The Journey to reach
The First 500 Days / 500 + Days
December 1, Day 554
Read today there's a chance I may traverse the Khumbu Icefall--a massive field of shifting ice near the base of Everest. To undermine this traitorous terrain of arctic anarchy I purchased six bags of ice from a 7/11, arranged them in a line and walked back and forth on them for two hours. Thanks to my crampons I did not fall once. Sorry Lady Everest--another one of your perils has been revoked. I truly am prophet of preparedness!
December 9, Day 562
Even after 562 days one would think I'd be wise to Lady Everest's venomous personality. But she again whacked me with surprise. I read today that Everest's altitude can cause headaches and mental confusion. To prepare myself I attempted to recreate these hellish conditions by drinking two 7/11 Slurpees really fast while solving a New York Times crossword puzzle. The brain freeze was too much. I unraveled only one-word before crumpling to the floor of my Motel 6 motel room in devastating exhaustion. Personal doubt has again seeped into my mind. Damn you Mistress Everest.
December 18, Day 571
Alas, I reached the foamy shores of the Pacific Ocean. With Everest so close, only 11, 328 miles, I immediately began swimming to Nepal but after seven feet out I returned to shore. The Pacific is much deeper than I expected. Hmmm? Must now brainstorm an alternative plan.
December 25, Day 578
My second Christmas spent chasing destiny. During a weak moment I allowed myself to drink too much wine causing radical head spins. I soon learned to never sit in a rounded booth at Perkins with the head spins. I thought I was on a tilt-a-whirl that served pie.
December 30, Day 563
I can't believe this is my 563rd day of climbing Everest. The emotional strain of it all makes it feel more like 564 days instead.
January 1, 2005 Day 565
A New Year's tradition with some of these California villagers is to jump into Arctic cold water and call themselves Polar Bear Club members. Viewing this as too ho-hum for my high tolerance for danger I instead ran through some guy's front yard sprinkler with a barking golden retriever tied to the front porch. I truly am the rebel of risk!
January 12th, Day 576
I entered the city of Los Angeles and allowed myself a rare moment to let my guard down and take in some sights. I visited the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Ironically, I was amazed to discover that the stars of Yule Brenner, Humphrey Bogart, Telly Savalas and John Wayne form the constellation of Cancer.
January 26, Day 590
Taking a page out of the book from other Mount Everest climber's who employ aluminum ladders to negotiate plunging crevasses , I attempted to do the same with the crevasse known as the Pacific Ocean. But after carefully climbing to the last rung of a ladder that extended 50 feet over the Pacific Ocean from the Santa Monica Peer I realized I was still 6,782 miles short of reaching the Japanese coast. This extreme eastern approach to Lady Everest is suddenly proving to be very difficult.
February 1, Day 595
Established Base Camp 62 in a coastal village known as Venice Beach. I pitched my tent along the south face of a queen bed in a La Quinta Inn--a Nepalese term, I believe, for "Housekeeping Disregards Do Not Disturb Sign." Must pour over my map and decide how to approach Ms. Everest from here.
February 12, Day 606
I'm still stuck at Base Camp 62. After over 600 days of climbing Mount Everest my body has become immune to the thin air. Even though I'm currently at six feet above sea level I experienced no premature exhaustion today while on a fact finding mission along a Venice Beach Pier. I truly am the ensign of energy.
February 27, Day 621
Hopped a ride on a small power boat with a family of three. Despite my offer to chip in for a tank of gas they were unwilling to transport me to Japan. Major setback. To ease the disappointment I rented the video Delta Force 2: Operation Stranglehold. Lordy, Lordy can Chuck Norris act. What range! It's only a matter of time, I'm sure, before the Academy Awards recognizes him with a lifetime achievement award.
March 9, 631
In order to keep my sense of adventure sharp I went parasailing. While bobbing in the Pacific waiting for the speed boat to pull me so my attached parachute could fill with air I screamed for the captain to hurry due to the shark factor. But he deflected my concern by sharing that more people die from lightening than sharks. Two minutes later, however, I was floating across the sky like Ben Franklin's kite.
March 25, Day 647
Eureka! I've solved my Pacific dilemma. In seven days I'll continue my date with extreme danger from the deck of a Celebrity Cruise Ship. I truly am the desperado of defiance!
March 27, Day 648
Got a huge jump on the day by exiting Base Camp 62 at the crack of noon. Free climbed north into Los Angeles and decided to fit in some sightseeing by visiting Rodeo Drive. What a colossal sham. I did not see anything associated with rodeos--no calf-roping or bull riding; just a bunch of shops. Must craft a note of complaint to the city of Los Angeles for erroneous advertising.
