We set out next morning to cross the barren, rocky lunar like terrain. This was our lot for the best part of the day and a time when boredom took over at the earliest opportunity. Fortunately, I’ve learnt from other walking experiences, I had downloaded the Audible app to my phone and had a selection of books to indulge in so I spent the morning, headphones on, in my own space which is often my preferred place.
Giant steps are what you take,The Police
Walking on the moon
The cloud was now hiding the summit so there wasn’t much to look at and the back of the person in front has only so much interest.
During mid afternoon we reached Barafu camp, for most the camp from which they would attempt the summit. It comprised a single large hut with a green metal roof and a large number of tents spread out around. It was crowded and made us think the summit was certainly going to be busy when we got there. During the afternoon the wind had also started to pick up across the mountain.
We were to walk for a further hour beyond Barafu camp to High Camp at 4950 m or 16,240 feet. A number of the group were once more suffering from the effects of altitude so the climb was slow with the wind adding to the level of difficulty. By the time we reached High Camp our tents had been erected and it was suggested we tried to get some rest after a light meal in preparation for the night to come and our summit attempt from here. The wind had reached more than 40mph. There was no shelter so as we laid in our tents as they were buffeted making rest difficult. A visit to one of the toilet tents during the evening showed it was easier not to use it than use it as the wind was blowing it nearly horizontal.
W/ Polie, how are you doing?
P/ Twying to sleep Wic but the noise is keeping me awake.
W/ How’s Chris?
P/ Oh he was asleep withIn seconds of climbing into his sleeping bag. Nothing stops Chwis sleeping. I’m, not sure which is the most distwaction. The wind or Chwis snorwing!
W/ He’s probably worn himself out having spent most of the day complaining.
P/ Yes, this twip was never going to be for him but he was convinced he should do it.
W/ Well the hardest part is just about to come. But if this wind doesn’t drop before about 11.00pm we won’t be going. It will be too dangerous.
P/ Yes, all this way and then to miss out at the last hurdle. Let’s hope the wind dwops.
W/ Yes, and let’s try and join Chris now for an hour or two.
So we slept and as the night went on the wind did ease but when we stuck our heads out at about 10.00pm we were greeted by snow with a couple of inches on the ground. Dressed in our warmest gear we gathered in the mess tent for hot tea and waited for the group leaders to make a decision. Just before 11.00pm it was announced we would go.
So one of the hardest nights of our lives began.