Next day starts soon after midnight, with a coffee and a snack, quick gear check, and at 1 am we are already off into the night.
There are 3 teams starting together - Alex and me, the Ozzie couple, and a band of 5 aloof faux-pro Russians.
Base camp to high camp is basically a scree hike with some steep switchbacks, but just above high camp some rocky steps require moderate scrambling.
Coming up through the gully at 5,700 m in the dark involves scrambling through some sections. Photograph: Ian Taylor Trekking.
We put all our climbing gear on at the "crampon point" at the edge of the glacier, leaving the backpacks on the snow waiting for our return, and push on, still fairly easy going.
Slowly the terrain gets more and more interesting - steepier and crevassier.
One of the several crevasse crossings on the way.
We're heading up there?
Jumaring up the fixed rope in a slow approach to the final wall.
"No technical climbing involved" my ass.
Let's rest a moment...
Our Sherpa Nlima Tenzig watching our backs.
Almost there now. Perfect weather - can't wait for the views from the top!
And we're here! At 8:30 we are the first team on the top today. No one else around, the whole summit just for us.
Also, at 6,189 m, this is the highest I have been so far. Well done us!
With Alex's banner.
Look at these views!
On the way back down we're meeting many people still going up.
A pinch of jealousy that they still have most of the adventure in front of them, but a huge relief at the same time that we don't have to go through all that effort anymore. Bon courage!
Quick snack at the crampon point to up our energy levels - there's still a lot of quite demanding descending in front of us.
A happy summitter.
One of the most dangerous moments - crevasse crossing on the way back.
With the mountain successfully summitted you might think all is done now and relax, but it's still a long way down back to Chhukhung.
Finally back in Chhukhung - tired as hell, but enthusiastically happy.
Now, who wants to hear the story?