April 1, Day 653
Bivouacked in room 423 of a Hilton along the south face of a king bed. No doubt a floor only reserved for reckless daredevils such as myself who can handle such lofty heights. I wowed the front desk staff by eschewing the elevator for in favor of approaching the fourth floor via the stairs. Some thuggish bellhop, however, whacked me across my spine when I attempted to pound a piton into the stairwell wall.
April 2, Day 654
Lady Everest once again showed her fangs today. After boarding the Celebrity Cruise ship and pitching my tent in Sky Suite 309 I ordered a sirloin steak medium, but it was served well done. Damn you lady Everest! Must you torment me with every step?
April 5, Day 657
Ms. Everest continues to batter my resolve. After free climbing two flights of stairs to tonight's ice cream social the kitchen ran out of butterscotch sauce. Given the perils I currently face I cannot afford to expend energy climbing two flights for naught. Must remain resolute.
April 11, Day 663
In an act of blind daring I took a radical approach to the second deck this morning via a ladder. It was a heinous free solo. While clinging to a ladder rung I caught a blast of sea spray. Fearing hypothermia in the menacing 92 degree air I bivouacked along a cirque of deck chairs under a dark green cabana. Desperate, I foraged two frilly toothpicks from a club sandwich and attempted to ignite a fire by rubbing them together. But they were too damp with mayonnaise. Desperate, I began authoring an S.O.S. on the deck floor using mustard packets for ink. But I had barely finished crafting the first "S" when a cabana boy whacked me in the shins with a pool skimmer. The jolt returned me to my senses and enabled me to safely boulder back to Sky Suite 309.
April 22, Day 674
Realizing I've been too cavalier with safety precautions, this evening I hoisted a bear bag over a shower curtain rod in Sky Suite 309. Though I have not detected any signs of bear on this cruise ship one can never be too careful when pitted against dame Everest. I truly am the helix of heed!
May 2, Day 684
Given the grave hardships I've faced for 683 consecutive days I allowed myself the luxury of checking email for the first time since this expedition began. Mother of Pearl--over 71,000 fan emails! My daring trek has caught the attention of the world. I'm stunned at the generosity of my fans: Russian women, by the thousands, sending me revealing photos; ink-jet companies offering me discounted cartridges; medical staffs sending me discounts on drug prescriptions. Amazing. Remained at the computer until 3AM asking them to keep the emails coming.
May 4, Day 686
Still can't adjust to being a celebrity. Today, while docked in La Paz, Mexico, fans lined every street corner offering me discounted blankets. My popularity is so vast they've all nicknamed me "Gringo"--which, I believe, translates to "The Great One." "Gringo," they repeatedly yelled, desperately hoping for my attention. I felt like Russell Crowe as Maximus in the film Gladiator, minus, of course, the wispy dreams of walking through a wheat field.
May 10, Day 692
My list of firsts continues to grow. Became the first man to pass through the Panama Canal while climbing Everest.
May 11, Day 693
It has just dawned on me that the esteemed captain of this cruise ship is lost. If we floated through the Panama Canal it means we are going in the opposite direction of Lady Everest. The thin air from his high perch in the navigating bridge (at least 120 feet above sea level) has probably set off cerebral edema--a common malady in climbing circles--which would explain his disorientation. I'd bring it to his attention right now, but I'm too occupied preparing for tonight's Come Dressed as Your Favorite CNN News Correspondent theme party.
May 12, Day 694
Ms. Everest continues to challenge my inner constitution. Apparently, according to Captain Pete, I have boarded the wrong ship. Instead of Everest I am headed towards Miami. Must see if I can get a transfer pass in Caracas.
May 18, Day 700
Seven hundred days of climbing Everest and still no site of her lofty crown. To divert attention from the pressures of the climb I purchased a Word Search puzzle book in the ship's gift shop.
May 24, Day 706
Arrived in Miami, Florida which towers at nine feet above sea level. After seven weeks at sea I immediately felt the effects of this radical elevation gain. Fatigue and dehydration pounced on me. Despite my dangerous state of health I found the energy for an epic five-block taxi ride to a beachfront Holiday Inn Express.
May 29, Day 711
Have established Base Camp 64 in room 332 of this Holiday Inn Express. Rather than foolishly rush on I'm demonstrating the value of patience by allowing myself to slowly acclimate to the elevation gain. Attempted to update my sponsor, Doug's Dairy Bar, on my progress. Shocked to learn it went out of business. Bastards. The free medium soft drink coupon that was part of my sponsorship package is now worthless. Devastating blow. If word escapes I'm without sponsorship I'll be the fool of the climbing community. Need to send out query letters. I'd start now but a Matlock marathon is just beginning on WGN.
