29,029′ (8,848 m)
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 on Oct 1st, 2011 and my second – Mt Manaslu also on Oct 1st, 2012 . 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.
NEXT STEP – MANASLU 2012
(Mt Manaslu 2012 WAS ACCOMPLISHED on October 1, 2012 – see more here…)
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.
Here are some photos I took while I was on a mission in Niger. One thing I learned there that it doesn’t take much to make people, especially children, smile… You can make them smile too — just give a little you can to this campaign…
You can also make these people smile…(click on the photo below for slide show).
You may think the crisis in the Sahel after last summer’s droughts is over. No, we are not even close to that, the needs are HUGE.
SAHEL HIGHLIGHTS 2013
- Despite good harvest in 2012, 10.3 million people still food insecure across the Sahel region.
- 5 million pregnant women and children under 5 expected to suffer from malnutrition in 2013.
- $1.66 billion required to respond to immediate needs, kick-start resilience building and respond to Mali crisis.
Here is the Full Report on the Sahel food crisis…
Also, 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.
My next step – my second 8,000 meter plus adventure was accomplished last fall –Mt Manaslu, Himalayas (Nepal). Our expedition was taking the North East ridge of Manaslu. (read more on Manaslu Expedition here…)
FINAL STEP – FINAL TRAINING AND PREPARATIONS FOR THE BIG E!
Looking back at 2012, it was a great year! The main highlights are two successful climbs and summits – Aconcagua on January 2nd and Manaslu – on October 1st. I should also mention that I also was deployed to a food crisis response mission in Niger over the summer. This has not only deepened my professional experience but it also inspired me to embark on my Everest for Sahel 2013 Campaign climb!
I am starting 2013 with the Big E on my mind. I am only three months away from the day I leave for my expedition! My emotions at this point go from thrill to panic… I am going to climb the BIG E! The task ahead is extreme and beyond any experience I ever had or will probably ever have! Now I am into my final training and preparations. My New Year schedule is rigorous: I get up at 5 am for my 2 hrs morning exercise routine. I run 14 to 18 km, do my stretching, rope jumping, etc. By 7:00 AM I am done and getting ready for work. After work, I am back to my training routine – 2 hrs yoga class or a soccer game or swimming. Some days twice a week, get on my stair master and do weight lifting. Week-ends, I spend a day trekking with an over 20 kg back pack or skiing and a day to rest.
There is no gym near where I live so I have to make use of what I have, including a skipping rope and a cheap 70 euro stair machine, but it does the job. There are a couple of scary things about running and working out near my home. One is the dark streets and the second is crazy Italian drivers, that seem to aim for people trying to cross the street and us runners.
My schedule is very rigorous and painful. However, I believe that this is what it takes (at least for me) to get ready for the Big E. I have to do all I can to get ready physically and mentally for this upcoming challenge. I am not taking Big E lightly so I have no regrets latter!
If you’d like to support my Everest for Sahel campaign climb, please go here... Remember I am doing all this hard work and all you need is to give 1 cent or 1 dollar per my climbed meter and watch my climbing progress from your comfortable arm chair… I promise to send as many updates as possible during the climb (1 penny per meter = about $85.00) By SUPPORTING MY CAMPAIGN, you will help feed hungry!
Read my Earlier UPDATES on EVEREST FOR SAHEL 2013: