Climbing through the night with few points of reference is a mind game. I focus by keeping my headlamp on the heels of the person in front of me. I think about breathing. Slowly. Breath hangs about each face, illuminated.
A companion rises over Mawenzi. He is not quite full, someone has taken a big bite out of this moon-pie.
Another companion loses touch with the group. A guides falls back to assist him. Their two lights grow smaller and smaller and then disappear. Time passes. The moon clears the horizon and floats overhead. We hear on the radio that the two of them are headed back down.
Previous experience on the mountain has taught me not to be anxious. Raymond is in front of us, minding the trail. Stella Point is above us, invisible on the rim. We’ll know we’re close when the sky warms with color and the ice becomes visible. In the meantime just keep moving. Poley, poley.
One of my water bottles is frozen. I sip from the second.
The sky warms. The ice glows.
I play in Africa but work in Israel-Palestine.
If you are a pastor, church leader, or educator who is interested in leading a trip to the lands of the Bible, let me hear from you. I partner with faith-based groups to craft and deliver outdoor academic experiences. Leaders receive the same perks that other agencies offer, at competitive prices, and without the self-serving interests that often derail pilgrim priorities.