The wind was howling and we were enveloped by a thick dense darkness. The faint glow given off by my head torch could not penetrate the intensity of the black velvety night. With each ginger step, I felt as though I was about to step into the abyss.
It was 3 a.m. and we were navigating along a narrow ridge, acutely aware that a missed footing could lead to some very unpleasant consequences.
The incline got steeper and the pace grew more purposeful. We had a deadline of 6 a.m. to make.
Having started at the front of the pack, I was now gradually lagging behind. Why had I not trained harder? No time for such reproach now. Onward and upwards was the only way forward.
Was the sky lightening? Was there a hint of birdsong heralding the impending dawn?
Fatigued as I was, my stride quickened and adrenaline flooded my body. The sun will not beat me. I did not pay a hefty sum and fly halfway around the world to miss a sojourn with the gods.
I was too tired to rub my eyes but I was pretty sure that exhaustion had not dimmed my vision. The heavy curtain of ebony satin was most definitely being edged out by hues of blue and an ever so slight peep of orange. I could hear whoops of glee ahead of me. I couldn’t be too far from the top. One last turn, one final rock and the elusive peak will be conquered. I stretched out my arms and lifted my legs for one quantum leap.
I was no longer nose to nose with another dark rock face. Like the lifting of a smog, the expanse of the universe suddenly opened before me.
The skies were alight with a breath-taking array of colours as blue gave way to amber. The horizon was endless and wondrous to behold. I stood transfixed and enraptured, a small speck in the vastness of such splendour. Overcome by awe and dumbstruck by Mother Nature’s raw unbridled beauty, I finally believed in a higher power.
I have arrived at the roof of South East Asia.