Yesterday I returned to base camp. The acclimatization trip was perfect. I can tell that my body is slowly getting used to the thin air. Our Camp 2 is rather modest, especially compared to the other “large” expeditions. When Tenzing and I were staying at Camp 2 about ten days ago, only a few tents were up. Now they’ve all been set up.

On the second night, I couldn’t turn down an invitation from Alpine Adventure and ate very well after a long day. The food and the cuisine are sensational at 6,400 meters (21,000 feet). I already had a bit of a whiff of the Everest air last year. It’s a new world for me. It’s nothing like any of the other expeditions I’ve been on. It’s pleasant and I truly enjoy it here. I just can’t find anything bad in this luxury. But these days, too, shall pass. From Southcol on, at the latest, the air will get very thin and the luxury will be gone. From then on it will be tough for each and everyone. Whether with or without oxygen, with or without the sherpas carrying the luggage, it will get cold and times will get tough. Thus I’m trying to not lose too much motivation and especially to not lose any energy at this point. I’m trying to get my body used to the air and its low oxygen levels.Now it’s time to wait and see as I don’t think that a summit attempt is doable before May 20th. You can tell that the mountaineers are getting nervous. We’d love to just take off and head for the summit. I feel exactly the same. And that’s exactly what it means to climb the tall mountains: Patience, waiting, and taking off when the conditions are right.

I’m planning on doing another acclimatization trip just so I can be sure that I have a good shot at making it to the summit.After that I will take it easy and, if time permits, descend to Pheriche to recover and fill my lungs with oxygen.

Now, I’m gonna relax and get comfortable here at base camp. I haven’t even really been here. Kaji, the chef, has been here for a month already and is well set-up. I have no complaints about the food whatsoever. I think today is a good day to have Italian pizza once again. After that I’ll have to look for a better sleeping pad – the nights are long and the ground is rocky. But I think I can figure that one out. One thing after another!— Ueli Steck

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