Noel Hanna has a mountain to climb. And not just any mountain - K2 in Pakistan is the world's second highest.
The Northern Ireland man, who turned 54 on Monday, has been here before, having conquered the inhospitable 8,611m peak in 2018.
But this is different, and if the Dromara native manages it, he will become one of the precious few who can say they have completed a winter ascent of the summit.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph from base camp via satellite phone, Noel said he and 15 other climbers from 14 countries are currently waiting for a break in the area's notorious weather before making their move.
"You really need four days of decent weather to try for the summit," said the man who has also conquered Everest.
"We arrived here on December 29. It's -20C every day and then if you go up the mountain and there's a bit of wind, you're down to -30C or -40C."
A winter scaling of K2, part of the Karakoram range straddling the Pakistan-China border, is one of the most coveted achievements in mountaineering.
It was only last Saturday that it was done for the first time by a team of 10 Sherpas.
Six previous attempts at a winter ascent all proved unsuccessful.
In fact, as news of the success emerged, Spanish climber Sergio Mingote, who was a friend of Noel's, died after a 600m fall on the mountain.
"My thoughts are with my friend Sergio's family in Spain. We were together on K2 in 2018 and Everest in 2019," he said.
"The conditions are really tough at this time of the year; when you're here in summer you've got longer days," added Noel, who spends his time between home and South Africa.
"People who climb Slieve Donard in June and then try it again in December will know what I'm talking about."
He said the decision to participate in the winter expedition was "easy to make" because he "knew five of the other climbers".
But he also knew it would be one of his biggest challenges.
"It's totally different from my last climb here," he added.
"The days are shorter and it's 30 degrees colder.
"At base camp in the summer you could've sat out in shorts and a T-shirt, but now you're wearing your climbing suit almost 24/7."
He has been keeping in regular touch with his wife Lynne, also from Dromara, and said he won't be jeopardising his long-term health just to make history.
"I'm not going to risk losing fingers and toes through frostbite to make a summit," he said.
"It's not the be all and end all for me.
"There's also a big chance that nobody else will make it to the summit because of the weather conditions."
He congratulated the Sherpas, all of whom he knows, who made it on January 16.
"When they came back I shared a bottle of champagne with them," Noel said.
"I'd been keeping it for my birthday, but I'd also brought a couple of bottles of Hinch Whiskey from home with me.
"The base camp kitchen staff made me a cake and we put up lights and played music.
"Then the Sherpas came round with another bottle of whiskey and we had a few drinks until late on."
K2 was the last 8,000m peak awaiting a winter ascent after the so-called 'Killer Mountain' of Nanga Parbat, also in Pakistan, was climbed in 2016.
Winter ascents of the world's highest mountains remain very rare due to the technical and weather challenges.
Attempts on K2 are normally made in July or August.
Only 280 people - including Noel, and Ger McDonnell and Jason Black from the Republic - have reached its peak, compared with the 3,681 who have scaled Everest.