Christine has returned home after three weeks in Nepal climbing to Everest Base Camp One. See our original post on Christine Regan's trek up Everest.
We caught Christine in between naps as she acclimates back to the North American Mountain time zone, and asked her a few questions about her journey.
E-P: You did this climb to raise money for CARE. How much did you personally raise?
CR: I was fortunate to get contributions from a lot of generous people and organizations, especially Evergreen-Partners, but I raised a total of $5,700. The team that I was part of raised over $65,000.
CR: I had a few goals. One was to get my body into shape and establish a strong exercise routine. As a side benefit, I ended up losing 16 lbs. While I wouldn't recommend Everest as a weight loss strategy, I guess it worked for me! I was also looking for a new travel adventure. I love to travel. Foreign travel feeds my soul in a way nothing else does. Spiritually, I was also looking to reinforce my belief in myself that I am stronger than I think I am, and capable of more than I may believe. In the end, I accomplished each of my goals.
E-P: What was the most gratifying aspect of the climb?
CR: I think it was facing my fears that came up throughout the trek. I was a little nervous about being the only American and not having met the team. They had several months to train together and had time to bond and connect, and I was just a stranger showing up the day we blasted off on this new adventure. It was a little intimidating.
My bigger fears that kept coming up were: Am I in good enough shape to handle the climb? Will I survive this? After all, people die climbing these altitudes. But I did survive, and I made friends with several members of my team. It was gratifying confronting and then getting past my fears.
E-P: What was the most difficult aspect of it all?
CR: The constant health challenges that I had. I flew over there with an ear infection and severe allergies which gave me horrific sinus problems. Then, eating some local food, I developed two food borne illnesses. I had nightly migraines from altitude sickness which kept me from sleeping, so I was exhausted on the treks each day and that contributed to twisting both ankles. The lack of oxygen is the biggest problem. I started getting horrific migraines on the mountain, and was quite nervous about the altitude sickness, acute mountain sickness, and HACE [High Altitude Cerebral Edema]. All threats you face when you start dealing with high altitude.
I especially got nervous when Shawn Dawson, our team leader warned us that headaches were normal, and he referred to those that span the front part of your head. But headaches that span the back part of your cranium can be very, very dangerous. And those were the kind of headaches I was getting each night. My head would feel like it was going to explode. It was so painful that for several nights, they brought me to tears. It didn't help that a friend told me just before I left that her neighbor's son died at base camp suddenly without warning from HACE. So it was a very real fear present each day.
E-P: You are a marketing person, right? What can Everest teach us about business?
CR: The only constants about Everest are change and adversity. You have to be flexible and constantly adapt to the weather. You need to take it one step at a time. You need to be a little courageous and step outside your comfort zone. You need to have faith in yourself and if you do, what you will find is that you cannot run or hide from yourself on the mountain. Who you are – the real you – comes out under that pressure. That can either be a you that inspires others or the you that humiliates yourself. Put another way, your character shows up loud and clear on the mountains. I think that business leadership today can learn a lot from Everest.
Can I thank Evergreen-Partners? Gordon and Kaethe Zellner, and their Evergreen-Partners Giving Fund really helped me kick-start my fund raising momentum, and for that I'm grateful.
Now it's your turn. As a comment below, share a meaningful goal that you want to achieve. Remember: It's often been said that writing down and sharing a goal makes it much more likely you'll achieve it.