This is an excerpt taken from Edelweiss Gray who kept a lovely journal of our trip.
23 December 2016, Time to Ras Dashen
An early wake by Mohamed, get dressed, pack items, down some oats and scrambled eggs, pack a small peanut butter and honey sandwich and off we set. Its still dark, 4:30am, and we proceed with headlamps out the campsite and up, up, up a road. Can’t see anything except a sky full of stars and the head lamp of those ahead of me. Eventually we get to a place where we must veer off the road onto a path. It’s first light and the face of the mountain can be seen. We veer off onto the path and its more up hill.
It’s freezing cold with an icy wind blowing onto us, head on! It’s so cold that puddles of water are frozen and the dew accumulated on the mountains is iced over. I haven’t dressed for this kind of cold! No leggings, no wind breaker.
And up, up, up we go. Two of the cooks helpers catch us and quickly move past – food slung over shoulders and they wearing plastic shoes and hardly warmly dressed. And up, up, up we go. We have a break but too cold to rest for a long time. Quick enough to eat that peanut butter sandwich. And up, up, up we go – freezing cold and wind blowing head on.
We turn by on outcrop and see Ras Dashen ahead of us. Very tired now and still freezing. I can’t think about it. I keep a mantra “keep walking” playing in my mind or else I will just stop. Auto pilot on. Keep walking, keep walking. We are all just walking, thinking “whose mad idea was this”?
We get to a base of a rock outcrop that we need to scramble up but I need energy first. Share an oats bar with Matt and Rob. I dig deep for the energy resources and scramble up. One outcrop, two outcrops, three outcrops and I am up! There is blistering wind on the top. Freezing, freezing, freezing! We take photo’s with the Ethiopian flag but we are too cold and hungry to appreciate the view. We hustle together for lunch and a thirty minute break before we head down, down, down back to camp. Still freezing, sore legs, sore feet, sore lips. Whats all the fuss about summiting mountains anyway?