June 3, Day 716
Toured the South Beach strip. Had hoped to cross paths of other climbers with updated weather information on Everest. But found none.
June 4, Day 717
After seven days in Miami I've finally concluded that this city is not mountain climbing friendly. Sporting shops favor water skis over ice screws. Information kiosks offer no Everest maps. The only legitimate information I've found came yesterday from the front desk at Base Camp 64 when they directed me to where I could find a good cheese platter.
June 11, Day 724
Contacted Patagonia this morning about potential sponsorship. They were undoubtedly impressed, especially when they heard the Arctic blast from Base Camp 64's air conditioner howling through the phone's receiver. I'm to call them back later this week. I truly am the nirvana of negotiating!
June 19, Day 732
Eureka! Patagonia agreed to sponsor me. But only if I agree to wear nothing by Patagonia. They were so eager to consummate this working relationship they Fedex'd me a check this morning.
June 28, Day 741
Holiday Inn kicked me out over some manufactured excuse that I was, and I quote, "making the other guests nervous." Nervous? These people act as if they've never seen anyone at poolside with an ice axe before.
July 3, Day 746
I've established Base Camp 65 at Wanda's RV Park, about 21 miles north of Miami. A hurricane warning has been issued. Don't recall Sir Edmund Hillary mentioning anything about a hurricane during his climb. Despite this surprise I will once again display my uncanny outdoor survival skills by placing plywood over my tent's mesh windows.
July 8, Day 751
Hurricane Maynard barely brushed the coast today. As a precaution I bivouacked across the street and pitched my tent on the leeward side of a windmill on the 16th hole of Uncle Linda's Family Fun Center's miniature golf course. Harrowing conditions: waves from the adjacent bumper boat pond surged to two feet; the skeeball arcade closed for the day; the vending machines were out of Three Musketeer bars.
July 15, Day 758
Beginning to feel the pressure of being my generation's Sir Edmond Hillary. More and more people crave my attention, often equating my fame with with wealth. Passed at least 20 locals today asking for spare change.
August 12, Day 786
Crushing setback. Mom called this morning. I've been summoned for jury duty in Denver. I bet Sir Edmund Hillary never had to serve jury duty while he scaled Everest. Stupid court system.
August 21, Day 795
Appeared at the Denver Courthouse. When I told Judge Edward Nottingham during the interviewing process I needed to be excused because I was in the final days of summiting Mount Everest he asked me to approach the bench and then boxed me across the ears and hissed, "Quit goofing around."
August 22, Day 796
More tedious interviewing for this civil case between some guy in a neck brace and a super-hot looking chick. Neck brace guy claims the super-hot looking chick lady should pay for his medical bills since she drove into his car while blind drunk. When asked if there was any reason I could not be partial in this case I honestly replied, "Yeah, because the defendant is a super-hot looking chick." Judge Nottingham then summoned me to his bench and again boxed me across the ears.
August 27, Day 801
I've been assigned to the case as juror number 6. Dammit. I was hoping I'd be juror number 11.
September 2, Day 807
Little progress in the case. Fearing that I was losing my climbing legs during morning recess I tried bouldering the judge's bench. But before I could crest the bench the stenographer thumped me in the spine with the judge's gavel. Stupid stenographer. Nowhere in the courtroom does it say "No bouldering the judge's bench." Must write a letter of complaint.
October 2, Day 837
Jury duty is dulling my edge. To strengthen my immunity to fear after court today I filled my North Face coat pockets with 11 pounds of rotting sockeye salmon filets and then bravely stood within 75 feet of the bear cage at the Denver Zoo.
October 17, Day 852
Snow fell today. Had good, clean fun with some youngsters building a snowman. After they finished I removed the coal eyes from the snowman's face and then packed the eye sockets with birdseed. Fantasmo. Within five minutes their winter wonderland had turned into an Alfred Hitchcock horror scene: birds were pecking out the eyes; children screaming...
October 24, Day 859
The freeze dried food industry needs to improve its dessert products. Today I surprised my Mother on her birthday with a freeze dried cake. Instead of a cake it resembled cooling magma that tasted like a dry heave.
October 30, Day 865
To break the monotony of jury duty today in the spirit of the Halloween season I entered the Denver County Courthouse dressed in costume. In retrospect, however, dressing as a prisoner in an orange jumpsuit armed with a toy gun probably wasn't a wise choice. Got tackled from behind by some fellow in costume as a security guard. I need to learn where he bought his costume for the handcuffs were really real and included a squad car.
The First 500 Days
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