(Location: Plaza Indepedencia, 21476′)
As the alarm went off at 2:30 a.m.. on the summit day, I thought “Just one more day.” As I gained altitude, each step became harder and harder, but I already knew what to expect and how to adjust. Whatever I would attempt to do the day after, would certainly be easier. So I kept climbing… until there was no more mountain left to climb.
As I was leaving Camp 3 Colera, I checked my gear, put on my double boots, parka, and mittens and began the ascend, still in the dark, with the headlamp and moonlight lighting the way. It was supposed to be an 18-hour long day of climbing.
After hours, we reached a cave where we found our final rest before the final summit push. I was so close I could almost feel what it would be like to reach the top of the highest mountain in both South and North America.
The day that I placed the Refugees International flag on top of the mountain was one of the proudest moments of my life so far. I had achieved the hardest physical challenge I had ever attempted. As I proudly stood at the top, I looked down — and I remembered that reaching the top was only half of the journey.