Cho Oyu

Beyond 8000

Tibet
October 2016

 

“Beyond 8000 meters, some call it the dead zone; some say it’s where airplanes fly. To me, it is the most sacred space on earth. It is where I practice my religion; it is where I find out who I really am.”

To me, climbing an 8000-meter peak is, in a way, like knocking on the ultimate front door of mountaineering. Imagine opening your own Pandora’s box: exciting yet terrifying.

That feeling eased a little bit when we were visiting Tibet and its rich culture, but it never really went away during the entire length of the climb. I think that’s because this was my first time witnessing the mighty Himalayas with my own eyes, not through a digital screen.

I can see why it can be difficult to process the scale of these Himalayan giants: they are too magnificent. And not until I finally arrived on the summit of Cho Oyu did I understand. There, gradually, I began to realize that their scale is not only physical, but also spiritual.

“Now I see why I am so addicted to climbing. It forces me to grow in a way nothing else in my life can. I learned more about myself from these expeditions than years of my life had taught me. I got the chance to look deep into my soul, through fear, and weakness. At the end, on the summit, peace emerges, from knowing that I have done something I thought was impossible, and now, anything is possible.”