Greek mountain climbers Fotis Theocharis and Dimitris Petrakis recently reached the summit of Mt. Chimborazo, Ecuador’s highest mountain, which is considered one of the most difficult to climb in the world.
Chimborazo’s peak is 6,263 meters (20,548 feet) high, and its notoriously demanding ascent, filled with dangerous black ice, makes it a challenging climb for even the most experienced mountaineers.
The mountain’s reputation did not faze Theocharis and Petrakis, however, who set out to conquer the daunting massif and reach its highest point, called the Whymper summit.
The climb was not easy. Although an experienced mountaineer, Theocharis admitted that he had moments where he thought he couldn’t keep ascending the peaks, but he pushed through:
“In actuality, I felt weak…but something inside of me told me to keep going,” he wrote in a post on social media.
Greek mountain climbers reach the top despite rain and lightning
While on their way to reach a good place to set up camp, the Greek climbing duo met with some harsh weather conditions — including rainstorms and lightning.
The weather changed so rapidly on their ascent that Theocharis believed Zeus was against them, writing in his post “I thought that the ancient Greek god Zeus probably wasn’t very happy that we were there.”
Despite the rain and thunderbolts, they made it to a safe spot and set up camp for the night to eat and have a little rest, ready to finally reach the very top of Mt. Chimbarazo just a few hours later.
Along the final stretch of their journey, both Petrakis and Theocharis were feeling exhausted from the great increase in elevation and the difficult weather conditions on the mountain.
However, the Greek mountaineers supported and motivated one another, giving each other the strength to reach the top together, along with one American climber.
The mountain climbers were motivated by the memory of a fellow mountain enthusiast, Iro Maragou.
Maragou climbed nearly all of Greece’s mountains before her tragic death from an aggressive form of cancer before she reached the age of 30.
In her honor, her family created the organization “Iro’s Path,” which takes groups out on a hiking trail dedicated to Iro in Evia, and teaches them about the country’s many natural wonders and how to preserve them for future generations.