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On the tenth day, good news finally arrived: the warm front was almost over, and the wind had already weakened. Tomorrow and the day after should be ideal for climbing to the last camp and, from there, all the way to the summit.

We all felt an immediate boost in morale. The only question was whether to climb today or wait until tomorrow. Winds of up to 50 km per hour were still forecast for today, but some groups were ascending to the high camp. Should we follow them despite the strong winds? Perhaps these groups were merely acclimatizing and leaving caches above. Or did they actually intend to spend the night at the high camp?

Regardless, we gradually began to pack. What should we take? What should we leave behind? Which tent should I carry? We also needed to use our bucket toilets today; there likely wouldn’t be any time at the top for this.

To my dismay, when I tried on my crampons, they didn’t fit! I was shocked. How could I have neglected to test my old crampons on my new mountain boots beforehand? Chris had the same problem; his boots didn’t fit his crampons either. Out of frustration, he even threw them in front of him. Fortunately, after some effort, we managed to fit the crampons onto our boots. The expedition was saved! A lesson for the future: always ensure new equipment fits with existing gear and don’t leave this check for later.

We finally decided to climb tomorrow instead of today, choosing to spend the day watching movies and playing cards. I taught Chris and Joe how to play another children’s card game from Kyrgyzstan, named Queen of Spades. Since we no longer needed to ration food, we indulged in a hearty feast, replenishing ourselves for the next two days of climbing to the high camp and then to the summit.

As a good omen, a bird sat on one of our tents while we were preparing lunch. It’s remarkable how a person becomes slightly superstitious when confronting nature’s elements.

After lunch, I created tropical conditions in the tent again, lying naked while studying Spanish. What a thrill! The scent of sunscreen transported me spiritually to the Canaries, far away from the glaciers of Canada.

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