The stillness was almost eerie. I’d never been on a mountain summit when there was anything less than a stiff wind blowing. Since I didn’t have to try and find any sort of wind break, there was extra time to sit and take it all in. A pure luxury. There was plenty of time, no approaching storm, and all kinds of sunlight. And to top it all of, we all had full water bottles and snacks to spare.
The world around us was frozen and white. I guess everything up above 20,000 feet is like that. The further I looked out, the more the whiteness faded into a kind of drab olive green. Because it was so warm, I took my parka off and then leaned back against my pack and just let the sun soak in. I saw no movement down below, but I had to think that somewhere, down there, and at that very moment- someone was looking up towards where I sat and speculating about how brutal it must be up on top of the distant peak. I closed my eyes for a moment and breathed a sigh of relief that this time at least, it just wasn’t like that.