Gipfelträume und Erholung

Summit Dreams and Recovery

On October 3rd, amidst the crisp mountain air of Mont Blanc, my world turned upside down. What was planned as a final training ascent before my departure to the heights of Himalayan acclimatization transformed into a battle against the intricacies of a back injury and its iron grip on my sciatic nerve. The pain was so intense that it hindered my breathing, so intense that despite taking Valium, I only felt the bite on my tongue while the pain in my leg remained unchanged.

The Diagnosis

Lying in Chamonix, with acupuncture needles in my buttocks under the care of a specialist, it quickly became apparent that it was likely a mild herniated disc. The words hit me like a shock. Reflecting here, I realize some of my training days had stretched beyond 24 hours non-stop, and this season's final training hours were primarily spent on my feet, with less climbing in preparation for Everest due to its less technical route. My pelvis couldn't withstand this strain, resulting in pressure on my lower back.

What's Next?

What does this mean for me? Fortunately, I can make a full recovery. A weight lifts off my chest. My second question: How long until I'm fully functional again? She mentions 3 months. Others speak of 2 weeks, while some suggest 6 months. From my experience, the truth lies somewhere among these three high-quality opinions.
The planned Everest Winter Expedition must be canceled, leading to a period of mental and physical challenge.

 A Journey of Self-Discovery:

The journey of recovery doesn't merely involve physical healing but also delves into deep self-reflection. My typical days filled with training give way to emptiness and silence due to my immobility, becoming a space to explore my inner resources. The mountains I intended to conquer now symbolize my own hurdles. This journey of self-discovery becomes an integral part of my healing.

Acceptance and Patience:

A crucial step in the path to recovery is accepting the situation and developing patience. Initially, I could only walk very short distances and felt incredibly drowsy and devoid of energy. Overcoming the immediate disappointment of canceled expeditions isn't easy. However, by confronting reality and allowing myself to cultivate patience, doors open to slow yet steady progress. Acceptance doesn't mean giving up but acknowledging the wisdom that healing takes time.

Celebrating Incremental Successes:

Amidst recovery, recognizing and celebrating small victories is crucial. Whether it's improved mobility, a day free from pain, or a milestone in therapy—these small triumphs act as signposts on my journey upward. I vividly remember the day I could take 5,000 steps again. By consciously acknowledging these advancements, I generate positive energy for further healing.

The Power of Community:

No one should face such a challenge alone. The support of friends, family, and professionals plays a vital role in my recovery. The community not only provides emotional support but also shares valuable resources and advice. Sharing the journey with others creates connections that ease the path to recovery.
Together with trusted experts, we regularly conduct tests to assess recovery. I release tension through sports massage, and the most crucial component involves my adapted daily mobility routine and intense strength training twice a week to strengthen the weaknesses that led to this injury.

New Planning:

Being able to alter plans and adapt to new conditions is crucial because unpredictability is a constant companion in the world of mountaineering. I'll tackle Everest one winter later. This winter, I'll dedicate my time to rebuilding and head to Norway to test equipment for another arctic project in the style of my Winter Solo on Denali.
Summer will be filled with numerous routes and mountains in the Alps, and autumn will once again be preparation for Everest. Exciting times lie ahead.
I might not have arrived yet, but the summit of complete recovery is in sight. This challenge hasn't only strengthened me physically but also mentally and emotionally. In every small step forward lies the certainty that the true reward isn't just reaching the summit but in unfolding one's own strength during the ascent.