Climbers Ueli Steck and Don Bowie have given up their Mt. Everest summit bid after encountering cold and windy conditions high on the south side of the mountain.
The pair began their final push from their camp at 25,250 feet at approximately 11:30 pm. According to a text message posted to Steck's website, Bowie had to turn around at 26,250 feet because of the cold. Steck continued on alone, reaching the third step before deciding to retreat.
"Another hour and I would have summitted Everest," Steck wrote on his website. "For the love of my toes I turned at an altitude of 8700 meters [28,550 feet]."
Steck and Bowie planned to climb Everest as the final leg of their Himalaya Speed expedition, where they attempted three of the Himalayas' eight-thousanders in alpine style. On April 17, Steck soloed Shishapangma in 10.5 hours; on May 5, he and Bowie summited Cho Oyu.