Mustered Out on Mertactor


Another Day on Mount Salbarii

In order to make as much progress as possible, the party members are up at first light. They take a light breakfast from the provisions that they have with them before packing up the simple camp and continuing with the climb.

The next section is very steep due to a volcanic outcrop which stretches up vertically. To circle around it would add hours to the journey. Taeva looks at it and realizes that, with her equipment, it should not present any particular difficulties and so tells the others that she will head up there first and lower a rope down to the others. Sure enough, she manages the climb with ease and then hoists up the others one by one until the entire party is above the outcrop.

Above the outcrop, the going gets easier – a lot easier – and the party members are making rapid progress. Too rapid for the likes of Will:

“We better slow it down a bit or else we’re going to start suffering from altitude sickness,” he says.

The party members slow their pace. In Grim’s case, however, it’s still not slow enough. He is panting a lot and starting to feel tired, although does his best to hide it from the others.

By noon, the party members have ascended to 1100m. The going is starting to get tough again as the slope becomes steeper and rockier, with little vegetation. Will can tell that the mountain must have been a pretty active volcano in the past, with fields of hardened lava and obvious paths where it has flowed.

They continue upwards throughout the afternoon. Grim is really starting to feel the effects on the altitude sickness now – his head is pounding and he has to stop every few minutes to vomit. Such is the height that they are at now that several of the others are starting to feel some of the symptoms as well, although not to the same extent as Grim. At several times during the climb, Grim seems to be at the point of walking off the side of the cliff. When the others point out his potential danger, however, he just snaps at them, feeling increasingly irritated.

As they continue through until the late afternoon, they are starting to get close to the lip of the crater, but the climbing is tougher still, made worse by the fact that nearly everyone is suffering from the altitude sickness to some extent. Many of the party members slip down the side of the hill for several metres as they stumble around, but fortunately none of them suffers anything worse than bruises. Eventually, with the light starting to fade, they reach the lip of the crater and can look down to see it before them. They decide not to risk a descent in the failing light and so stop to camp on a patch of relatively flat ground, intending to make the descent at first light the following day. After a simple dinner, they try and get some rest. With everyone’s heads pounding, however, their sleep is fitful and difficult.



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