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When we woke up, it was snowing heavily, with visibility reduced to zero. Even the closest tents were barely discernible. The weather forecast indicated improvement by the afternoon, so we waited and discussed our strategy for the next ascent.

By noon, visibility began to improve slightly, and we noticed several teams in harnesses passing by our tents. Despite the continued snowfall, we decided to pack up and follow them.

Walking in such dense fog was unusual. A gray veil surrounded us, reminiscent of my last ski tour in Norway, where I had to navigate using GPS, completely disoriented: above, below, to the right and to the left—everything was a uniform white.

Just before the final steep slope, we caught up with the other teams. Everyone walked in a long line, with the pulka/sleigh stretching it much farther. Even technically challenging mountains like Denali suffer from overtourism, similar to the infamous photograph of climbers queuing on Hillary Step on Everest.

This situation is a modern paradox. On one hand, it’s encouraging that more people are interested in mountaineering. Typically, the more people on the mountain, the safer it is—more eyes, more hands, hence help is more likely to arrive quickly. However, an excess of climbers poses environmental risks and safety concerns. Especially with climate change shortening the window of good weather, crowds and queues form, leading to dangerous conditions where climbers risk dehydration, fatigue and frost bites.

As we approached the third camp, the weather improved, and the sun emerged, though a strong wind continued to blow. Choosing the right spot for the tent was crucial—away from avalanche slopes but also distant from the cliff, where the wind was fiercest. We also needed to check the area with an avalanche probe to avoid setting up directly above a concealed glacier crevasse.

This time, we not only built a wall of snow blocks to shield our tents from the wind but also dug out an area for the tents. This task was exhausting after such a challenging day.

After this long day, I collapsed into sleep. Wrapping my legs in a down jacket kept me warm all night, and I slept soundly. We spent the entire next day resting at the third camp.

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