I had been lucky with the altitude. No headaches, and other than a slight loss of appetite my stomach remained strong. Even the breathlessness wasn’t terrible and could be managed. I just had to move slowly and sometimes stop to catch my breath.
But I could not escape the cold.
Despite having Andy in the tent with me and wearing 2 layers of thick wool socks, thermal tights, hiking pants, 2 shirts, a fleece, a down jacket, and my winter cap inside a thermal down sleeping bag with a liner, I lay shivering for the 3.5 hours until it was time to get ready for the summit push. I could feel the frigid surface beneath me and had to keep turning over to avoid stiffening up. My toes were slowly turning to icicles and I could feel the cloud of each breath escaping me and taking my last ounces of warmth with it.
It was like my pilot light had gone out. Continue reading