I left early in the morning to give myself the best chance of getting to the Col before dark. It was extremely hard going, even just getting to the base of the head-wall. I took a few steps, and then had to stop to rest. I could see Chris and Heather (the only woman on the team) ahead of me, but they soon pulled away, so I could no longer see them.
The Sherpa team passed me by later as well. They looked concerned at how slowly I was moving, but didn't try to turn me back. It was a matter of mind over matter to get to the bottom of the head-wall. I didn't let the idea of how much harder the ice climbing ahead of me was going to be, compared to the walking I was having trouble with currently. By pure mental grit I got to 'Crampon Corner', the area below the ice climb that is the North Col. I saw Chris and Heather leave, just as I arrived.