Thursday, March 11, 2010

Day 6

At 5am I was sure the room was getting lighter, I got up and creeped outside, I was wrong, it was still pitch black and fog was all around, gutted. At 6am without much hope I checked again, and there they were. The Himalayas and Khangchendzonga the third highest mountain in the world standing at 8598m, it was a sight to behold and I stood mesmorised by it.

I have just realised that my love for the mountains started almost exactly 10years ago. It was March 2000 and I was trekking along the Overland route in Tasmania. A recommended side trip was to climb Mt Ossa, which was the highest point in Tasmania. It was tough and relatively dangerous for a complete novice to the hills like myself. Upon reaching the top I remember being slightly overwhelmed. The 360 views were unforgettable and the feeling of being out there in the wild, days from civilisation must have stirred something inside me. I shared the moment with Jay, a welsh lad I was travelling with and an older Ozzy bloke. He informed us that in all his years as a keen hiker, he'd never been to such a ruggedly beautiful place. We shared a hip flask of whiskey and headed back down. Summer 2003, on top of Mount Snowdon in Wales, a break in the clouds revealed the world below and suddenly I felt the need to climb a big mountain. I was with my mate Ste on Snowdon, and whether or he was feeling the same as me, he came along for the ride. Jan 2004, in wintry conditions, myself, Ste and our guide stood on top of Ben Nevis, kitted out in crampons, ice axes, harness, rope etc this was real mountaineering, I loved it. July 2004, I attempted to climb Mount Blanc(4808m), the biggest in western Europe, with Ste. Altitude sickness and poor weather conditions denied us, but I'd had a taste of mountaineering in the Alps and knew I would return. July 2005, unguided and against the odds, along with Ste and new team memeber Gary, I stood on top of Europe. Jagged peaks all around reached for the sky but none higher than me, I was so exhausted the moment almost passed me by, but reliving that moment again now, I realise it didn't pass me by at all. June 2008, Peruvian Andes. Sunrise, in an area desribed as the greatest mountain range outside of the Himalaya, I reached high and smashed my ice axe into the face. I hauled myself onto the summit plateau and rolled away from the edge. All alone I stood on top of Nevado Pisco (5752m). There was no feeling quite like it and getting there and more importantly getting back down alive is the greatest achievement of my life. So, a decade later I find myself starring at the Himalayas and wonder if fate has lead me here. I know for sure its not my time to climb a big mountain, but there is a chance I could climb a 6000m plus peak. For now, I'm happy to admire from afar but for how long?

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