Summit night – Part II
I manage to make it through for another hour until the next break. It is pitch black and all you can see on the mountain are small headlights everywhere in one straight line, and the moon shining on us. We stop for a couple of minutes and I could immediately see that quite a few of us had suffered badly, some members were just lying on the floor breathing heavily, I was crying, others couldn’t say a word and surprisingly, Mountain Princess, the Gazelle and Twinkle Toes seemed to be doing extremely well (even though they were the youngest). I am still shivering in the cold and Noun & Marco (my savior) take my hands together and start rubbing them for me to keep me warm and we finally manage to close my jacket! All I want to do at this point is wake up, and so I take a drastic measure and tell Marko to pour some of the unfrozen water that he has into my gloves (risking to get wet frozen hands), and I start rubbing my eyes for what seemed to be an eternity, trying to keep them open, and we continue.
We’re above 5000 meters, and it’s getting colder and the mountain is getting steeper, and the breathing is getting so much harder. ‘One foot in front of the other until you make it to the top’ is all I can hear in my head. At this point, I just need something to keep me going, so I open a line of communication with God and I start telling him to please put an end to this, make it easier, shorter, quicker, anything!! I just want to see the end… Champion Mama is in front of me and I start focusing all my energy on her as I can see that she’s swaying from left to right and I want to ask her if she’s ok, but the words won’t come out of my mouth. I nudge Noun to check on her but he doesn’t. It’s a scary sight to see her swaying in front of me, but it distracts me a little from what I am going through. I continue talking to God and then an ‘angel’ appears and helps me through the next part of the climb. I think I might have been hallucinating because in what I think was the last part of the climb, it felt like I had left my body and was looking at myself from above. I can’t explain it, I don’t remember anything at all. I don’t remember that my feet were moving, or that people were talking to me.
Next thing I know, I have the Box, and John Senesio, each on one side telling me that we’re less than an hour away to the peak. I could feel the sun breaking through the dark sky and I start feeling just a tiny bit better. They are next to me for the entire hour, each on one side, each whispering beautiful things in my ears. They are sending me positive vibes, encouraging me, telling me what a great thing we have done, how many children we are going to help by having accomplished this, how I have inspired so many women by what I have done and that a specific angel is extremely proud of what I have achieved. That was the longest hour of my life and each step that I took was a step less to give up, yet that was the only thought running in my mind, I want to quit. This mental struggle was the toughest thing I have ever had to deal with… The sun was rising and they made me stop, turn around for a second to see the sun and instantly, it all made sense. This whole struggle and enduring the toughest challenge of my life made sense when I saw the sun. Meanwhile, I saw Strong Bull, the Gazelle, Mountain Princess, Twinkle Toes all pass me and I knew the end was near. I looked up and I was literally 10 steps away from the summit with the Box and Senesio by my side.
The peak (Stella Point) was partially covered in snow, the guides were celebrating and passing around cups of what seemed to be coffee/tea but it was just hot water (that had been kept in thermoses so as not to freeze overnight) and they were full of smiles. I wish I could explain what I felt, but no words will give it justice. As soon as I made it, I had an emotional breakdown and I was crying uncontrollably and hugging everyone. I looked around to see that everyone had made it and we had, and an immediate sense of calm presided over me. We had achieved something so much bigger than us…
A few minutes into congratulating each other and making sure that everyone was physically ok, we were told that we still had another hour to get to Uhuru Peak (where the sign was). At this point, the sun is out and even though I am exhausted, I feel a renewed sense of self, and I think to myself I can hopefully do this! What’s another hour to the last 7 which I had endured?? But I feel like I have a sense of duty to record this moment just before we continue, the moment when all 12 of us reached the top. And somehow the switch from being a total emotional mess to becoming Boss Lady happens in less than a second, and I whip out my camera and take a photo of the whole group at Stella Point with the sun rising from behind us.