The towering glacier glistened as the first ray hit the powdery snow. On the horizon, the sun was glowing red breaking our almost six-hour ascent in the dark. With each step going up to Stok Kangri, I felt smaller and irrelevant.

Sunrise at the shoulder just below the summit of Stok Kangri

In the tropics, where we live, we could push ourselves without fear of dying. Our muscles could cramp, we could collapse out of dehydration and exhaustion and that would be all but ‘The Himalayas’ was a different story for us.

A giant wall of snow, making everybody look like ants

 

 

As I and my partner climbed higher, the thought that one of us could die on that mountain remained at the back of my mind. How would we tell each other’s’ families if one of us perished? Would it be my fault or his? That morbid thought was a stark contrast to the heavenly beauty around us. Whenever I looked down to catch a breath, I pictured the reality and danger that lay before us but when I looked around, I saw otherworldly landscapes that made me thankful and I could brave the cold arduous climb. Regrets for not acclimatizing enough before the climb rushed, as my head throbbed, breathing became more difficult with each step. I vowed never to climb any snow-capped mountain again but as we headed down that day, we were already mapping out our next high altitude walk.

 

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