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.

Training in Monterosa

Last week I had some pretty good training in the Monterosa ski area in Italy. In addition to some good alpine skiing I climbed up to the highest ski-lift place, up the Punta Indren, with snowshoes. The altitude difference from the cabin I started from was 1100 meters. Not so much, but to make it more challenging, I climbed it once in the afternoon and again the first thing the next morning. The slopes I climbed up were occasionally really steep and icy, all off-piste ski slopes. I barely managed to do it without any special equipment, like an ice-axe. It actually made me proud of myself,  I did both climbs without any breaks, no drinking or eating, not even any chocolate. 

During the first climb the weather turned quite bad, first cloudy. Then it started snowing. Luckily it was not too windy, so I decided to continue. I didn't know the route and there were no other people. The visibility became from 5 to 10 meters. The off-piste skiing route I followed was marked with orange poles. Somehow I always managed to find the next pole without totally losing the previous one. It was maybe more exciting than dangerous, but I was occasionally slightly alarmed. Prepared some rescue plans. Finally I found the top station and I ran like hell to catch what was the last lift down. It makes you exhausted to run quickly uphill in 3300 meters :)

The next morning was beautiful, the sun was shining from a bright sky. I got an urgent need to again climb to Indren. I needed to see how it is up there. How great is the view, really? I took a slightly different route. Lots of skiers, blue skies, warm sunshine, short sleeves. Some skiers were telling me that it is impossible to do the route with snowshoes. Near the top most skiers were just shouting bravo. And I can guarantee that the view was great, really worth another climb. 

This looks easy, it wasn't though!

This looks easy, it wasn't though!

This time I was in no hurry to the cabin lift, it would still be working for many hours. But I couldn't resist running the last part anyway. There was a cabin waiting at the top. When I was at the door it left! Obviously the driver didn't see me in time. The next one came but the driver then had a lunch break…

Because of it being a really warm day I was suddenly very thirsty. I went to search for water. No tap water up there. But when I went outside to eat some snow the kind ski-lift driver brought me a water bottle and insisted on me taking it. It is great to meet such nice people, especially when you have climbed whole morning in relatively warm weather without drinking anything. Stupid of me of course not to bring water, but I like going light, without a backpack. I'd rather take a compass, a telephone, a map and a first aid kit in my pockets than a water bottle. I am like a camel, I can go a whole day without drinking. And there is snow everywhere.

Johanna Gustafsson – the Everest project