04.30 didn't feel nearly as cold as it did yesterday when we were collected from the hotel at the start of this odyssey. Torches on and man up for the ascent. Harley set a steady 3 hour pace up and out of the canyon, while Jude and Sarah had voted with their feet and called for mules to carry them out!
Alfie, Harley and I were the first group out of the oasis camp but looking back down after 30 minutes climbing in the dark numerous little light points were moving and organising chasing packs.
Our first contact was with a mule train coming down the trail in the dark with the mule train driver whistling a jaunty tune. As the threat of dawn was coming from behind the mountains we were caught by a family of small Germans, then a steady procession of others passing and re-passing us after F1 style pit-stops for water, snacks etc.
The greatest indignity was inflicted by a local boy of no more than 11 running down the trail in the morning light. b******!
Finally we reached the top - never again, until the next time! The only solace was we had beaten the mule train up and were halfway through breakfast when they met us.