Marina Cortês

Ticks of time: on Cosmology, Everest, and Ballet

On Adventuring and Parenting

This is a post in honor of the beautiful documentary “Torn” made by filmmaker Max Lowe, son of Alex Lowe.

Sharing your love for the Khumbu can change someone’s life. I landed my family, including a 4 year-old, and a 7 year-old, on Everest Base Camp in early June 2022. It was a safe helicopter flight from Namche, landing on an empty EBC, and back to Lukla, and everyone was acclimatised. But it was still epic. Early monsoon and bad weather. Season had ended, and no one knowing if there are still safe heli pads.

I spent one week in Namche Bazaar, in early June 2022, trying to find a pilot who would take on the challenge. (Namche was pratically empty on account of the unusually early monsoon rains.)
I finally convinced an exquisite technical pilot by saying, “think that many decades from now, when all of us are gone, these children will have this photo that bears witness: `I landed on Everest Base Camp when I was four years old’.”

I am a no-Os mountaineer, mother of two. Three months later Hilaree Nelson, also mother of two, passed on Manaslu, not so far away, in an avalanche due to unusually high levels of snow, coming from the same monsoon season that made it difficult for me to land my family on EBC. And of course Max Lowe put out his beautiful testimony, “Torn”, recently.

How do you reconcile your love for your family with your love for altitude and the mighty giants?

While we do not know the answer, sharing our love for these environments might be our best expression of how to deal with this love that keeps us torn.

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