Third test - Mount Vail
My flight back to DC is in the afternoon and I still don’t know for sure what’s Jon decision regarding the Everest trip. We still have a morning climb on Mount Vail, so we are heading there in the dark and the temperature is around minus 20 Fahrenheit. For some reason I am not cold at all, and after quickly putting my crampons on - for the first time ever - we start the climb. I am trying to find my own rhythm and this time it feels like I am allowing my legs to move one in front of the other and not forcing them as it was the case before… it almost feels like a walk in the park.
The only thing that matters for conserving my energy is keeping my mind empty - a bit like in free diving, where one random thought can spoil everything. It works well tricking myself a bit and imagining that this morning the mountain is upside down and I am just walking downhill. We are advancing quickly and as always, the view are rewarding. The first timid rays of light are starting to spread the darkness. It seems like a very solemn moment and the colors are astounding: an explosion of pink and read on a background of Colorado blue.
When we get to the gondola, Jon announces me somehow in a solemn way that we are definitely doing the Everest. Even though I don’t have the experience other people do, I have enough determination and mental strengths to compensate, he explains. I feel happy and relieved, even though I know the most difficult part of the Everest journey is still ahead of me.