As I took my final steps to the summit, my exasperated breath became deep and eager. I had reached the summit successfully. I fell to my knees, looked up at the sky and took it all in. I had neither energy nor space to run around and scream like an excited child, so instead, I took the time for the realization to hit me. The lyrics from the song “Beautiful Day” by U2 filled my head and I was overjoyed.
From this remarkable height, I felt as if I could see the whole world. I recognized Makalu, Chomo Lonzo, Lhotse, Nuptse and Cho Oyu in the distance. Lhotse, at 8516 meters, seemed so close that I wanted to reach out and touch it. The horizon was clear and the sky went on for miles. This was truly how it felt to be on top of the world.
Although I was truly ecstatic to have reached the summit, I knew the job was only halfway completed. We all know and live by the quote, "What comes up must come down." In this situation, I knew that even though reaching the summit felt like I accomplished the mission, I still had to make it back down. Often times, the trek back down is much harder and more dangerous. I made sure that I stayed focused and kept my eyes on the prize.
After a solid twenty minutes of pure excitement and picture taking, we decided to begin the trip back down to Base Camp. It was hard for me to fully enjoy the summit knowing that I had to get down from the highest peak in the world. The thought was very intimidating. I took a final glance around me, drew in a deep breath, closed my eyes and thought to myself, "You can do it."