Climbing to the top

Naina Parshotam, Staff Writer

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  A pair of glasses shield her eyes from the snow as it slams against her face and  body. Her bones practically frozen through from the cold. CHS English teacher Taylor Moyes had to drag her feet to get them to move through the March snow; but all Moyes had to do to keep moving was remind herself where she was, and what she was doing.

  Climbing Mount Everest had been a personal goal for months. Moyes, along with  her family turned a goal into reality last month.

Her brother, CHS sophomore Chad Moyes climbed up the mountain ahead of the pack for most of the treck was slowed by an abrupt snowstorm. 

  “There was a complete blizzard and it was just in our face,” Moyes said. “We had glasses, we had our facemasks, we had our hoods, everything. We had to do waterproof covers over our bags so nothing would get ruined.”

  The storm lasted about an hour, and “that was hard.” With rough snow constantly pushing against you, as well as bags of items needed for the journey, Moyes said, “it was strenuous and difficult, but not impossible.”

  Luckily, they didn’t have blizzards the entire way up to their final destination, base camp, at an elevation of 17,600 ft.

  “If you think about it, planes fly at about 35,000 feet, so that’s about halfway of the altitude of a plane,” Moyes said. “And one day it reached like negative 17 degrees, so it was way to cold!”

But the cold didn’t stop the five.

  “It took nine days to get to base camp, we were hiking anywhere from six to 11 hours a day, and then it took three days to come back,” Moyes said.

  They took two days of rest, known as acclimatization days, as well as daily pills to help the body adjust to the rising elevation.

  Along the way they stayed in small villages and experienced the culture of those who lived there, especially Moyes’ father who stayed at a certain altitude and wasn’t able to reach base camp due to health issues.

  “He was able to really get to know the locals, learned how to fill the bags that were strapped onto the yaks, he was able to cook in the kitchen in the village,” Moyes said.

  They noticed the lack of electricity and warm water, and the basic cinder block houses with curtains instead of doors and plain floors instead of soft beds. “It definitely made me grateful for what I have here, because those people, they’re so happy with so little,” Moyes said.

  “We didn’t have hot showers for a week, so we had to clean ourselves with baby wipes. In terms of health, it was very basic.”

  There were days when it was so cold that there was no way they could take off their clothes to shower, and would therefore remain in the same clothes for several days.

  “I know it sounds gross, but we had to do what we had to do,” Moyes said.

  Even so, even though there weren’t set trails and paths for them to walk on, even though they had to walk over boulders, it was all worth it.

  “I remember it was like day two or three, and we had our first view of Everest. That was after like six hours of switchbacks, we got to the top and we were like… That’s why we’re doing this.” Moyes said. “We had training and preparation for it, but Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world, and the fact to stand at the base of it and just look at it is incredible. It was definitely a journey, and with every journey comes highs and lows.”

  “You get to the top of the mountain and you just have this beautiful view of such a secluded part of the world, that people don’t get to see unless you hike it.” With ice glaciers and rivers that are only crossed with suspension bridges, the world shifts and is seen in a “new perspective.”

  Moyes holds these dreams and goals, and conquers them one by one, bringing others along with her.

  “Anything that is worth it in life is difficult. Everything that is worth having, everything that is worth accomplishing, you have to put in an effort and it makes the reward that much greater. The difficulty matches the reward in my opinion.” And her reward, was an unforgettable view of a gorgeous mountain and the rest of the world alongside it.

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