We got up at 4:30 am on 12th September. All of the water in our tent was totally frozen, even that we had tried to protect with covers and in flasks. We spent an hour melting water and I managed to eat two cookies for breakfast before feeling too sick for more. We departed at around 6am from 4900 metres, for the top at 6100 metres.
The ascent was torturous. I didn’t feel good and by the time we had got to 5500 metres I was exhausted. I was slowing down the higher we got, while Pedro was feeling much stronger than I was. There were many false summits, and my spirits were falling as we kept turning corners and seeing the mountain towering above us once more.
I told Pedro several times that I wasn’t sure I could keep going to the summit, but he was cheerful and encouraging and I kept going. 8 hours after we left, we made it to the top. I was at the end of my strength, and with the wind the temperature was -40 degrees. Our suncream was totally frozen solid, and at the top my lips were cracked and bleeding.
It took me many hours to get down again, and the total journey was nearly 12 hours. I got changed at the car and we bundled in and drove back down the valley. It was late, so we drove to a local town and got a hotel. I spent a lovely 30 minutes in the shower warming up again.