The Toughest Climb

Berta Tilmantaitė

“One step forward. One more step forward” - I say to myself, trying to make at least a little way forward. The silence around me is deafening - all I hear is my own wheezing breath and muffled footsteps falling heavily on the tiny stairs carved into the cliff. My heart is beating like a bird gone mad. After three more steps, I stop for a quick rest. As my head spins and temples throb, I desperately try to catch my breath and inhale as much air as possible. However, my body doesn’t listen - my strength evaporates like smoke. “One more step” - I whisper, and sit down again after making one more difficult step.

One and a half weeks ago, when I knew I was going to the Himalayas, I understood it was going to be tough. But this brought new meaning to the word “tough.” My two companions, Paulius and Andrius, were so eager to travel to the main camp at Mount Everest that they convinced me as well, although I was never too fascinated by climbing mountains and summits in the first place. I always preferred oceans.

But here I am sitting all alone a few dozen meters from Renjo La passage (5400m.) I understand I have no other choice than to keep climbing up.

We started the hike in Jiri village, that we reached journey in a small bus which looked like a folded soda can. Then passed Lukla, Namche Bazar and turned towards Gokyo lakes. After that, visited Everest Base Camp, climbed Kala Patthar (5550m.) and went back down to Lukla.

In two and a half weeks we experienced all four seasons. We met tons of locals, true highlanders who spend their entire lives in little mountain houses. They patiently posed and tried to look as best they could at the sight of a camera. We came back feeling reborn, stronger, different.

Published: March 2, 2015

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