Man Up! Coming of Age
Nearly 2 years ago, we promised Tristan a “wilderness adventure” for his 13th birthday. This wild-at-heart-man-child of ours is most at home away from home. This apartment in Bangkok just isnt a natural habitat to his free spirit and we’ve longed to be able to set him loose and see him push his limits and rise to a challenge! That opportunity came in the form of a mountain trecking endeavor with his dad and a team of men that we work with. The team was going to lead a training in Nepal which made it easy to tack on an extra week to summit the Annapurna in the Himalayan mountains!
We’re talking big-boy adventure here! Similar to the Everest base camp climb! ROCK (climbers magazine) names the Annapurna the “deadliest mountain in the world“! Even tho no one is allowed further than the base camp anymore, the climb to ABC was no small feat!! Tristan left a kid and returned a man….because there aint’ no way his momma could have done it and he has earned a badge of honor, the respect of everyone else on the trail, bragging rights and a great sense of accomplishment!
The rugged terrain took their trecking party of 7 up the 4,130 meters of the Annapurna mountain to the base camp, which is now the highest point which climbers are allowed to summit – because it is so dangerous beyond that point and there have been too many deaths! I restrained the urge to google too much information about the treck until I knew they were safely down, but when I did, I came across crazy stories that would have left me with an acute case of insomnia had I known! The guys passed “memorials” on the way honoring climbers who didnt make it back down.
Every day, from the crack of dawn, they hiked for hours through blazing heat, rain and then snow to make it to their destination. Nights were spent in tea houses which were un-heated, but provided water for showering and a hot meal. Daily hurdles included rope bridges to cross, creeks to wade through, altitude sickness, headaches, oxygen deprivation, rocks to climb, cold to press through and mental stamina and true grit!
We didn’t hear from the guys the entire trip aside from a spotty attempted phone call and a couple of text letting his momma know he hadn’t fallen off the mountain. C tells me that Tristan was, by far, the youngest guy on the trail! And can I just say its a good thing his momma wasn’t there!! I for sure would have gotten in the way of him summiting. The guys tell us that the last day, they had to get up at 4am to begin the final hike in order to summit at sunrise. Tristan at this point had an especially acute case of altitude sickness and was not doing well at all. They guys all pushed and prodded, encouraged and antagonized, whatever necessary to keep him putting one foot in front of the other. Apparently he was delirious and kept asking C if he could “just lay down in the snow and sleep for a minute?”
Oh my momma heart!!! Had I been there you can bet that 1) who am I kidding, I would have died the first day and never gotten that far, and 2) I would have been the weakest link in the chain that pulled him up those last miles! Tristan persevered and conquered the Annapurna trail!!
The summit has a helicopter that rescues climbers 4-5 times a day who just pass out and cant make it any further. Im pretty sure Tristan was on the brink of a fast track out of there, but he continued on and made the descent with the guys and bought his Tshirt to wear with pride!
Annapurna checked off the bucket list!! Such a cool father-son adventure! And, we’ve told him that he’s now obligated to do it again with Eden in 13 years…..because Im pretty sure C is gonna be too old by that point to attempt it again with son #2! So insanely proud of these guys!!
Wow…absolutely amazing pictures and an amazing adventure! Tristan will need to frame the victory photo of him with arms raised so he never forgets what he can do!