It’s now been 6-plus weeks on Everest. Obviously, this is not a typical season but, then again, I would never know since this is the only time I have ever been here. The extreme weather, the pandemic, and the significant escalation of COVID-19 throughout India and Nepal has complicated everything related to Everest, Nepal, climbing, and the priorities that we all need to take into consideration.
The news that Nepal is now on lockdown for the next two weeks with no transportation in and out of the country has really put everything into perspective for me. The overwhelming number of COVID-19 patients sick and dying around Kathmandu, alongside my fellow colleagues (whom I’ve known for several years) who continue to struggle to manage these patients, I feel, requires all of us to take a broader look at what decisions need to be made and how we all move forward.
Specifically, I have to realize that each time through the icefalls (for me) is becoming an increasing challenge that’s getting more difficult to manage. Although the privilege of having the opportunity to climb Everest is truly amazing and rewarding, the task is relentless and difficult. I have had a few near-miss experiences, but still continue to climb on. It is clear that it is becoming harder and harder for me to continue climbing, especially in the extreme altitudes. My lungs have made it nearly impossible for me to continue past 23,000 feet. In the overall realm of mountaineering, I’m a little more than a rookie in this effort compared to my climbing group and I can’t help but feel as if I am holding them back. Since I arrived back to EBC, I have been taking time to reflect on and reassess my continued goals for this trip. I have come to terms (which definitely has not been easy) with the fact that reaching the summit of Everest is now an extreme remote possibility due to my problems acclimatizing to these higher altitudes. At this time, it is in the best interest of my health to end my pursuit for the summit. Acknowledging this realization and taking the time needed to reflect on this decision, I have set new goals and priorities for this journey.
As this pandemic escalates and problems mount with COVID-19, both throughout the country and on Everest, I have to wonder what would be the most effective and productive use of the rest of my time here? In communication with my colleagues in Kathmandu (and areas throughout Nepal), they have informed me that they are facing difficult odds to successfully manage this escalating crisis due to their continued lack of equipment and supplies. In addition, they are rapidly running out of beds within the facilities and (in speaking with them) I know they are feeling helpless right now in trying to manage this crisis with so little support to assist them. I have decided that it is now my priority to do whatever I can to help my colleagues and surrounding clinicians in managing this crisis. Therefore, I have decided to meet up with my colleagues in Kathmandu and discuss ways that I can help assist with their COVID-19 response and facilitate attaining equipment and supplies that are so desperately needed to manage patients. Overall, I think this is the most valuable contribution that I can make, considering the circumstances we are all in at this time.
Continued support and prayers for India, Nepal, and many other countries that are having difficulty managing this crisis are much needed. Please keep my climbing group in your thoughts and prayers as well.
Finally, please keep in mind that donations to Hope Rises at this time will be immediately used to help these countries attain the supplies they need during this crisis to treat their patients.
Thank you to all who have followed along and continue to do so!
You won, this time. But you are as big as you are ever going to get, and I’m still growing. -Sir Edmund Hillary
16 thoughts on “You Won, This Time.”
Kris-well done. As always. I think you won! See you when you return. Safe travels!
Kudos to you Kris…you are doing the right thing. Stay safe !
Your perspective is enlightening and an inspirational example of self-reflection and true leadership. Thank you for sharing your journey!
Hi Kristen, I just started to follow you after Janine Willis McDonald mentioned your climb as part of a fundraiser for Hope for Africa. After your last post about the difficulties I wondered if God had put you there foot just a time as this. I know personally how defeated we feel when we see God’ plan (at least as we perceive it) go sideways. Then seeing His overall plan come to fruition- devastating but yet incredible! Prayers for you, your climbing team, your fellow doctors, nurses and the people they serve. Blessings to you all!
Kris, when Dino and I heard of the trouble in Kathmandu, we knew it would pull at your heart as to stay or go. Always a man for others, the satisfaction of saving lives is greater than any summit. We can’t wait to hear your story’s around the fire pit when you get back!
Good try Kris. I can appreciate how disappointed you must be after all the training and effort you put into this. Not surprised that you’re going to still accomplish some good out of the trip. God bless my friend.
Our perfectly laid plans can be unraveled in an instant, but then we realize our true purpose is revealed. Press on Kris…
your trip was still successful and most importantly, you are safe. You are doing great things helping these unfortunate people.
We are all so proud of you and your journey. I can tell you that a lot of us are taking deep breaths of relief that you are coming home safe. Definitely a memorable trip, and just because you did not hit summit does not mean you didn’t accomplish great things! Prayers for those suffering from the devastation of covid, time to do what you do best and save lives!
God put you there for a reason. It’s abundantly clear why you are there at this time. Continued prayers…..so proud of you and all you do for others!!
Bravo Zulu Kris. Yours was an outstanding effort, an effort we can all aspire to give. And from what I read, a well thought out and good decision made. You have been and will continue to be A Man For Others. Godspeed as you continue the next phase of your expedition.
Proud to know you (a reminder… from the 90’s while I was at Progressive Rehab and then HealthSouth working with Burt Rogers working with SJ. My son was a grad and have always kept up.
We really enjoyed following your posts. Great you are using your expedition to help others. You are a hero in what you do.
God Speed Dr. Brickman. You are doing the right thing, and I am really proud to know you. So many climbers become so obsessed with reaching the top that they forget to be compassionate and human. I am glad that you are putting the people of Nepal ahead of everything else. Take care of yourself, and know how many people are thinking of you and sending good thoughts to you. ==Anne Strait
You have made a wise humanitarian decision and I applaud you for it. I hope all the best for you and your colleagues and that you continue to âdream big.â Youâre a good man, Dr. Brickman !!
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Kris, I’ve always been impressed by you “Man for Others” outlook and this is just another example. Even though you didn’t get to the summit of the mountain you’ve seen and experienced great things on the trip. Please keep the blog entries coming as you continue this next phase of your adventure.
So proud to know such a noble person.I’m envious of your opportunity to serve in Katmandu.