a Sunday in April Sarah wrote:

High on the Ground

Jim somehow managed to convince me to sign up for climbing Huayna Potosí a 6088 meter mountain near La Paz. This is crazy high especially for us with little to no experience of climbing at altitude.

Day 1 was training on a glacier, we climbed up and down snowy slippery slopes wearing crampons and climbed steep faces using ice axes. That night we played cards and got to know our fellow mountaineers.

Day 2 we carried our equipment up from base to high camp. We took hours walking steadily with huge backpacks. We started on rocky terrain and ended in deep snow. The high altitude and going to bed at 4pm led to a restless evening sleep.

Day 3 we started our assent at 1am to attempt make it to the top for sunrise.
Jim and I walked in the darkness with ropes attaching us to our guide. It was strangely silent as we slowly crunched our way upwards. The light our head torches made the surrounding snow glimmer. After hours of methodically walking tiredness set in, each step took our breath away and any pauses left us freezing cold. Jim sang me Swedish folk songs to keep me moving as I almost collapsed from exhaustion.

We reach the peak at 6am, the sunrise is beautiful and we can see for miles. Tears are in my eyes as this honestly was the hardest physical thing I have ever done. We smile and hug, never again will we stand so high on the ground.

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