The climb was demanding, not so much physically but because of the lack of oxygen. We were genuinely gasping for breath, so we walked slowly and made frequent stops. Other members of our group either took a horse or set out at a faster pace, so we ended up being the last of our group. Our guide Andy stayed close to us and encouraged us to keep going. He also carried healing water, which we massaged into our palms and then inhaled. This was supposed to help us overcome the dizziness due to oxygen deficiency. On the way, we passed Indians with horses who, after looking at our expressions, offered us rides. It was hard to resist, but we wanted to conquer the mountain with our own strength, which, in the end, we did.