This summer Jeff Spelmans and Niels Jespers will be glad to be able to get on with the business of aiming for a K2 / Broad Peak double after battling through the logistical nightmares that Covid safety precautions have brought to entering Pakistan.
They will be meeting up with fellow Belgians Steff Maginelle, Sofie Lenaerts,, Wouter Noterman and Luc Beirinckx who will be climbing Broad Peak.
“There will finally be Belgians in the Karakoram this summer! Jeff wrote on his Facebook page..
“The suspense has been too much… For a month, I have not dared to communicate on this fragile project. Between flight cancellations, new health measures, physical and logistical problems, it has not been easy to plan.
“When we are at the top, we will accept the hard work of the administrative formalities.
“When you’re not on the mountains, it’s just unbearable… I can’t wait to set foot on the Baltoro glacier, to let myself live far from all this mess and recover a little freshness.
“To acclimatize smoothly along the 100 kilometers of trekking to the base camp.
“It will still be necessary to fly safely to Istanbul, Islamabad and perhaps Skardu. Otherwise, it will be two, three days of a 4×4 on scenic roads…
“In short, the adventure has started well and will continue in Zaventem on June 14th.
“We are lucky that we are able to travel and continue to dream.”
Via his BLOG, Niels added:
“Three weeks ago, several negative signals about our expedition to K2 & Broad Peak came to us at the same time: mandatory vaccination to enter Pakistan, the flight was canceled due to too few travelers, Nepalese and Dutch people are not allowed to enter the country for the time being… This left the entire expedition hanging by a thread.
“Meanwhile, the sky clears up a bit. I still got a vaccine, and we were able to book a new flight 5 days later. Due to this delay we miss our previously planned acclimatization trip to 6000m near Skardu. We will have to compensate for this on the mountain itself.
“What does bring a lot of uncertainty is the abandonment of all Nepalese expeditions. In addition, many other commercial expeditions also depend on the efforts of Nepalese to fix the ropes. As a result, few climbers are expected in Pakistan this season. This is a great opportunity to design the expedition yourself in peace. But the question is whether there will still be enough climbers to do anything together at all.
“For Broad Peak we are 6 Belgians and two local HAPs (high altitude porters). That could be enough, so I have a good eye on that. For K2 we will have to see who shows up and who is willing to do the heavy lifting together… I’m really looking forward to it!”