I am not sure if this was the worst day of my life, but it was certainly the worst day since the last candidate! Within half an hour of setting off the lead guide had asked me if I was ok because I looked like I was about to collapse!
When he asked me if I was able to make it to the top, I was unsure for the first time ever. Not long after, I was desperate to give up, but one thing I’ve learnt is it does not matter how many times you want to give up, its how many times you carry on.
And carry on I did.
With my feet burning from friction and my toes numb from freezing, and my back aching from the rucksack, and my thighs burning from the climbing, and my lungs bursting from the lack of oxygen, and my heart racing from the exertion…etc etc!
It was all reminiscent of Mt Vinson summit day, but I was so exhausted I couldn’t tell if it was better or worse…just that I desperately wanted it to end.
5 and a half long hours later, I arrived at the summit to find one of the Chinese party collapsed on his back, exhausted, and smoking a cigarette! I was laughing in the back of my head but physically only interested in collapsing as well. And collapse I did for 45 minutes.
I had just climbed one of the highest mountains in the world. If it had been in 5 of the other continents it would be feted as a great accomplishment as Lobuche is taller than 5 of the famous “7 summits” (the 7 summits are the tallest mountains in the 7 continents i.e. Kilimanjaro in Africa, Vinson in Antarctica, McKinley in North America etc.)
But as I looked around, I could see within 5 miles about 25 mountains higher than me, including Everest towering another 2,700m…reminding me that this was just a training run, and a lot harder climbs lay ahead.
And our day didn’t end there as we had to descend all the way back to base camp another 5 hours over ice and then ankle breaking rock, all whilst beyond exhaustion. We were a re-run of the shattered individuals who had scared us 24hrs before, and now we felt their pain instead of just seeing it.