we were sure we'd be back down to camp at the lower saddle by lunchtime.
however, hours past our goal we made it back to camp.
~ woke up at 6:30 a.m. after a warm night's sleep
~ knew the group of sixteen high school kids had a hour and a half lead on us so we weren't worried about congestion on the route (this is a one-person-at-a-time route)
~ ate our oatmeal breakfast (which i can't even think about without getting a little queasy)
~ packed our gear, and noticed that our hearts had happily acclimatized to the high altitude. optimism reigned!
~ we walked up the trail, and began the scramble up loose rocks and large boulders
~ arrived at the first pitch, "wall street," where we got stuck waiting for a group for over an hour. still optimistic. no big deal.
~ stayed warm in the shade and wind with lots of layers. ate snacks. told jokes.
~ finally took our turn up wall street. matt lead. i followed. had to get down on my belly to retrieve a cam that had "walked"--was trying to keep my cool. kept climbing/scooting along on the ledge while avoiding looking down: 2000 ft of air below me. don't fall here. made it. ceej followed.
~ got stuck behind another group at the next pitch. more waiting. amazing how fast 45 minutes or an hour goes by on the mountain. still having fun. especially now that we're in the sun. the layers start coming off.
~ finally our turn to climb again. we zoom up the pitch. fun. easy.
~ then more free climbing, no need to rope up for a bit. we're flying.
~ another group ahead. have to wait.
~ then a new group with a guide cuts in front of us. not cool. guide is fast, his clients are not. another hour goes by.
~ our turn again. we fly up the pitch. still positive despite rude people.
~ the views are incredible, by the way.
~ run into more people. more waiting.
~ starting to wonder if we'll ever make it to the top. keeping my cool. keep moving.
~ one more pitch left. we get a little off route, but are now joining forces with another group of three. scary, but we got through and back on route.
~ finally made it to the summit 4:30 pm...but i wanted off fast: storm clouds were moving in. worst nightmare.
~ smile, take a picture, make way to repel down.
~ stuck behind rude guide on the repel. snow flakes start falling. freaking out inside, but know it will not help. so i keep my cool and keep moving.
~ finally our turn to repel. a little slippery with ice from a previous snow storm. yikes. keep moving.
~ clouds getting closer. time for second repel...into the open air. no big deal keep moving. beat the storm.
~ everyone down from repel. miracle: storm blows away towards another peak. hallelujah. take a deep breath.
~ still have lots to descend to get back to camp.
~ a couple hours later we're back at camp...the sun is about to set. pack up everything, get down asap.
~ start hiking down the entire mountain, dark comes too soon.
~ headlamps are on as we descend steep loose rock and boulder fields
~ still haven't had lunch, but i just want to get to the meadow first...keep moving
~ knees and legs are killing me. where is the meadow? it's not coming soon enough.
~ after a couple hours in the dark we finally make it to the meadow.
~ take packs off, eat lunch at 10:00 pm
~ i'm hypoglycemic, but don't know it. shaking. can't get my hand to reach for a roll. i lose it. the tears come. ceej helps me make a cheese sandwich. i eat, but have a hard time swallowing. dehydrated too.
~ ceej slices an apple for me. best. thing. ever. i've never tasted something so sweet. getting a little giddy. love. this. apple. blood sugar starts to rise. shaking slowly stops.
~ motivated to keep going to get down to car so we can find a hotel to sleep in. keep moving.
~ more hiking in the dark. they don't make headlamps comfortable enough to wear for more than an hour. note to designers.
~ make it all the way back down to the car at 1:30 am. wahoooooooooo! never been so relieved in all my life.
~ find a hotel. they have one room left. we'll take it.
~ the boys go straight to bed. i shower first. then finally slip into the sheets. heaven.
what a trip. i've never been so exhausted in all my life. lesson learned: wake up EARLY to avoid waiting for so many different groups. the waiting is what killed our time for sure. hours of waiting led to hiking down in the dark. ugh. next time we'll start sooner. long before the sun comes up so we can be off the mountain before the sun sets.