We get to the hut at 2 p.m. It is cold and windy/ Gabe is really feeling bad. The last few hundred yards take forever. Kibo is a hard place. It is too high and cold for running water, and all necessary supplies have to be carried, including water. Gabe is marginal, has a bad climb into camp and bad headaches. Luke has headaches the last half but recovers. We still are moving well, but not eating much and feel miserable.
We get to our room with twenty-eight other people trying to climb starting at midnight. The room is about 12X20, half men, half women. We are the only Americans and there is not much talking.
The summit teams start at 10 p.m. with the Chinese first out like always. We met Mr. Chow on the walk up. He made it, but most of his team froze out. Mr. Chow is a bad ass. There are teams from Japan, UK, Sweden, Poland, and Spain. We spend a restless night. Gabe and another 19 year old from Spain are the youngest in camp. Our time to leave is midnight. We get in our bags at 7 p.m.
Gabe has been having bad nosebleeds, and tonight was the mother of all nosebleeds. We bunked on the opposite side of the room because of his snoring, but he comes in the middle of the night looking like someone out of a horror movie. Both nostrils bleeding and plugs are not stopping it. We finally get our last toilet paper stuffed up his nose to stop the bleeding and he goes to bed. We also have an older Japanese guy freak out in the middle of the night.
Our roof buckles all night under the forty mile per hour winds. Every time someone goes out the door to the bathroom, the door is blown open and the sub-zero wind blows across our bunks. When the person gets back, they push a rock against the door to keep it closed. Luke gets up once after a group leaves the door open and locks the door from the inside, leaving them outside banging until someone lets them in. We watch, waiting our turn to get ready.
Gabe asked me last night why are we doing this. My smart-ass answer is why not. I am feeling guilty now. He has been sick every day but one. Are they doing this to help me fulfill some midlife crisis? I hope not. I don’t exactly know why I push. I would have done it by myself, but to have them join me made me so proud. They test our blood oxygen, and Gabe is low two days. Not eating is starting to show.
Luke on the other hand is having headaches, but his appetite is fine. The porters are calling him kiboko, as they were not expecting him to be this strong. Such a noble sounding name, kiboko is Swahili for hippo. At first, he wasn’t liking it, but you can tell they are doing it out of respect.
Our porters and guides are working hard. They make 20 dollars a day, and carry forty to fifty pounds to this point. They want us to make it. Amos tells us they take it more seriously when it is a family involved. This is the end for them and they start packing for the long walk out. This is truly the most miserable place I have ever been.