Short trek to base camp but tried to pace ourselves slowly despite Tun Tun’s efforts to ramp up the speed
I could begin to feel the shorter breath and pressurization in my ears while a bit light headed with each paced step
A friendly dog joined is along the way as well as updating itself on the status of other groups but rejoined us for the final climb to camp
The panorama at base camp did not lack in its attempt to dazzle the eyes and one’s own imagination with deeply cast snow peaks set at our backs with the ice entrenched to its stomach gliding towards our level and a well spread lineup stretched across far away nearly out of sight all dusted by the chilly ice still left from winter and its own space real estate up in the sky. All the while the perplexing green landscape of Leh stood tucked deep well inside its own enclave/valley
From some trekkers that had spent at least a day at base camp or had risen to the summit altogether, I got some idea of what to look forward to or rather be slightly weary of: walking over glaciers, steep inclines, trudging through snow, dancing on the narrow cliffside edge once upon Stok Kangri’s shoulder that required an accompanying teamwork of roping each member to one another in case of a possible mishap. All of these details scared Christoph shitless. Hearing all of this even I knew that what was once considered child’s play is something not to take lightly. Even the simplest alternation in a place of varying weather condition could turn a simple, joyful, expected ascent into one’s own worse nightmare.
Having my own moment of peace I squatted upon one of the litany of rocks around me and stared out at the mountains and the land below. I looked longingly at this scenery loving life, disbelieving all that has occurred over these many months, and acknowledging my own potential for the impossible. Although I have my moments where I feel firmly stuck in the doldrums of a world I would rather not place, I know that I can take so much and keep going, I know that I am stronger than most people I will ever meet, I know that I am capable of all that I wish to accomplish and aspire to in this world, I know. I enjoy these moments alone with my own burgeoning mind as my only company to unravel the twisted web of this world and realize I firmly stand atop it. Sure I talk to myself but the words that ring through my ears are from a powerful, unstoppable force that challenges what was considered in the depths of a confined, bewitched, and bewildered mind.
In this camp like others before, I saw the same Tibetan flags wafting in front of said mountains that inspired my latest notions each written in their native script the holy words of their religion in a colorful blend of blue, green, white, red, yellow repeating until end
After an open air lunch set perfectly amidst the mountain air and the peaks that tell you how small you can feel when placed in a land of giants cast by nature’s own hand, we trekked up to the top of the pass we would be summiting this night as a further altitude check.
The air was thicker and less acceptable of each necessary breath but we eventually found ourselves atop upon the ridge once again decorated with Tibetan flags. At this point overlooking the camp at our side and Leh so far away from anywhere I once knew, I could finally take my first glance at Stok Kangri which stood a mean 6153 meters above sea level. It was completely cloaked by snow and ice and rose at its climax to a point that I did not see as scalable but an early morning attempt would occur despite all the obstacles. I took this time again for myself to think deeply to open up passages in my mind I not always consider when the mistress of dreams and the unimaginable inspire greatness and disbelief in staying firmly positioned within the grasps of the bewildered, thoughtless herd cull me to think on another level and beyond.
After getting my pictures with the Tibetan flags set in front of the background of mountains we descended back to base camp.
Once again we ate with our Nepali cook whipping up some more all too good food and way too much to be exact for some serious carbo loading
We all slipped into our tents at 8 pm trying to get whatever rest our bodies could summon in preparation for our roughly 10 pm wake up call to get all suited up for the fateful summiting trek
I couldn’t sleep no matter how hard I tried flipping side to side due to my expectant anticipation and likely my own hot chocolate overdosing
With one last hour to spare, I pulled my sleeping bag and mat out from the tent to sleep under an open roofed ceiling of stars fully cast undisturbed. As my eyes adjusted to the lighting, the stars grew more pronounced and their figurative shapes manipulated my imagination like those blooms of clouds at midday awakening your own inner child to picture various animals, people, and other natural beings hidden in the sky. In one short spurt that didn’t seem real upon first glance, a shooting star shot across the dark twinkling sky streaming its light until it disappeared as quickly as it had arrived. Although chilly I bundled myself up tightly like a mummy within its own tomb and fell gently asleep as the cool breeze washed over me invigorating my lungs with the sorely needed oxygen my body strived for.