Gosia Borschardt Summits Mount Everest!


Gosia Borchardt, a Missouri CRNA and mountaineer, after 5 years of planning and training, has reached the summit of Mount Everest (May 18, 2013). The following is a personal account of her adventure as posted on Facebook. Her husband, Andy, accompanied her as far as base camp. Today she is still on her way back down the mountain. When she returns to Missouri we will hear more about her journey.

April 8, 2013
Hey guys!!! First off, I read all your comments and I really, really appreciate them!! I would ‘like’ all of them but the wifi here is so damn slow that I don’t want to waste time… Anyway, were at Deboche today after a 4-5 hr hike. Days are not bad at all, pace is good and the views are spectacular! Himalayas are huge!!! Thankfully there aren’t too many swing bridges anymore although I have a feeling a lot more are coming… We haven’t stepped in yak shit yet either haha Andy Borchardt. I effed up my knee a little bit so I gotta eat naproxen and Tylenol and wear a stupid brace but it’s all good. Hopefully the cold above base camp will take care of the pain. So far the trail resembles those in the States. Lots of dirt and rocks, very well defined trails. Lots of evergreens around as well as blooming rhododendrons (big red flowers), mini cascades on the river that we’re ‘following’, and of course mountains all around. Unfortunately it’s been really hazy so I can’t get clear pictures of the mountains, but I’m trying my best!! Took about 200 pics so far. Hugs to everyone!!! 5 more days to base camp!!!

April 9, 2013
Going to 16000 ft tomorrow, ouch!!

April 15, 2013
Hey guys! Second full day at base camp of Everest. Alpine Ascents really went over and beyond with the luxuries!! We, the girls, have our own pee tent, the shitters (in the tents!!) have seats on so you can relax while dropping the kids off at the pool, we watch movies every night and the food is OUTSTANDING!! We had sushi for lunch yesterday!!!
Today we started training for the Khumbu Icefall and the Lhotse Face. I had some problems going up a 70-degree sheer ice wall but finally got it down on my third try. This is so different from snowy hills of Denali! I’m feeling great so far, acclimatizing well although it sucks that Andy Borchardt had to leave yesterday morning
Later on today after lunch we’ll practice walking in crampons on ladders (to prepare us for ladders across crevasses in Khumbu Icefall. Hugs to everyone!! Miss you guys!!

April 16, 2013
Hi everyone! Had a Puja ceremony today which means asking the mountain for a safe passage. In Nepali beliefs Everest is Chomolungma (sp?) which means Mother Goddess of the Sky. The Sherpas build an altar on which they set food and water and whatever else it is we wanted to be blessed. After the ceremony the Sherpas span the prayer flags over our camp for good luck. Then we danced and even had some beer!! Who says you can’t have fun at 17,000ft? ☺
Tomorrow real ass kicking begins since we’re supposed to train all day in the Icefall. Keep your fingers crossed so I don’t shit my pants crossing a crevasse on a ladder! Hugs to everyone. Andy Borchardt Garrett Madison

April 17, 2013
Ok, so not the best day for me today… Went up a vertical ice wall (don’t ask me how I did that) and then really almost shit my pants rappelling down the damn thing. I’ve never rappelled before so I’m pretty proud of myself for keeping my underwear dry ☺. Continuing to be healthy although my damn Kindle broke!!! I had 9 pages of books on this piece of shit… Argh!!! Getting better at euchre (sp?) though and doing push-ups in our community tent! . Thanks everyone who’s following, commenting and supporting :) )

April 18, 2013
Hi boys and girls! Relaxing in a tent with a hot water bottle in my groin to keep me warm . We did an acclimatization hike today to Pumori base camp, about 1000 ft higher than Everest base camp. To give you an idea of the height, we climbed to the elevation of Elbrus, the highest mountain of Europe, today! That hike kicked my ass!! It is AMAZING how much the mind wants to f*** with you at this elevation! I was coming up with all kinds of excuses while I was huffing and puffing up there… I got really low on sugar on the way down too but I made it back, sloooowly but surely! Mind over body!! I can see now that this mountain will be an ultimate mental test for me. I’m keeping all of you guys in mind and imagining your words: “come on dude, don’t be a slacker!” Thank you to my guides Garrett Madison Brien Sheedy and Ben Jones for your words of motivation and your patience!!

April 20, 2013
Just got back from the HRA tent (Everest ER) and the doctor told me that I just need a little more acclimatization. She said its a good thing that I wasn’t continuously breathless or had a headache. Doctors orders are as follows: pig out 3000-4000 calories a day, hydrate, and rest. Attempt another acclimatization hike in a few days. I can live with that.:) Lakpa Rita Sherpa
Thank you guys for your sweet comments and encouragement. It really keeps me going!!!

