The blindingly gushing wind had made it impossible for Dorje to make any sense of reality as he stood taking deep breaths at the slope of Everest. As he looked down the same track that he had taken to come that far, searching for his lost friends, all he could see was the devilish stare of the cold.

Dorje loved climbing. The exhilaration he felt when his face was splashed by the icy cold wind, the thrill of being able to enjoy the amazing view from the top of the summit and the sheer sense of dominance and triumph after reaching atop, had motivated him to climb the summit “in his backyard”.

But triumph and dominance was not what he had in his mind when he tucked his head under the cover of his thick shielding jacket; his hands, blue and dreary, his whole body shivering with insurmountable cold. He knew he was in big trouble. For the past two days, he had been in search of his friends. Struck by an avalanche, the sheer force of nature had blown him and his five-member expedition team away. Dorje had survived but was left with the brutality of loneliness, panic, and despair. And he knew that trying to go down, without any assistance of his friends, without any mountaineering gear, without the assertion of visibility, meant death. This was why he knew that he had no other option but to search for his friends. After all, he could not give up on them.

Surviving Everest isn’t something that just about anyone can do. Every year, many people lose their lives while trying to conquer its treacherous steeps or cross over its precarious crevices.

But his heart had been constantly pounding with fear for the past two days. He had been surviving only with a small can of food and a bottle of drinking water, which he had kept in case of an emergency. By crouching his head and body inside the warmth of the furry jacket, he had avoided the wind, the snow, and the loneliness. Searching for his friends for two whole days had taken its toll on him. Walking over the thick blanket of snow had already made him weak. His legs were dead and so were his hands. Even an inch of movement gushed in an incredible torrent of unrelenting pain. And even before he realized, he had slept his second day half buried, hopeless at the slope of Everest. His life was fading away.
Dorje had a life full of dreams and hopes. He dreamt of a good education, a good family and loving children. He had hopes of running a medical post and a school in his hometown and of developing his rural village. But his biggest dream was probably what many of us would think is too tough to be attainable- he wanted to climb the highest mountain on earth. And he had the zeal for it too. Born to the renowned Sherpa clan, Dorje had been brought up into a family that considered climbing Everest as the ultimate test, a true testament to their heritage. He had gathered five of his friends; all of whom shared a common desire of reaching the top of the summit .

But there he was, left alone, with nothing but his hope to console him. Half buried in the snow and his food and water finished, he knew time was slipping away. He gasped for every last breath of air hoping for a miracle, a shine of bright light among the dark shadows of gloom. In the horizon the sun had begun to set, sinking another day of desperation, despair, and hope.
As he watched over the spectacular sunset, he took a moment to soak up the beauty of his surroundings. As he took his last breaths, he was happy to know that his dream had been fulfilled after all.