The plan for today had been to do a couple of steep ascents and descents and finish at Mackinder’s Camp at 4300m – and that’s what the rest of the group did. I, meanwhile, took the advice of the Guides and only accompanied them on the first climb, up to the Hausberg col at around 4700m. I now had my own personal Guide, David, who would take me back down to Shipton’s Camp then make sure I made it all the way to the summit in the morning once I’d had a bit more time to acclimatise. I wasn’t entirely convinced that this plan was going to work, but at least I wasn’t now holding up the others.
The climb was tough. My breathing was fast and shallow and didn’t seem very effective. I knew I’d been quite fit when I left the UK, so it was quite annoying to be such a wimp on this hill which was no worse than Tryfan, really (although I do hate Tryfan!)
At the top of the col, I waved goodbye to the rest of the group and hoped that I would next see them at Point Lenana. David took me on a slightly different route back to Shipton’s Camp …. and I went back to bed. The Cook made me a lovely lunch, which I picked at, and I spent most of the afternoon in bed trying to keep warm. At the camp, there was a European couple who were also taking an extra day because of illness and, in a strange way, that made me feel a little better.
David briefed me on the plan for the morning: 2am – get up. 2:15 – start walking. 6:30-ish – observe the sunrise from the top of the mountain. Part of me really wanted to succeed, but another part of me just wanted to zip myself into my sleeping back and hope this wasn’t really happening. Another plate of delicious food was put in front of me and, once again, I picked at it. Then something miraculous happened; Magic Tea! According to the Cook, it was tea, honey, lemon and ginger …. but, whatever it was, it certainly perked me up. I seemed to have some energy for the first time in 2 days and felt mentally able to climb the mountain. I told David that, if I could have a cup of that tea at 0200, I’d be able to reach the summit.
I set my alarm for 0155 and tried to think positive thoughts as I fell asleep.