A round-up of today’s updates from the mountains of the Karakoram.
Teams are getting ready to head back up!
“Pioneer Expeditions Team headed towards Camp 1 from Base Camp today for their final summit push.
“Wishing them good luck, good weather, safe and successful climb!
“We always knew that K2 was going to be a waiting game. High altitude mountaineering is as much about sitting it out as it is about climbing, but boy she has strung us out this time!!
“There is a good weather window forming and it’s time to think about heading back on the mountain.
“After so many days kicking our heels it is fair to say that excitement (and a little anxiety) levels are rising.
“Here’s hoping for fair winds, good views, amendable snow conditions but above all fun (and safe) times.”
“People often ask me what the hardest thing is about climbing 8000m peaks? Simple – it’s the waiting. Personally I don’t have too many problems filling the days. Mostly, I just dream of being up high where the views go on for miles and life feels sharper , almost three dimensional .
“Generally I relish the down time at Basecamp, playing scrabble or cards, reading books and chatting with climbers from all over the world. All these down days soon seem to blur into one. It doesn’t take long for expedition life to feel so normal yet so far removed from the ‘real’ world. A home away from home.
“The big mountains have taught me many lessons in life: patience, calmness, resilience, respect and self belief, amongst others.
“However, in the end the waiting stops and climbing starts. We have to try. Leaving an expedition empty handed is always a possibility but as long as I have tried and given it everything then I am satisfied.
“So, the time has come to try. Very soon we’ll be leaving the comforts and familiarity of Basecamp and heading up the mountain on our summit push.
“It’s beyond exciting. Part of the route (above 6800m) is new to me, and I really love this. I’ve studied pictures, videos and listened to accounts…I feel prepared and ready.
“Here we go.”
“Carlos is retiring from ‘8,000metres’, he will not attack in K2, he is no longer “comfortable” in these mountains.
“He will dedicate himself to peaks that he can climb with friends.
“When the season is over, we will also leave social networks.”
“At last the cloud clears from the summit of K2 and we are on! We have a weather window through to approx next Wednesday. We are waiting for our latest weather forecast update at noon our time / 8am UK time Friday which will dictate exactly when we depart base camp. If all goes according to plan we will be back in base camp 6 days after we depart.
“I may have a tiny bit of signal as we ascend but otherwise it won’t be possible to post until we are back down. Kenton and I both have sat trackers.”
“Our main concern is still the quantity of snow above C4 and our ability to summit will be heavily influenced by this. You can see from the video clip the high winds at the summit – we are hoping that this will blow much of the fresh snow off the mountain.”
“The saying goes that the best things come to those who wait. Well , wait we have ( and some ). We’ve patiently whittled away time here at base camp, sorting , planning, resting, eating. Now, the time has come to make our summit attempt. To say I’m excited is an understatement but I’m also mindful , and humbled by these austere slopes and think of those who have climbed before me. Similarly , there is no ‘I’ in team and I’m eternally grateful to everyone who has helped to facilitate this attempt. I don’t know what will happen but I go with heart and soul – pockets full of chocolate ( obvs) and laxatives because you never know what life will throw at you. Dum Spiro Spero. Grateful.”
“Early tomorrow we go up the mountain again. They promise good weather on July 26-27. We will mobilize all our forces for a successful conquest. Follow and support us. Tomorrow we will go up the mountain again. Area 26-27 promises good weather. We will try to apply the forces for a successful storm.”
“K2 has been unpredictable just like the extreme weather conditions that make this climb extremely difficult with all the starting & stopping.
“A few days ago I found myself running low on oxygen while trying to attempt to get through the climb of Broad Peak. I was told that two of my oxygen bottles were given to someone else & my heart sank; I had to go down to base camp without. I urgently tried to shift my mindset to find the silver lining. It was hard! The amount of time I was behind rope workers & then not summiting due to errors was disappointing. I sat with that news & frustration, knowing that I was making the best choices I could at that moment. I had to be OK with it.
“Then I understood why I needed to let go of it: Sometimes the light comes from looking backward & not forward…
“While I didn’t summit on Monday, 2 guys on my team that did summit got stuck behind a girl who fell into a crevasse on the climb down. It took hours to rescue her & the rescue effort left everyone behind her exposed to cold weather & lack of oxygen. Our team ended up rescuing her & escorted our 2 guys back to Camp 3. One had frostbite (we weren’t yet sure of the severity), the other appeared to be OK. This experience was a profound reminder that when things seem to keep falling apart, go with your gut, surrender, & turn around. While I didn’t summit, I wouldn’t have fared as well as my teammates did in those conditions. I had already given away hand warmers, & because I was pulled hard on a rope & hit a rock, my suit was ripped down causing me to wait in the elements more exposed for many hours.
“It’s amazing how fast frustration & anger can turn to gratitude when you can see the big picture. It makes me wonder how many times has my anger got the best of me because I don’t take a huge step back to look at the larger picture? This frightening experience taught me that when you take the time to understand that anger could dissolve into understanding, & empathy.”
“The desire for “conquering” the summit at any cost, at any time, led to the fact that a large number of unskilled tourists (namely tourists, not climbers) turned out to be at the key terrain at night. The principle “turn around after turning point” does not work for them. Thus, people create problems not for themselves, but for those around them.
“And now about the main thing! Together with Anastasia, there was an invalid alpinist on the ledge, comrades, invalid! At least 15 people passed by him, yes, it was dark — but the light of his headlamp was definitely visible.
“According to Little Hussein (Mr. Kim’s porter), after saving the girl, he cried, because he was so tired that could not save Kim — he had no strength left. Hussein asked people to help, but all the “hero-climbers” were exhausted and passed by.
“Yes, I can accept that they had no strength to pull the invalid person out. BUT I don’t understand why it was impossible to report the accident by radio!…
“If your radio does not work — one can write, using the InReach satellite communicator! Anastasia, your InReach was in the operant condition! Gentlemen, you used them!
“Luc and Wouter are ready for their 2nd attempt to climb Broad Peak. During the first time, their HAP fell ill and Mustapha had to be evacuated with the help of Jeff Spelmans. The plan now looks like this; 24/7: camp 2, 6200m 25/7: camp 3, 7000m 26/7: rest day camp 3 27/7: We wish them great success and a safe return! To be continued….
“Meanwhile Niels Jespers and Jeff Spelmans will also be busy with their ascent on k2”
“Hi all, so I am at K2 Base Camp waiting for a Helicopter evacuation.
“We had a successful summit of Broad Peak on Sunday.
“We faced logistical issues during the climb and on the way down there was a major delay near the summit due to a rescue of a climber.
“Due to that I ran out of Oxygen near the summit and stayed an overnight there with no shelter or oxygen which resulted in me getting frostbite on 7 of my fingers.”
“The “day” plan is as follows: – July 24 – access from the base to Camp 2 (exit 3 at night) – July 25 – access to Camp 3 – July 26 during the day – rest at Camp 3 – the night of July 26/27 and all day July 27 – peak attack, back to Camp 3 – July 28 – descent from Camp 3 to base camp.
“With your support and a few amulets I received for this trip, I should be successful!”
Main Pic: Fotis Theocharis