When people ask me, I will tell them we climbed all the way to the summit. This will be followed quickly by, “Well, actually, we only made it to the warming hut a bit below.” (My conscience often beats out my desire to tell a good story.)
I will tell them that a sunrise climb in December is the best idea ever.
I will tell them that everyone should do it at least once.
(our hiding spot from the groomers)
If they dig a little deeper though, I might tell them that there were times I thought I wouldn’t make it any further. That when I walked through a snow-covered stretch of running water, filling my boots, I wasn’t sure if I would even start the climb. That when I fell through the snow along the tree line WAY ABOVE MY KNEE, I pulled a muscle that hurt with every step.
But what I’ll also tell them, is that when I fell behind the group (which was every single time), they stopped and waited. When I apologized left and right for being slow, for being out of breath, they told me not to worry, that it wasn’t a race, that we’d all make it to the top together.
And I’ll tell them that when I sat down 3/4 of the way up to take my boots off, change my icy socks, and tuck warmers in the arches of my feet, two of them held lights up for me to see, while another held my backpack.
That we toasted our climb with champagne and peach rings and wrote our initials on the wall of the hut.
That I gazed down over the valley and surrounding mountains and thought, God made this. It was in his mind, and he made it.
I’ll tell them I was overwhelmed and proud and grateful. That I looked at the three of them, my climbing companions, and praised God for the mountains.