Day #4 is we attempted to make it all the way to the top of Point Lenana. We woke up at 2 am and started our hike around 3 am.
It was a bit disorienting to not be able to see anything further than 3-5 feet in front of me especially when hiking up a super steep rocky mountain. The skies were clear and I felt like I was hiking straight up towards the stars. I’ve never felt so close to the stars, such an awesome feeling.
We got to see the sun come up over the mountains which was beautiful!
After a while we realized we were the only people on the entire mountain attempting to make it to the summit. There had also been a snowstorm the night before which meant some of the cables were buried or had ice on them. I’m not sure if the cables are used on the original route we were going to take.
We came to one of the most steep part of the trail heading towards the summit and the guide had me sit on a rock on an exposed side of the mountain (brrr) for 20-25 minutes while he and Dennis attempted to get up the steep part about 15 feet away that had some icy spots. The guide knew there was a risk of us falling off the mountain and he wanted to be able to focus on getting us up one at a time because he wouldn’t be able to grab us both. Dennis did almost take a fall (too close of a call) and the guide had to grab him under his clothes (if he had grabbed Dennis by his coat then he might have lost his grip or the coat might have ripped). After a couple of wayyy tooooo close calls we decided the mountain simply did not want anyone on her that day so we hiked back down and around the summit. I also almost slipped off the side going back down but the guide grabbed me…it wasn’t as a close of a call as Dennis’ experience was!
As we hiked down, I kept slipping in the slushy snow (it was icy at the top and slushy at the bottom). When we got to a less steep part I finally got tired of falling down so I just slid down on my behind.
We hiked down to another camp for breakfast and then hiked….and hiked….and hiked through water….through mud….up and down valleys…until we finally made it to our camp for the night after hiking for about 14 hours (around 18-20 miles, about 9-10 miles of that was above 14,000 feet). There was actually a British army unit there doing some training, there is a base near the mountain.
We crashhheeedddddd! 🙂
Even though the mountain basically tried to kick us off and we came close to the summit…I’m not disappointed…it wasn’t for a lack of effort….it was more that we didn’t want to fall to our death after slipping on patches of ice more than a couple of times. We got a little tiny taste of what serious mountain hikers experience (e.g. those Mt. Everest hikers) and it was a wonderful experience overall! .