Daddy’s alarm watch sounded again at 2:45 am, but the sound of wind had already waken us up. The wind really picked up last night, daddy thought it was a good sign since this meant it probably won’t rain anymore. We got up and started getting ready for the summit attempt. The rain was still coming in drizzles on and off, but at 4:30 am we heard uncle Aliang calling us from the trail. We were finally going to try for the summit!
In the excitement of our upcoming summit attempt and in the chaos of the darkness, everyone crossed the little river that held my advancement yesterday except… me. There was just no way I would put my paws in the freezing water, no way! But now everyone was heading up the trail… except me. I paced up and down the river looking for a possible place to cross, but I couldn’t find one so I let out a heart broken howl. One of the headlamps across the river stopped, turned around to look, then started coming back for me. It was daddy! Daddy lifted me and carried me across the river, once he put me down, I bolted toward the front of our group. What can I say, I just had to be in front of everyone!
Soon enough, daddy caught up with me in front of our group, all the while muttering under his breath something like “ungrateful dog… who got you across the river?” I didn’t know what he was talking about. We got to a section of the trail called the Big Stone Slab, basically… a big stone slab, and daddy and I really took off. We left everyone else, including our guide, way behind us. This was why I love daddy, he was carrying more than everyone else, including a 60-meter climbing rope, but he still managed to keep up with me.
Above the Big Stone Slab, the trail turned to scree, daddy and I still kept at a pretty good pace. Sometimes when the trail wasn’t very clear, we would stop to wait for the people behind us. Sis Marley, uncle Aliang and one of our guides weren’t far behind us. Aunt Shirley and our other guide were moving quite slow, we didn’t see them again until we returned to basecamp.
Two hours after we departed from the basecamp, we arrived at the snowline. We took a short break here, ate some food, drank some water, the humans put spiked metal things called crampons on their feet, daddy and uncle Aliang even put on helmets and climbing harnesses. This thing daddy called snow was very interesting, it was soft, cold, and very refreshing to walk on. It felt like I’ve always known this stuff all my life, but it was my first time seeing it. The snow slope was a little steep, but I didn’t have any trouble walking on it. My claws seemed to work just as well as those “crampons” daddy put on his feet. Daddy also slowed down quite a bit, he didn’t seem as comfortable on snow as he was on rock. Hmmm… I guess that was because he’s a rock climbing guide, not a snow climbing guide. So I started following our local guide, there were some large cracks (daddy called them crevasses) in the snow, but our guide was able to take us around them. At one point on the climb daddy was concerned about the number of crevasses around, and he put me on a length of 7-mm climbing rope connected to his harness. I actually pulled him a bit up the mountain with the rope too, since he was breathing pretty hard. But once there weren’t any crevasses around, he took me off the rope again.
Five hours after we left the basecamp, we arrived at a flat area with a pole stuck in a pile of rock, and the guide said we were at the top! That was pretty easy, I wasn’t even breathing hard. But it was pretty windy and foggy at the summit though, we couldn’t see much around, daddy said it was called a whiteout. So we took some photos by the big pole, then returned the way we came.
Going downhill was a lot faster than going up, I turned on my 4LD (4-leg drive) and ran down the mountain. Daddy, being only a 2LD model, was lagging behind. He was running, almost rolling, down the slope trying to catch up with me. It only took us three hours to get down what took us five hours to get up. Aunt Shirley met us at basecamp, apparently her clothes got wet in the rain very early in the climb, and she was too cold to continue to the summit. So she returned to basecamp and waited for us there. Our guides said we were faster than the average climber by at least 2 hours, cool! When everyone got back to basecamp, we packed up our gear and headed down the mountain to Haba Village.
After the big climb to the top of the mountain, the trail down to Haba Village seemed really easy. In my usual fashion, I ran ahead of everyone else, daddy was close behind me. Weather cleared up today, so we had much better views than when we climbed up this way. We took it easy and enjoyed the views as much as we could. By 6 pm we were back in the Haba Snow Mountain Hostel, I was so tired, I just crashed next to sis Marley without eating any dinner.
Thinking back to this trip, it was such a wonderful experience! I saw so much new and different things, it will be a long time before I get tired of replaying this expedition in my head. I hope daddy can take me on more trips like this in the future.