April 23, 2013
Just got back with Lakpa Rita Sherpa from Pumori camp 1 acclimatization hike at 19,000 ft. Compared to the point in the Icefall where I turned around this one is 500 ft taller. And I felt FANTASTIC!!! None of that nausea BS!
You know what’s really effed up? In Africa you’d almost be on top of its highest mtn (19,381ft). In Europe you’d be floating way over its highest point (18,581 ft). And here in the Himalayas you’re still very very low!!! It’s all in the proportions I guess.
And now if you excuse me, I will take advantage of sun and will take a long deserved shower… I don’t even remember last time I took one so you know that I desperately NEED one… Lol :) ))

April 27, 2013
Hey guys!!! Ventured out into the Khumbu Icefall today below the Football Field. I felt GREAT!!!! Definite improvement from the last time when I had to turn around! Saw the Icefall for the first time in nice weather. A couple ladders were a little wonky so I’m hoping they will get fixed within couple days… I’m going back up to do 3/4 of the Icefall on Monday and then moving to camp 1 on Wednesday (as start of the 2nd rotation). Thank you all for your support and good wishes!!!

April 28, 2013
Hey guys!! You may remember my post a couple of weeks ago saying how I almost shit my pants rappelling… Well we went to practice on ice again today to the same vertical ice wall and I not only kept my pants dry, I actually enjoyed it!!! I also got up that ice wall like a red-hair monkey :) ). Thanks to my awesome guides, Garrett Madison, Brien Sheedy and Ben Jones for your ongoing patience and for teaching me proper technique to move up the ice!!! More playing in the Icefall tomorrow !!

April 30, 2013
Hi boys and girls!! Relaxing at base camp before going up for my second rotation up the mountain. This time the plan is to go as high as camp 3 at 23,600 ft. I’m leaving with 4 other climbers and Garrett Madison and Lakpa Rita Sherpa as our guides at 4am tomorrow and should be back at base camp on May 6th. For updates feel free to check Alpine Ascents Everest cybercast! Keep your fingers crossed that everything goes well this time… As usual, thanks so much for your encouraging comments and ongoing support!!!

May 8, 2013
Hi boys and girls!!! Got done with my 2nd rotation!! Everything went great. Move to camp 1 through the Khumbu Icefall was not bad at all minus the horrible ladders I STILL cannot get used to! Move to camp 2 was a little rougher; although the trail was very gradual, the 40 mph winds and altitude made it a little bit more challenging than just a walk in the park. Next step was to partially go up the Lhotse Face, steep icy wall with fixed lines that extends up for 3000 ft. I made a mistake of putting on wrong socks and my toes got numb resulting in me turning around 500 vertical ft from the goal. No worries though!! The socks are peacefully resting in a trash can, I reached a new altitude record of 23,067 ft, and I felt really strong on the climb. Next time I will be ascending the Face with oxygen which should make my toes feel a little warmer
Currently most of the team is hanging out at the 12000 ft oxygen-rich Namche to recuperate our bodies for the summit push. The frigid air and sparse molecules of oxygen at camp 2 (21,500 ft) are not very friendly to human bodies… They gave most of us a bad cough, airway irritation, and overall fatigue. We’re currently spending our time sleeping and pigging out… So far I have lost at least 10 lbs so I have to make it up!!!!
I will spend a total of 5 nights at Namche, will return for 2 nights to Base Camp after which we will leave on our third and final rotation!! The estimated summit day is around the 20th, but I will keep you posted!!!
Thanks again for all your support :) )

May 12, 2013
Hey guys!! Back from Namche to base camp. Besides a slight runny nose I feel great, really energized and ready to go for it!!! It looks like our projected summit day will be on the 19th of May so we are leaving base camp for the summit push early Tuesday morning. Keep your fingers and toes crossed so my fingers and toes stay warm!!! I’m so excited and nervous at the same time!! Can’t wait!!

Change of plans… We’re leaving for the summit on Monday morning!!! Projected summit day is on the 18th of May. Follow Alpine Ascents cybercasts if you’re curious about the progress!! (www.alpineascents.com)
Thanks again for all your support and wishes!!! :)

May 17, 2013
Hey everyone. This is Andy, Gosia’s husband. Just wanted to give you an update. The team is half way up from camp four and resting at a spot called the balcony. The weather seems good with the winds calming down earlier. I hope to tell you more soon but looks like it may be around midnight St. Louis time that she summits. Please keep her in your thoughts!!!

Lhotse Summit

May 18, 2013
I am so proud! 5 years of planning, countless hours of worrying, a plan to bring it all together = priceless. You are an exceptional climber and a gifted individual. I love you so much! Please come down safely! Posted by Andy

A climb of this magnitude is definitely not a walk in the park. There were 6 confirmed deaths so far on Mt Everest this season. Four were Sherpas and two were climbers. Sherpas are an ethnic group from Nepal and are highly regarded as elite mountaineers and experts in the local terrain. They serve as guides and are known for their hardiness, expertise, and experience at high altitudes. Attesting to the dangers of this monumental climb, four of the deaths were from falls and the other two were from natural causes (a heart attack and a possible cardiac/cerebral event). These men were all experienced climbers and many had summited this mountain before. The extreme conditions and high altitude add to the risks of reaching the highest point on earth. Approximately 300 people have died in the last 60 years in their attempt to reach the summit. Along with Andy, we are very proud of her and await the news of her safe return. Way to go Gosia!!

In addition, the company she is climbing with (Alpine Ascents) makes almost daily dispatches on their website (www.alpineascents.com). In case anyone would like to be generous and donate to her climb, they may donate to her PayPal account: zabucha@sbcglobal.net.

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