March 24th, 1925
When we first embarked on this journey we didn’t realize it would be so treacherous. Already we’ve lost three men. Only I and my son, Adam, survive to push through to the summit. It’s our duty to reach an earth no man has yet to step forth upon. Many have attempted this journey, and all have failed. We’ve made it further than any man before us, but that comforts us little.
Yesterday we finally reached a height where the heavy snow fall had dissipated. It was this break in the weather which brought upon our group’s downfall. For with the false sense of safety we felt towards the lack of wind and precipitation, we cast caution aside to hasten our pace in an unwise bid to get ahead of the next round of squalls. It was with this increase of speed that we lost the other three. They were good men, and the world is worse off without them in it.
Adam and I were pushing ahead of the group—searching for a suitable place to build camp for the night—when we heard a terrible commotion behind us. There was a great rumble—like a giant had grabbed the mountain and shook it with a tremendous fury—followed by the blood-chilling screams of our fellow journeymen. Adam and I turned just in time to see the side of the mountain giving way to a sudden avalanche. No doubt brought on by our hurried steps through the loose snow on top of the compacted ice below. If only we had taken our time, those three men would still be with us.
March 25th, 1925
After setting up camp—no easy feat given the altitude—I had a long discussion with Adam about giving up and working our way back down the mountain. After all, human life is much more precious than the planting of a flag. But, be it his youth or his pride, Adam maintained a stoic sense of duty to reach the top. In his words, we didn’t just owe it to ourselves, we owed it to those three men now buried for eternity in their icy graves. We had to reach the summit—had to stand on top of the world so even God himself should know our greatness.
Adam’s passion and unwavering certainty of our future success lighted the fire within myself. For now I no longer fear the possibility of death, but instead relish the thought of gazing upon the world from a vantage point never before seen by man. If only we can make it before the next storm rolls in.
Today we head out for the final leg to the summit. The sky holds an ominous darkness and the wind has picked up significantly. I fear if the danger becomes too great we won’t have any choice but to retreat. Though, I don’t imagine Adam will have any of that. Even in sub-zero conditions his blood is far too hot—his pride too great—to give up when we’ve come so close to glory.
As for me, I’m afraid the frost has finally bitten me in the most serious way. I dare not tell Adam, but I don’t think I’ll be able to share in his triumph at the summit. If death does choose to take me today, I only pray the last image I see is one no other man has.
March 26th, 1925
The summit is more beautiful than anything I’ve ever witnessed. My only wish is that we could share the things we’ve seen with the world. If anyone is to come across this journal, I apologize for the state of my handwriting. My hands and feet have lost all feeling now, and it is with great effort I write this.
Coming to the summit, Adam took a near fatal spill on a patch of loose rocks. He broke both of his legs in the most grotesque manner, and it took every ounce of strength for me to drag him the rest of the way to the top. I’m so tired now.
I’m afraid I can no longer write. The world is growing dark around me; even though we can practically kiss the sun above us. I feel a warmth permeating through my body, and I no longer feel the burn of cold. This won’t be such a bad way to go. For even though no one may ever learn of our greatness, we will forever be the first men to stand on top of the world.
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