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HIKE TO HUAYNA POTOSI: DAY 3

Wake up has the metallic noise of the boilers to prepare breakfast for everyone. We get out our sleeping bags and start dressing up, layer after layer. We leave just the harness, helmet and boots for when our stomach will be filled and to just few minutes before starting. We only take with us a backpack with water, hot mate in thermos, sunglasses, sun lotion and chocolate cookies with walnuts to give us energy.
At 1.30 a.m. and from 5.300 my starts our adventure, we move our first slowly and heavy steps;among the total white floor, the padded outfit, the boots at our feet and the dim frontal light, it seems like we are walking on the moon. Our guide will be Javier and for the whole time we’ll be tight by a rope with him, each step and each break we will do it together.
Every 30 or 40 minutes we stop to breath and have a light snack. At 5.500 Davide’s head starts thinking about exhaustion, cold, the destination still far. Luckily Javier helps us saying we must think about the beach. Seems like working for us, even though it still is the coldest beach we have ever thought about.
Another break, a chocolate bomb to be recharged while we remember to move our hand and feet fingers since they are forming, despite the double socks. We start walking again and this time is Selene’s turn to give up a bit. Lack of oxygen at 5.800 cut the breath and moves are slowed down a lot. Not caring about the cold Selene lies on the snow to calm down and breath. It works! We restart.
At 5.950 starts the last climb, a zigzag to get to the summit. It’s still dark and the queue of front lights ahead of us indicate the path. Eastward a shy sun starts rising, an amazing show, sky changes its color while northward few thunders brighten the black clouds.
It’s just a matter of few steps more, we did it, we smile, we laugh, we cry, we hug. We are here.
We were afraid of being among those 20% who can’t do it, but we aren’t.
We look at the sky while colors start changing and the sun starts going up and everything gets blue and feet finally heat up. It’s time to put our sun screen on, that is now freezes, and sunglasses.
Descent is fast but awe can enjoy better the landscape surrounding us. At 8.30 a.m. we are back at high camp, seems like 2 days have passed since we woke up but it’s just breakfast time, the second one, followed by a hot soup as lunch.
Unluckily it’s time to take our 15 kg backpacks again and go back to civilization.
Thank you Pachamama, thank you Ave Maria, and thank you people who shared this adventure with us. We survived and we got to the summit. Today we are our personal heroes!

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