Aug 8, 2017

WiFi Expeditions

  When people are sitting at a Base Camp at 3800mts, somewhere at a place which is not possible to reach even with a 4X4, grumbling over how slow the wifi goes, complaining that "it takes hours just to upload one or two pictures to my blog". Instead of actually be amazed, or even better; being frustrated over that there actually EXISTS an internet connection at this location!
Well, thats sends me to be more then simply confused.
Bouldring with a view 
 This always makes me worried over why these people wants to expose them self to this miserable life which high altitude expeditions often means.
Expeditions which often means long hours of waiting, headache and bad appetite with a running stomach. Long way from the safety of a super speed WiFi. Long way from everything our modern life has to offer. Even though its still miles more modern then this type of adventure used to be, when most of our planet was only seen via rumors or from a plane window. Big expeditions like the French Annapurna expedition in 1950. Maurice Hertzog
Some of our modern "Adventurers" which has been trying to repeat these men´s (it was often men due to that time) stunning adventures. Like following in the foot steeps of Amundsen or even better trying to repeat the unbelievable misery that Shackleton and his crew survived. Well, in my opinion its a little bit of an other story to do this with a modern unsinkable ship, something that could survive a nuclear attack almost. But thats an other story...

Marble Wall Peak - making tracks with friends
Aiming for higher peaks is in many way a game for us that likes to be bored of just waiting. Just waiting on our body to be adjusted with the new environment and altitude.
And, during these moments, be able to do what the modern human find it so hard to do. Just relax, enjoy the moment, even talk to other people at the same table but with out a "smart phone" in attache mode to their ear. Letting everybody else know how busy they are and what cool places the are at!
When the mobile phone doesn't connect even to the smallest amount of Facebook, Messenger or WhatsApp. And instead you actually just HAVE to talk to the other people in the same tent, people you know but don't now what to adress and talk with.

Moments in life!
Since nowadays its easier just to meet for dinner at some cool restaurant but at the same time blogg about this online, so you don't really need to talk to your so called friends. But letting everyone else know that your the man!
Cause I find more and more people thinking them self to be the most busy guy in the world. Just raging about how stressed they are, with not even time to sit down and eat almost. So the panic of being away for this first trip of a couple of weeks sends the focus of the main goal and why they are here to start with, climbing a peak. Because in their own mind they are already on the next one!

Enjoying moments on the acclimatization 
On my last Elbrus tour people was chocked about "how good the food was"and that there even was a chance to get a "hot shower" at High Camp.
And that they "didn't need to cook the meals by them self", even though it said so with very informative words in all the documents that was sent out way ahead of the trip.
Hell, even the accommodation was ways over the expectations cause there was tent beds, so not nesseccery to sleep on the ground.

With a just little bit of planning, you can find all the best things even on an Expedition far away in Alaska
Big mountains - great moments - Mont Denali
Or, you can invent problems just because its fun. As here on an improvised boulder problem high up at West Rib
But none reflected over that the mobile phones worked with full connection at most of the places, not just around BC. And that there was a WiFi, well that was pretty obvious that it should be?!
With the same matter of course that you would find this at High Camp. So when it turned out not so, people got very jittery eyes.
-is this punishment or holiday?
Once on a trip to Kebnekaise, Sweden, I got a call on the way up. Since the clients had already arrived they had noticed that their phones didn't work with the local net. Only the biggest former state owned distributer covered this area. So, I just had to stop and by sim cards to everybody, 18 people!
Made it even more fun when it turned out that their phones was locked and didn't work with other sim-cards!!

Dont stress - enjoy life - It is easy to miss. Kirgizi Highway
  I guess this is the new way of going on holidays, climbing high peaks around the world with the goal to titulate them self as adventurer´s and alpinists. This extracts more and more people who has just been reading about these adventures and being amazed by the pictures. Wanting to be a part of a community that they can join by putting up enough money to become, with warm coins but a cold heart. Only with the summit in the bag counting for anything. And how to speak to the internet as fast as possible afterwards in modified words to get the story to sound as good as possible to their own reality.
People that in big letters explaining that he would like it to be windy and some snow on the summit day, giving it the feeling of being on Everest. For god´s sake, if they wasn't serious it would be more than just a good joke, but it isn't.

Base Camp life - can be your best moments in life.
As a guide I often meet these people in different situations.
Telling me how they want to climb this and that peak in this and that conditions. Letting us know how they know everything about everything and with the most shining new equipment they often wants to start running up every hill just to show how its done. Ignoring every word about that "mountaineering and high altitude climbing is about going slow with experience"
At one time I overheard my clients discussing the next days aim for the summit;

-"What do you think, would it be possible that you can make the full travers of the peaks?!"
-"well I do not know, our guide doesn't sound to clear about this, maybe he´s not fit enough"

Never that this person would even consider to reflect over that as a guide and experienced climber the focus and goal is to take all the difficult decisions for the whole group.
You don't hire a guide to say yes, you hire him to say no!
Which is sadly necessary since to many people today has a huge lack of self awareness.
Thinking that they have been on so many expeditions (well maybe a trip up Kilimanjaro won't make you an alpinist) and put in so many hours of training (well maybe three times of "power running over 15 minutes" in a week isn't that much).
Often I´m just amazed over people aiming for a 6000mts peak who are not even able to carry their own back-pack. But they want to stay in a tent at 5000mts to be closer to the highest point the day of summiting. But never have they even been out camping in winter before!! Since, "how hard can it be?" Yeah, how hard could it be?!

Unexpected meetings - a chance to make new friend, finding out new stories. At this time of a former Russian Fighter Pilot
  All this makes me often think about the reasons why these people keep on coming.
On the way back from my last expedition, which we finished a couple of days earlier since the weather and everything was with us, the group was very exited to be able to get back to the city earlier than planned. Even those who wasn't able to reach the peak on the summit day. With a few days left with a chance to give it an other try it was still more important to be going back to town, or even to change the ticket to fly back home.
In my ears quite strange since here we was in a foreign country which is not even easy to get to. Needs visa applications and permits and so on. With a chance to see something else then the everyday living, on a planned vacation.
For some I understand the situation. Putting up a lot of stress on them self even before the climbing starts. Making it loud and clear that they want to outperform the mountain it self. But instead being the hardest becoming the weakest in the team and as a result just wants to "disappear". Sad for not only them but for the whole group since with every failure comes experience.
But try to explain to people to enjoy the moment.
Because for every step you take on return, its a step closer to the expected communication and a WiFi. And in a few moments you will sit there with the smart phone connected to everyone expect your team mates.

What is better than a small tent far from WiFi surrounded by a huge mountain!?
The emptiness after 3 weeks in the mountains is destroyed in 3 minutes with a fast internet.
And there is now showers in the world to prevent us from that.
So next time the sound beeps in your pocket, try to ignore it for at least a few minutes, maybe the whole day!? Or go as far to turn the sound off. Because maybe it was just a text from local net distributor, with the price info.
Take a moment and just enjoy the sound from silence...

Go slow - enjoy life - count hours nor minutes!