It’s pitch dark and I just know something is wrong. A creeping panic is taking over me but I’m too tired to understand why. For a few seconds that feels like an eternity, everything is silent. With raw power that I cant control, my lungs are screaming for oxygen and eagerly suck in the cold mountain air. I roll over in my sleeping bag and kneel up to focus on my breath. I’m nauseous, my head is aching, it’s hard to breathe and I’m surrounded by darkness in the middle of the night. Maybe I should not be here, but I am. Cope with it Andreas. This night was supposed to be the summit night, but this time you have taken it a little bit to far. If you just had taken it easy today you would have been in prime shape for the summit push. But no, you went half way up the mountain and then down to the base to get that heavy bag, just for training, just to get as much in as possible. Acclimatisation works hell of a lot better when not wasted, and you knew this, didn’t you? Well, showing serious signs of AMS, the only sober thing to do is to go down first thing in the morning. We will lose this weather window, but that’s just how it is. On the other hand, after a few days rest in town, the strength will be back and even stronger than before.
Lesson learned - time at first glance wasted, at second thought well invested. That’s why I’m here, for my own inner reasons of course, but also to learn from the mountains first hand. Its just always there; the fight with the ego, the fight for success in the short-term perspective. It’s curious how the ego doesn’t seem to understand that it’s not about one battle, but about winning the war in the end - if you like to use the warrior term analogies.
The debates and the chattering in the head continue in the dark. The pain keeps on vibrating in the silence. But there is also this inner smile observing it all, taking away most of the apparent importance. Left are only the thin air, the cold and the moist steaming from my frightened breathing.