Outside the wind rages, ripping up the face of the mountain, whistling between every crevasse, screeching at the earth and grabbing at the snow. Inside the tent the air is freezing, so cold it stings at the skin exposed on my face. My sleeping bag is warm around my body, but my feet are numb. I bang them together, using what little energy I have left in an attempt to save them. I open my eyes just a slit, enough to see that the light on the tent wall is now a dim wintry white. Night has lifted again. The morning has dawned, and somewhere in the world people are being bathed in early golden sunlight, sitting at kitchen benches and on deck chairs, eating cereal and watching television. The birds will be singing.
And I am here, on this mountain in the Himalayas, thousands of kilometres from my loved ones, or even anyone who speaks my tongue, surrounded by this storm that seems as though it will not rest until it kills me. I ate my last morsel of food last night, I only have 30 mils of water left. I haven’t felt my feet for 48 hours, and I am too scared to look to see what is left of them. This mountain is going to kill me unless they find me today. I squeeze my eyes together and hope for a miracle, with everything I have.