I’m back at base camp. We had a wonderful night at South Col at almost 8,000 meters (26,000 feet). That probably won’t happen again – just me and Tenzing. In a little while, a small village will form up there. This was the final acclimatization trip for us. Now we can calmly wait for a stretch of good weather to arrive. We can’t get any more used to the thin air. I’m glad that this cumbersome part of the expedition is over.Acclimatization means a lot of waiting. You ascend and wait. You go to South Col and stay overnight. But what do you do up there? You just wait todescend again. And staying overnight at almost 8,000 meters (26,000 feet) isn’t like staying at a hotel. Without oxygen it’s more of a constant waiting for the morning to arrive. Even though I never got a headache, you can’t really sleep up there. Thus being back at base camp last night was even better then before. I slept for eight hours straight…

Tenzing is a 21-year-old from Nepal. He also wants to attempt to summit Everest without oxygen, so we decided to join forces. Don Bowie, who was originally supposed to climb with me, had to return to the U.S. Tenzing and I have a great time on the mountain. He got used to salami and cheese and I’ve gotten used to the Nepali music.

— Ueli Steck

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