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Whymper summit, Riobamba

5.0 stars



I was a little delirious and at one point I thought we'd reached the summit and collapsed into the snow. As I lay there I stared at the sky, completely clear with not a cloud in sight and more stars than I had ever imagined possible. Raul told me to get up and get to the summit, and I only did so because I wanted to be closer to the sky, closer to those stars. After less than 5 minutes we were at the second summit and I had reached what had become my personal goal of the moment. I cried a couple of tears of joy and relief and looked up expectantly only to see a sky that was completely overcast. Was the previous sky real or did I imagine it, a self-induced mirage that would get me to the summit. I didn't have too much time to think because Raul was tugging the rope again and telling me to shift it to the Whymper summit. [more ]

The Swede Catches Up

I had noticed after 5500m that the Swede and his guide were gaining on us and although I didn't feel like I was in competition they served to remind me of my flagging strength. At about 5900m they caught up with us and we sat down together for a rest. It was around 3am and we had 400m to go to the Whymper summit. Originally the plan was to see the sun rise from the furthest point from the center of the Earth on my 21st birthday, that had changed to get to the summit before 8am (that was the cut off point for decent because waiting longer leaves you in danger of rock falls as the sun melts the snow), now it was just get as high as you can without dying! I was convinced that reaching the summit was impossible but perversely that gave me some form of strength, a huge will power to not give up until I was truly beaten. [more ]

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