Summiting was more relief than jubilation. Summiting is the goal, but getting down safely is all that really matters. We were on the summit after 10 hours of climbing. We had planned 9 hours to summit AND descend, so we were behind schedule. But we would not increase our risks by hurrying. We would descend at a safe pace and arrive at base camp safely.
We carefully descended the summit ridge with ropes, uncomfortably aware that a fall on either side would be an unpleasant (but not life-threatening) recovery. Those small dots on the bottom-left of the picture are climbers. It’s a long way down through the ice. It’s even further down to the valley where our sleeping bags at base camp are waiting for us.
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