The Climb: A Story by Zeyd Ladha

In the wee hours, he prepared his backpack and made his way out of the tent. Moonlight still flooded the mountain as he looked up towards the peak.
“Boy! That’s a long way up!” he thought. “Let’s do this!”
He started his solo ascend. As he toiled away in thick snow, the sun slowly came out. He halted for some time to admire the beauty of nature. The vast snow-covered mountain range, the lush pine trees, the rising sun and the white moon on its way out for the day. After a brief halt, he began to climb again.
The thick snow drained his energy, as he tried to plough his way through it. He kept himself hydrated and energised with energy bars and drinks. A quarter of the way up, he saw something unusual at the top.
‘You don’t normally expect bad weather at this time of the year,’ he thought. ‘But then this is what makes climbing so interesting. Let’s just continue, the weather changes quickly here. It might improve by the time I get to the top.’ He continued to climb.
The sun kept playing hide and seek with him. Hiding behind the dark clouds, before making a short appearance and then hiding again. Without sunshine, the temperature plummeted. The wind had picked up too. The biting cold and chilly winds were getting the better of him. He was half way up and the path ahead was steeper than what he had already climbed. It seemed the forces of nature were working against him. He decided to take a break. He looked towards the peak and said loudly, “you think you can defeat me? You don’t know how stubborn I am!”
As he waited, the weather deteriorated further. The sun had passed its zenith, though it wasn’t visible. He picked up his bottle to have a sip when he realized, he had run out of water. He lit a small stove to melt some ice so he would have water to drink. That’s when he realized a strange feeling in his fingers. He could barely move them. He pulled out one glove and to his horror, the tips of his fingers had turned blue. Frostbite can be lethal in such conditions. He put on his gloves again and sat down. He had to make a decision soon.
He looked up at the peak and the weather showed no signs of improvement. Sanity prevailed and he decided to turn back. He got up and picked up his backpack. He took a few steps down and stopped beside a protruding rock. He turned back to face the peak again.
“You may have defeated me this time,” he said to the mountain. “But I will return. I know this much preparation isn’t enough. I will work as hard as I can and be back next year. I will conquer you. Stay put my friend, for surely, we’ll meet again,” he said while firmly patting the rock.