After reaching the highest point in the contiguous United States, Lisa and her crew (Marshall, Jackie and George) began their descent to start the second half of the Badwater Double Challenge...
At about 5:30am this morning, Lisa and crew arrived to the Whitney Portals. This location marks the trailhead to the Mt. Whitney summit and the finish line of the official Badwater race. It also marks the point wherein Lisa has exactly 135 miles left of her journey to complete the Badwater Double Challenge. And all indicators read that she will do just that!
So a little about Lisa and crew's successful summit of Mt Whitney (thanks to Jackie Florine for providing a lot of the details I am sharing in this post):
Lisa demonstrated an incredible amount of courage for returning to the trailhead to make a second attempt at the summit. Not only was it courageous to return, but it was downright remarkable that she returned so quickly after her first attempt. Barely five hours had elapsed from the time Lisa returned to Lone Pine and the time she began the second attempt at 12:30pm today. The astounding fact is that Lisa wanted to make the window of time even smaller, but Lisa and crew needed to wait until 12 noon to receive the necessary permits to climb the mountain.
The second attempt brought a lot of nice surprises. Lisa and crew were met with a perfect sunset summit. There was no wind and no other climbers in view so the four got to savour the accomplishment intimately. Lisa, Marshall and Jackie celebrated the summit in reaching the halfway point of Lisa's Badwater Double Challenge and recognizing George's first ascent of Mt Whitney. George, for all you do for Lisa, I know she will be so glad to have the memory of sharing your first summit with you!
Jackie was quick to share that the ascent and descent were not without its set of challenges. The goal that was set and achieved was to keep the summit attempt simple. The crew let Lisa assume the driver's seat and they gently followed her and offered patient counsel when necessary. Lisa appeared to thrive on this display of confidence from her crew.
As for nutrition, the crew also sought to keep this simple for Lisa. Denise and Julie had lovingly prepared sandwiches cut into four squares and Jackie simply presented a little square to Lisa on the course, with the elegance one might expect when dining on tea sandwiches at Harrod's. Our girl Lisa eats in style, even on a mountain!
As an accomplished mountaineer, Jackie remarked on Lisa's prowess as a climber. Lisa faithfully committed to keepin' on keepin' on - only allowing herself short breaks. Jackie remarked on Lisa's focus - and the fact that she never lost her intention for even a step on the mountain. Jackie was impressed at Lisa's ability to deftly change her footwork on the mountain, explaining that footwork on the road and footwork on a mountain are very different.
Lisa's successful summit is extraordinary in so many ways. Burdened by the weight of sleep deprivation and the exhaustion that accompanies the physical exertion of completing the 135 mile Badwater race and throwing in a first attempt that brought Lisa up to the 12,500 ft elevation mark on the mountain - Lisa bagged this peak against all odds.
And the remarkable thing is that her body does not look any worse for the wear. Denise's taping job continues to hold up and protect Lisa's feet. Her legs are tired by relatively loose. I am beginning to suspect that perhaps Lisa truly is bionic. But that implies she's robotic and that is certainly not true. Lisa's every step forward on this journey is original and done with love - love for her own family, for her friends, and for the kids who need our help. By the way, check out information on how to donate - your money can do so much!
Lisa is now sleeping in the back of a van parked at the Mt Whitney trailhead. As the sunrises, so will Lisa and she will make her way back down to Lone Pine. There she will take a rest in a proper bed and recharge as she makes her way backwards through the Badwater course.
If you read this and have any inclination to leave a comment, PLEASE DO! I can't guarantee I can get this to Lisa on the course, but I know she will read these comments next week from her laptop in her kitchen and smile knowing you have all sent her your support and encouragement.
Way to chase your dream, Lisa!