Thursday, February 2, 2012

A night class...

AMS - Acute Mountain Sickness... scary stuff, I tell ya!

Last night, the CMC (Colorado Mountain Club) was offering a free class about AMS. Some probably know that I had quite the scare mid-december when climbing Mt. Sherman. We left the house EARLY on a Sunday to go climb, I was exhausted... VERY tired. I had even thought of bailing and just staying in bed.

Once at the trailhead, I gave it yet another thought: "Maybe you guys go... I'll curl up in the sleeping bag and wait for y'all here". But 5 minutes later I managed to get out of the car, into my skis and start skinning up the road.

I was tired. I wish I remembered how many times I suggested I go back but with not too much effort I kept getting talked into going a lil higher up. So I kept putting a foot in front of the other. I remember taking a break at the hut slightly below 13,000' and then pushing for the ridge... after that, it's like I fell asleep and woke up in the car back down in Golden... at approx 5,500'.

What happened between 11:00am and 6:00pm? How did I get down from 13k to 5k? Well, all I know is based on what the man-friend and Josh have shared with me: "you were confused, you didn't know where your house was, you didn't know what year it was..." Painful to hear if you ask me. It's a few hours of my life, that up until now, I still do not remember.

The class? Well, the guy spoke a bit about WHAT IS AMS? Symptoms? How to treat it? At times, I was holding tears back. Truth is, it's scary. People die of this. And I honestly have not dealt with it. I have not been back on a mountain since then, I have avoided alcoholic beverages as much as I can since then, I've been focused on sleeping more and have it in the back of my head most of the time. Maybe writing about it is dealing with it? I'm not sure, but truth is, it was hard to hear what could have happened to me if the man-friend had not acted the way he did and reassured that taking these classes are good to be reminded that yes, the mountains are indeed bigger than us and we do need to be careful.

While I don't remember what happened that day, I have the stories that I've heard about it and of course, what is left is to learn from this scary experience. This being my 3rd failed attempt on Sherman I can only think that this mountain is there to teach me a couple lessons. Maybe I'll be back in the summer... "You can never conquer the mountain. You can only conquer yourself." -James Whittaker

PS- The picture on my blog (the one with the title on) is taken from Mt. Sherman. From the hut. You can see the hut on the left with the views to the north and east.

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