Cold. Very cold. And bleak. Did I mention the cold? Even in the dinning tent we eat with big puffy down jackets and pants. Some wear gloves. When was the last time you struggled to stay warm just eating dinner? Every true mountaineer will tell you that climbing is suffering. Lots and lots of suffering. But you find incredible joy in a hot Nalgene water bottle in your bag by your feet. Or the simple pleasure of, and excuse me if this seems crude, but a bowel movement. No comfortable warm bathrooms here. Everyone squats over an opening over a barrel that when it’s full has to be covered and sealed and then carried down by some poor Sherpa. What a job. Altitude plays havoc with your digestion and appetite. So the creature comforts so taken for granted are acutely missed up here. Don’t mind the smell, you have no choice. And it smells. Really smells. Already have a little nausea from the altitude? Deal with it. So mountaineering is suffering but it makes you focus on the basics – staying warm, staying hydrated, eating, sleeping, going to the bathroom. Then do it again. For two months. And just when you begin to feel comfortable with the altitude it’s time to move up. Higher we go and the suffering starts all over again and this time a little deeper. And a little more intense. So you have to dig a little deeper.