By: Blonde One

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Throughout my trip I kept an old-fashioned blog … a hand-written journal. The next two blogs are an edited version of that journal …

Most of us started the day a little subdued – can’t think why!

A few of us had pins and needles – a side effect of the Diamox – but generally we were all ok. Not much breakfast was eaten but we gave it our best shot –mostly! Eventually we set off in the part dark at just before 5am. I don’t know how I felt really … terrified, excited, anxious, and a million other emotions. Will I manage the physical element? Will I get altitude sickness? Will I make it to the top? Will I cry if I get there – most definitely yes! We set off at a good pace – everyone was doing well. At about 6.30 the decision was taken for one of the leaders and one of the guides to take back a young lady who had been struggling all week and had found summit day increasingly hard. She clearly was not going to make it to the top and all agreed that it was the right decision. The team were a little quiet after her exit but spirits soon picked up again at the telling of the team joke. The challenge all week was to tell the same joke over and over again and see if someone would still laugh. What’s grey and doesn’t matter?  An irrelephant!!!!

The landscape on the way up was stunning: rough, dark, rugged, but still stunning. There was a few issues with the team, as you would expect. I recognised in another, a stubborn streak a mile long, as she had to give in a little and let someone else carry her rucksack until she had her breathing under control. I sympathised with how she felt!

The terrain was very tough going. We had sandy/gravelly/slippery. We had rocky/sharp. We had huge boulders to clamber up (great to wee behind!). All of it was steep and really hard!

One young lady who had a nasty foot injury to cope with was inspirational and spent the whole trek looking after others and did not once mention the pain she was in due to her injury. Most of the team had done at least one thing to help or support someone else. The two team leaders for the day were excellent and kept a watch on everyone, in some cases (mine) discreetly! We were given regular updates from Hassan, our guide, about our height and time to the top. From about half way up (3700m) I started to find breathing a bit difficult. I did as I was told and took deep breaths. At about 4000m I finally admitted that I had to stop. I was terrified! Was this the end of my ascent up Mount Toubkal?

To be continued …