Author Archives: Saikaly Elia

The men and women behind the success of our 8000M expedition – By Elia Saikaly

The men and women behind the success of our 8000M expedition – By Elia Saikaly

More often than not, the support teams on successful 8000M ascents remain the unsung heroes. It is almost classically executed by Westerners to omit the names of all of those who helped them achieve their goal of standing atop one of the world’s highest peaks. The following is my attempt to share with you the many men and women who helped make this ascent possible. Few have the ability, the stamina and the resources to truly attempt something like this completely on their own.

 

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Not without my baby – Crossing the Tibetan Border

Not without my baby – Crossing the Tibetan Border

Today I bore witness to a truly incredible sight – Love in its most formidable and unconditional state. A fundamental response to survival that left me astounded and quite honestly purely dumbfounded. On one level, I felt extremely guilty for having captured this on video, yet in the same breath I felt a responsibility to share what I saw with all of you.

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Endless suffering – The Summit of Cho Oyu part 2- By Elia Saikaly

Endless suffering – The Summit of Cho Oyu part 2- By Elia Saikaly

It’s 1:00am and we still haven’t left camp for the summit. The wind is violently shaking our little North Face tent at 7100M above sea level. What happened to our perfect weather forecast? I’m currently breathing supplementary oxygen and I’m finding it challenging to see through the mask. I’m also slightly paranoid about my toes. I ALWAYS have issues with my toes above 8000M and the wind sounds unforgivably cold. I force myself to consume dehydrated vegetables and pasta in a pack and I ceremonially prepare for the final ascent.

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A tale of hardship and calculated risks – The Summit of Cho Oyu part 1

A tale of hardship and calculated risks – The Summit of Cho Oyu part 1

The truth is that I’ve been sick ever since Kheiry left. After evacuating him from ABC (5700M) I had to climb back through a storm, got lost in the middle of the night in snow up to my waist, nearly lost all sensation in my left foot and never fully recovered. For those that are unaware, up here cuts don’t heal, cold’s don’t just ‘go away’ and any form of sickness evolves into a much more serious condition. Perfect. All I had to was get up an 8,201M giant and apparently I had 4 days to do it!  I received a weather forecast stating that the the night of October 1st I’d have a shot at the top.

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To rise or to retreat? A dilemma above the clouds

To rise or to retreat? A dilemma above the clouds

I’m currently living in a yellow tent amongst hundreds of others at 5700M above sea level. My climber partner Kheiry and our assistant Jeremie along with 2 of our strongest climbers have left Tibet and abandoned the climb. Kheiry had the humility to accept to be evacuated, as much as we all contributed, he saved his own life. Truth is: I miss him. Dearly. I sit in his seat as I type this email unsure of what to do next.

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Hardship Never-ending – Evacuation Part 2

Hardship Never-ending – Evacuation Part 2

As I watched the jeep drive away with my climbing partner Kheiry, Jeremie, Pema and Namgyal, it suddenly hit me:  I was mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted. The truth is this: While Kheiry was sick, I put myself 2nd and failed to share the fact that I wasn’t well and that my own pulse/ox (the amount of oxygen saturation in the blood) measured 68/100. At sea level, this measurement would grant you a one-way ticket to the emergency room, at near 6000M it is not uncommon, however it is a warning sign to slow down and recover. Sadly, I did not have that luxury.

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Evacuation at 5400m

Evacuation at 5400m

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Today I evacuated my friend Kheiry – By Elia Saikaly

Today I evacuated my friend Kheiry – By Elia Saikaly

 

“It’s over”, I though to myself, and it hasn’t even begun. The dream: The ascent of Mt. Cho Oyu, the 6th highest mountain in the world is crushed. I have watched my friend and climbing partner Kheiry suffer for far too long and today we made the decision to call it quits. You know it’s time to retreat when your closest t friend is breathing supplementary oxygen from a cylinder and you’re administering powerful drugs to ensure his safety and survival.

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Why Challenge Ourselves? :By Elia Saikaly

Why Challenge Ourselves? :By Elia Saikaly

It’s that time of year again when uncertainty takes precedence over all that is routine, familiar and predictable. No matter how many times one embarks on a high altitude Himalayan expedition, the feeling of excitement and uneasiness never ceases to be anything less than overwhelming.

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Your life, is your adventure – By Elia Saikaly

Your life, is your adventure – By Elia Saikaly

Have you ever found yourself asking the question “ I wonder if there
is something more out there for me?” Unsettled or unsatisfied with
your current reality? Constantly feeling as though there is higher
calling, some other path that you could travel, perhaps a more
meaningful reality that you could one day refer to as the adventure
known as ‘your life’?

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