At 7am, William, Mike, and I reach a 20m ice-wall on a 60-degree slope, and I stare at it, horrified. William starts climbing, digging his cramponed toes into the snow, and using the sharpest end of his ice axe to grip the wall. Roped to him, I have no choice but to follow.
I grip the sharp end of my axe into the snow as hard as I can, test it with my body weight, and kick each toe into the indents left by William’s boots. I’m shaking with exhaustion, and breathing heavily, yet I make it to the top. I collapse at William’s feet, panting. And then, when Mike arrives, I lose the plot.