Breathing heavily, we have been struggling for hours now, trying to get up a steep, ice-covered cliff in the dark, holding tightly onto fixed ropes. Our crampons seem to be doing no more than scratching the stone, and it’s hard to get a foothold. At 5,500 meters (18,045 feet), it feels like our lungs are on fire, and with every step we need to stop for a breath. Our bikes, strapped to our backpacks, have increased the load we’re already carrying to over 20 kilograms (44 pounds). The trek itself is exhausting enough, never mind trying to fight the weight of our bikes and stay balanced. But, we haven’t given up our hopes of conquering the biggest obstacle on our route, the Gondogoro La.