I sat on the stone and felt as if someone had stopped the carousel. The world still seemed to swirl, causing weakness and nausea. I didn't have strength to walk.
We were located roughly 5,300m above sea level. Not so far from the summit. Without a doubt shorter than the way down. Mikołaj, looking at my condition, insisted that we begin descent as soon as possible. He was worried about me, which is perfectly understandable, but in my opinion the only way down led the through the top.
I had to turn back in the mountains more than once. These were always difficult decisions, but motivated by specific reasons, humbleness and safety. That day, however, the weather was perfect, and I knew that these were not the beginnings of altitude sickness, but the end of bacterial poisoning. The day before I was diagnosed by volunteers from the Red Cross, who also checked the amount of oxygen in my blood and from the tested group I had the most, as much as 92%. Apparently the body was not ready yet, but I didn't feel that there was any threat to life. Therefore, it was hard for me to imagine that I would give up the first five-thousand only because I was sick. In the worst case, I would just vomit and move on.
I stood up leaning on trekking poles and told Mikołaj that we may go. So he headed towards the descent, but a moment later I replied - up!
I fully tried to concentrate on every step to forget about how I feel. I repeated certain mantras and like a stubborn donkey, told myself that I would not give up, and made the next stop at the top.
That was my road to the first five-thousand-meter peak, and I think that often this is how you reach mountain peaks - despite your weaknesses, outside the comfort zone. People who stand on the top have in their breasts a heart-pounding pace, tired bodies and a great desire mixed with enormous self-denial. And although on the pictures they usually show a smile, it should be remembered that behind it lies a great deal of sacrifice and hard work.
Photo taken by @mikolajsondej