2:45 am, and the alarm goes off.
I roll over, look at German Boy, and think man am I insane.
I paid how much money, to rent how much equipment, to carry how heavy a bag to prepare for what? 10 to 12 hours of intense, intense strenuous effort, in a seriously extreme environment, freezing cold and sweating at the same time, extreme sun and heat stroke, dehydration, altitude sickness, hunger, blisters, bruises, pulled muscles, or a possible serious serious accident?
I laid there, in my group bed, with a layer of bunk beds above me, thinking, wondering, laughing at myself for all of this, for starting all of this.
Then the door banged open, the lights flipped on, and a woman announced ” Almost 3 am, everyone up”.
I felt a bit less insane then.
We got dressed and went down for breakfast, all of our gear was prepared the night before. The breakfast room had some people in, and more people trickled in while we drank our coffee bowls and blinked at each other. The more people who came in the room the less insane I felt too.
We got geared up, and were outside checking all of our stuff. There were about four teams out and getting ready, and we could see two teams already out on the mountains. The sun hadn’t risen yet, we were all wearing headlamps, and you could just see strings of lights inching up the mammoth summits. That felt pretty cool.
Then I turned and looked the other way for a second, and there was a group of people standing by the door. They weren’t geared up, they didn’t have headlamps, or even coats on. They had gotten up, at 3 am, to watch us leave. One of the guys who were sleeping in the bunks above us mentioned that they liked to do that, but I didn’t really think about it, didn’t really process it.
But standing there, now at 4 am, looking at a group of people who had gotten out of bed before dawn just to see us all leave. Well. I didn’t feel insane then, no, I didn’t feel insane at all.