1. Never getting exhausted on the way up (except summit day) due to the constant pole pole slow motion pace, but getting exhausted on the way down when guides seem to turn their pole pole into haraka or run as fast as you can.
  2. Porters carrying more than 20kg walking twice as fast as you, and rescue porters carrying stretchers weighing 50kg still walking faster than you.
  3. Dust and dirty fingernails – all the time and always again within seconds of cleaning.
  4. Wearing your gaiters all the time even in sunshine – welcome to the land of sand and dust.
  5. Having cold feet despite sleeping with two pairs of thick socks, but getting warm feet when sleeping without socks.

    Shira 2 camp tourist suggestion box - photo by Lynn Jackson

    Shira 2 camp tourist suggestion box – photo by Lynn Jackson

  6. Getting sick – cold, nausea, headache, upset stomach – that’s normal, even for the most fit and sturdy.
  7. Suffering from altitude sickness despite taking Diamox, or not suffering from it despite not taking Diamox.
  8. Change of character (or revelation of true character?) – more extrovert due to excitement or completely introvert due to mental and physical challenge.
  9. Losing temper or becoming unfriendly during the summit hike despite best intentions – due to physical exhaustion.
  10. Losing your shame – peeing next to others, not caring whether anyone hears you fart in the toilet tent or your own tent.
  11. Asking your guides about the distance to the next camp or milestone, and finding out later that it was a huge over- or understatement.
  12. Finding a ghost on your night photo shot, hovering and watching over your camp while everyone is sleeping … or your fantasy going wild.
  13. Either hating or loving your trip while people sharing exactly the same trip make the extreme opposite experience – there’s no in between.
  14. Forming new lasting friendships amongst your hiking group and/or realizing that people with whom you have booked your hike are not friends after all.
  15. Falling in love – with the mountain; with the simple lifestyle focused on eating, sleeping, keeping warm and having a great time with the people around you, without caring a dime about how you look or what’s happening in the world; with your guides’ singing; or perhaps even in the most literal sense.