Well, my last blog post was in May 2018, where I had high hopes for a return to Mt. Everest the following (i.e. this) year. The best laid plans, eh? The last 18 months have been especially injury-prone. I caught the shingles a month after my last blog post – unusually impacting my leg, and the residual nerve pain from that lasted almost until year-end. I ended up losing so much weight that it revealed a hernia, which doctors figure happened, ironically, same time as my broken ribs from the Khumbu Cough! That was operated on promptly, and I did still harbor hopes of yet making it back to Nepal.
I picked up my training – getting out the door at 4AM each day for a 10 mile run from Dec 2018 – Feb 2019, figuring if I couldn’t get up and out in the cold and the dark at home in NJ, then what chance of doing the same back at EBC! My system was definitely still weak though and I suffered a serious chest infection which set me back somewhat.
The final nail in the coffin was on the last mile home on one of my daily runs when a commuter bus exiting a car-park and entering the road I was running on didn’t see me (despite high viz top!!) and while darting to the left to avoid a potential collision that most definitely wouldn’t favor me – I rolled my ankle, very badly – as I would find out later, tearing both tendon and ligament. Expedition over before it had begun. I’ve been in physiotherapy since – and added tennis elbow for good measure, still aching 6 months later!!
It has been a very (VERY) different 18 months from that last blog post in terms of sporting activity – canceling my planned return to Ironman Lake Placid both 2018 & 2019 due to injury, and canceling return to Mt. Everest. Frustrating? You wouldn’t believe how much. But – with that has come some perseverance, some introspection, and with luck, I’ve come out of this stronger mentally, and getting stronger physically. Like the Rolling Stones sang… “You can’t always get what you want… but you just might find… you get what you need”. Here’s hoping.
So, fast forward to now. An Everest rematch is definitely on the cards some day – just not quite yet – but I’m delighted to say that I am finally rejoining my long sidelined quest to climb the Seven Summits by heading to Antarctica on January 6th 2020 to attempt to climb my sixth, Mt. Vinson. At 16,050 feet, this is most certainly a more modest climb in terms of altitude and duration, but is typically climbed with 60lb+ packs in temperatures as low as -40. Best part of all of this is that I am once again reunited with my guide from Everest – Jon Schrock – and cannot wait to hit the hills with him again – been way longer than I think either of us expected.
I am just back from Dublin over the Thanksgiving weekend, which was the 4 year anniversary of Dad’s passing. Very odd to notice how quickly time flying by, measured against this milestone. I am all too aware that during this time, several people reading this have been impacted by the same or similar grief that kidney disease brought to our family.
It is with this in mind, and a desire to continue to support not only the charity of choice helping people with kidney disease, but also consistently ranked as one of the top charities period, that I am once again fundraising in Dad’s honor for the American Kidney Fund. This time round, calling this the Gerry Condon Memorial Expedition – Mt. Vinson Edition – and hoping for a little more luck and a little less drama than last time you followed my climb on Mt. Everest.
I know you all have many financial demands at this time of year, but once again, I am asking for your generous support to provide a lifeline for thousands of patients facing incredible obstacles. Given this is my attempt on #6 of seven – I have set a target of $6,000 – and much like last time, I hope that together, we can outdo that.
I hope you will consider supporting the AKF and click DONATE to fund the fight today.
I have updated the GPS link for this trip, will be blogging about the climb and will share my photos/videos from Antarctica once back. I hope any of you still reading will find this worth a look.
Thanks & happy holidays!