So it’s 10AM Wednesday and I’ve just had a meeting with the senior IMG folks – western guides and Sherpas regarding the best course of action for me. This is where and why I choose to go with IMG… they know the mountain best and they have a wealth of situation management experience that puts them in a position to make the best call for me, even when I cannot.

The icepack on my ribs all day yesterday certainly helped but I could still feel significant pain and something pop slightly in my ribs every time I coughed. Add to that my overnight sleep, which was good – but during which the ribs seized up a little bit and once again the pain and lack of mobility were back with a vengeance this AM.

I desperately wanted to make the next rotation tomorrow AM – no matter how painful it would be to carry my backpack (not even sure how I would manage it without screaming) or how risky it would be without full mobility or use of my left arm. The logic of this desperate climber being to somehow make it to C1 tomorrow and on to C2, C3 (no idea how – but would worry about that then) over the following days, then somehow make it back to EBC and take stock of any damage done at that point.

This is where the wisdom of Greg, Jangbu, Jon, etc. comes in to play – they are of one mind on this – and that is: if I was to go back up tomorrow, I would likely end my trip – or at the very least, would not have exercised the best option available to me.

With my myopic view seeing no further than the next rotation tomorrow, I failed to count the fact that we still have another whole month to climb this mountain. With that in mind, I am advised to helicopter back down to Lukla (8k+ feet below with much thicker air – better to heal), get an X-ray of my ribs and give my body a chance to heal. The assumption being that once I am on the mend, to helicopter back up, and either rejoin Jon’s team or if that not possible due to scheduling, join another guide, Luke – who I have also climbed with before.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sorely disappointed – but am just disappointed that my body has let me down, not at all at the expert advice of the IMG crew – which I am only too happy to follow. In my heart of hearts I know it is the right decision.

I can only hope that given the opportunity, my body can heal sufficiently – and in time – to get back up here and summit this mountain. Perhaps false bravado – but after what I have seen so far, I truly believe that with my health I can make the summit.

So – my apologies to anyone following if this blog goes a little quiet or dull for a few days – I will most certainly let folks know the outcome of my X-ray, etc. but I hope to quickly move from Himalayan ER back to our regular programming – i.e. Climbing this damn mountain!!

Thanks for you patience and continued support – I don’t plan on letting you down – and I hope to still make you all proud and yet make the summit.


17 thoughts on “Back to square one – Lukla

  1. Justin, as frustrated as you are, I applaud your decision to listen to the experts and allow yourself to heal. That damn mountain isn’t going anywhere. Be well! Xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow that stinks! What a bummer – God bless you a speedy recovery so you can rejoin the mission!! – regardless of what happens I am proud to call you my friend – you are by far stoll the coolest guy I know!! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well that stinks! I’m very sorry you’re going through this – may you be blessed with a speedy recovery so you can rejoin your group!!

    Regardless of what happens, I am now, and always have been, proud to call you my friend! I mean come on, you’re the coolest guy I know! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Did you ever see a Bond movie without a helicopter?! You better bring the Milk Tray back up to EBC for the team….Such a sore injury #SuchAnExcellentCall
    P.S. I had dinner May 1 with the friends who have one kidney each, the coordination of dialysis on rare trips abroad was a major hassle pre-successful transplant. Hospital visits mid-travel were totally the norm…you’re treading for them and in their footsteps now. Sláinte

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Keep the head up cuz your doing great and should be proud of yourself .. These little set backs are what makes us stronger …..Rest up and come back fighting

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This isn’t a knock-out, only a knock-down! Hang in there Justin. You’ve got it in you and at the right time it’ll come out. (No, that’s not a reference to your gastro issues. 😉 ) Fair play to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Justin.
    You ,
    Stubborn Irish Mick!
    That mountain isn’t going anywhere.
    I don’t have to be one to tell you of your accomplishments. This is crazy I have a best friend who even thought let alone achieved some of these dreams. You come back. You be safe. You did fucking Everest Justin!!! F’n Everest.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ah Justin, so disappointed for you but hoping that Mary and Gerry will work some magic on those ribs from ‘up there’. Stay positive, you’re a strong minded dude and you’ll get to the ‘tippy top’ as Morgan and Aaron would say!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Such a disappointment for you I am sure, but you should be so proud of what you have achieved to this point. Wishing you a speedy recovery so you can fulfil your dream. Sending get well hugs and lots of love xx

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Justin, dude your one super strong and determined guy that keeps us on the edge of our seats following and reading all the crazy shit you do. Health is number one bro, get healthy and safe to climb before anything! Let down is furthest thing from anyone’s mind….. We can’t even do the prep training to get there man!! Use head not heart on this one!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You come first, Justin! We are cheering you on every step of your journey and this is part of that journey! Getting well is part of getting to the top of every mountain 🙂 Love from your friends at AKF!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Best call you and IMG could’ve made! Get some veggie momos, Sherpa tea, and lots of rest. You’ll feel like a million bucks in that thick air. Enjoy the break, mate. You’ll be back…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. for the record everyone reading this blog and beyond is already proud of you; as we sleep in our comfortable, room temperature beds every night, we know every day on that mountain is a remarking accomplishment. wishing you a few days of well needed rest and sending you positive vibes. remember- the universe doesn’t give you more than you can handle, and by that I mean sidelining you, letting your body heal is perhaps the harder, more paramount challenge at hand right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Heal up, the mountain is there waiting for you, this is just a tiny ripple. This is an amazing journey & I’m in awe & super proud of you. We’re all rooting for you so just rest up, heal up & go back up when reasonable minds say it’s safe to do so. You’ve got this!

    Liked by 1 person

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