Fear and fun
We had come too far! Unbelievable. Consulting the GPS confirmed it. Wasted time and wasted energy. I was frustrated at the situation and at us not having consulted the GPS earlier but there was little time to waste being frustrated.
The cloud was beginning to rise and could be seen flowing out of the valley and over one of the ridges below. The sun was on its way up and was shining its first warmth of light on the peaks. Time was ticking away.
We turned around and followed the hard fought tracks back to find the ramp. Eventually we arrived and as I looked up I realised it was the same place that I had pointed out to Bruce on the walk up! Why hadn't I asked to look at the GPS when we were here the first time. My mind was ticking over on useless thoughts.
Time to refocus. We were finally here and I had been looking forward to this climb for a long time. It is meant to be the riskiest part of the North West Ridge and had been the site of numerous fatalities. I hoped though that preparations and decisions we had made so far would reduce the risk to an acceptable level, but nevertheless, that thought is always present.
To some extent it is that challenge of overcoming the fear and pushing on in spite of that fear that intrigues me. The psychological games that play over in your head that have the ability to change the outlook from one of fear to that of excitement and focus. This had been something I had worked on since my earlier climbing years.
I used to be fearful of performing badly in climbing competitions and felt a weight of expectation on me. As a result I found my hands sweating up and I would loose grip and fall. I eventually managed to turn that fear to excitement and my outlook totally changed from one of fear to enjoyment.
Despite all this, what happened next I had not seen coming...
(Ion and Conor can be seen on side of the ridge to the right of the shot heading back to the ramp)