Adventures of a mother of 7 – Johanna Gustafsson

Because it's there!

When 8 years old I learned about Mount Everest, and ever since I have dreamed about climbing up there. When I became middle-aged and sensible I thought that it's impossible.

2012 when I turned 50 I suddenly got this crazy idea to fulfill my childhood dream. Now, almost 2 years later, after studying, training, researching & finding solutions, it seems possible!

If things go well I will summit in May 2014, if things don't go well I will hopefully do it another year. If you want to follow me vie e-mail updates you can subscribe to them.

An electrical storm nearly killed me

The third day at camp 2 I really needed something to do. I decided to carry up our garbage to camp 3, because sending them back down from there is cheaper and also easier for the porters.

We managed to create a huge amount of garbage. I never totally understood how. There was of course leftover food and lots of paper & tissue from cleaning up. All was to be carried with us, or we needed to pay porters to do that. You shouldn't even leave poo after you.

So I agreed with our main guide that I will go up to get rid of some of the waste. A nice, quick evening walk I thought. It could have taken 4-5 hours at regular speed, but I had learned to move faster, so a couple of hours I estimated, having only light clothes on.

I left, but after climbing 150-200 meters altitude, there was a rattling sound in my head, electric. I threw the ski poles away, as well as my backpack and I dove into the snow. After of while I tried to get up. The same thing happened. Again into the snow, this time into a little bit deeper hole. I was  there lying still for 15-20 minutes, all covered by snow, freezing. Once a lightning hit to the rock next to me.

Finally I saw 2 porters running down the mountain. I rushed to them asking which direction and what to do. They started to explain, but in the middle of that it already happened. You have to throw your poles as far as possible, sit on your backpack, feet also up on it, and then wait. I was late. when I tried to open the belt of my backpack, my whole hand started to shake a lot. Later it ached the whole night as well as my earlobe! I couldn't sleep on that side, which was bad for my sore hips, not being able to switch sides. 

I survived this electric attack. For the next one I was well prepared. 5 times we rushed to the ground on our backpacks and some minutes later continued running down. To my surpriseI  could keep up with the porters, even passing them. Probably I was the one most scared.

Finally we came back to camp 2. 

My guide came toward me yelling, she had been really worried and was thus angry. She had also missed the storm-warning that was in place when I left for the higher camp, the porters told me about it when we were running down.

At one point I thought, my only options were to die from lightning or hypothermia. neither one seemed a good option. I didn't sleep much that night. 

Johanna Gustafsson – the Everest project