Marco Confortola will be climbing Gasherbrum I this summer.
With 11 x 8000m summits behind him he goes for number 12 aiming to get closer to that magical number of 14.
He will climb with Hassan Jan, who has already climbed this peak twice and has logistics from High Mountains Treks and Tours.
We shall follow their journey with this Diary with most updates coming from Marco’s team….
“A special greeting from Gondogoro. A mountaineering expedition, as I always say, is not just about reaching the top of a mountain but its journey itself. These places fill the eyes and their imposing beauty reminds us how small we are in the face of all this’. You have overwhelmed me with a veritable avalanche of messages and I thank you. One of the aspects that I never leave out in climbing is the serenity and instinct that comes from your stomach. In the mountains, the gambling rule does not apply to me. I don’t need it. I go to the mountains because I feel good there and because I like what I do. I never thought that in the mountains the rule should apply or go or break it because years of experience in many situations have made me understand what the word means and the meaning of competence and knowledge. This is my mountain. Freedom of choice without constraint.”
“Marco is rapidly descending to the CB and updates will follow. We are receiving so many messages about Mario and Marco in his phone call at 4 local time just said “I give up“ I don’t have good feelings. These are personal choices dictated by instinct. Mario was under him and it is not taken for granted that he made other decisions. We wish him the best.”
“Marco makes it known that C4 has also been positioned. They troubled a lot he wrote in his message. At midnight the summit attempt will start. With him also Mario Vielmo. We will wait for updates tomorrow. No expedition this year has climbed Gasherbrum I and therefore the ascent route has to be opened. “
“A few moments ago Marco informed that they have reached C3. The climb was not easy due to the amount of snow they had to track down. Tomorrow they intend to place C4 which they will position more or less between 7,400 and 7,500 to start the summit attempt in the evening.”
“I always repeat, on the 8,000 you don’t just need to be well trained and motivated but you need to have a strong dose of patience, that patience that sometimes falters. When it snows at BC for several days, you already know that above, it will be even worse at high altitude. We are wondering in these hours what we will find already knowing that we will have to redo all the work done to date, track down again, un-bury the tents from the snow again because they will be buried. Here it is not enough to feel good, feel good and know what to do, here you have to deal with many cm of snow (just to remain optimistic), this distance creates the expectation. Every now and then some emotional breakdown is inevitable because you feel you cannot act, wait and wait any longer. For me, the wait is more nerve-wracking and tiring than the real effort. Fatigue makes you feel active and gives you a lot of adrenaline. In fatigue I feel good while waiting I get impatient. For active people it is always like this. So what do you do? Nothing.”
“Finally in the base camp, tired but satisfied to have positioned with Mario all the fixed ropes that from C2 climbing the Japanese coluoir to C3. Yesterday, positioning the ropes, I put into practice all the teachings of the National Instructors “AGAI and CNSAS” and especially when we faced the snow slabs from the wind, I imagined having Maurizio Lutzenberger, AGAI / CNSAS Instructor dear friend excellent connoisseur of the world of snow. I assure you that it is not at all easy to place more than 600 meters of fixed ropes, but last night, returning to the C2 tents, we were extremely satisfied with the great work done. Now we just have to be lucky that the weather is friendly to us to give us the opportunity to make the attempt to summit. It goes without saying that we return to the essential, simple food and warmth after accumulating so much cold on the face. With @mario_vielmo there is mutual respect and a great desire to do well together and collaborating together with the rest of the team certainly makes the difference. Now I dedicate myself to myself and my little house, I will take a pseudo shower, I will do the laundry and finally I will sleep on a thicker mattress that is comfortable. Good day to all of you from Gasherbrum Base Camp.”
“Marco says that they have equipped up to 7,000 meters, almost outside (100 meters). They all returned to C2, with them also the French boys who unfortunately have missed their goal for the moment. Tomorrow they go down to CB and expect the next window of good weather which should be around the middle of next week. Today the face was very demanding but they are happy with the result.”
“Tomorrow morning from BC we’ll push ourselves up to C2 and the next day we’ll try to finish work to equip the route. BC hasn’t snowed much these days, unlike higher altitudes, we have no news of how much snow we’ll find during the climb. Everything is ready and as usual we will leave CB around 2.00 hours local.
The past few days with Mario Vielmo we did a good job, but it must be finished. The collaboration of the whole team that divided with us the load up to those shares is precious.”
“Here we go back to BC after a few days at altitude trying to pave the way to the top camps.
“The snow-mixed rock wall that leads us to C 3 ′′ 7100 m is a wall of an unhealthy rock and to protect ourselves you need to be very careful where the protections are placed (snow-fittons rock nails). The first 100m to be the hardest, with Mario we equipped them yesterday. I honestly didn’t find them particularly difficult even if you need to be very careful how you move.
“We found remains of old ropes and the day before I looked at the whole wall with my trusty binoculars just to look for stopping points. So finding it equipped is one thing, finding two positioning more than 600m of ropes, history changes, it’s important to always put safety ahead. Currently we have placed 200m (above C2) of ropes the technical part would already seem done but unfortunately they give 3 bad days wather forecast and if it’s snowing so much we should track everything again.
“Let’s hope it doesn’t snow too much so we can get back to the wall and make it to the C3 hopefully. Another story is on the G2 with the wall exposed to the South, it leaves a better chance being exposed to the sun, maybe today 4 French boys might have reached the top and on that mountain there is more buzz and movement than Alpinists.”
“Marco and Mario Vielmo this morning equipped the route up to 6,700 meters. Even for today a lot of wind and cold. Only they got on. Currently they have gone down to C2 to spend the night again at high altitude and tomorrow to go down to BC. From Monday for a few days the weather does not seem to be good and they will take advantage of it to recover energy. A disturbance between Tuesday and Wednesday is confirmed with probable first signs on Monday, perhaps some aftermath on Thursday.”
“Marco announces that he has reached C2 as per program. During the climb they had the company of an incessant wind, probably the effect of the channeling of currents between the mountains. Also for tomorrow the weather situation needs to be stable in order to proceed towards C3.”
“Hello everyone, we returned to BC this morning. We started with the idea of completing the track to C2 and depositing the material, but our path was interrupted by snow and poor visibility. No problem, we still slept one more night at 6,000 meters and this still definitely serves as a good workout.
“For the second part of this week the weather and disturbances should settle. In the meantime, we arrange all our things at the BC and recover energy for our part of the journey.”
“Marco and his team returned to C1, the climb to C2 was interrupted by a snowstorm and poor visibility. They will spend the night at C1 and tomorrow morning according to the conditions they will decide whether to continue tracing towards C2 or go down to BC.”
“This morning we made our return to CB after spending a second night at C1. During our descent, we met Mario Vielmo ascending to begin his acclimatization rotation. The first few weeks are key to acclimate the physique and also the mind. It can often happen that you have so many things on your mind that you can’t live the moment. When I realize it, I try to stop and look closely where I am, I try to stare well at the images of these places. The nostalgia of the first weeks is normal and I get it in every shipment. But then when I can feel my Silvia, she puts me back on the right track and always manages to bring enthusiasm and many renewed energy back into me. You don’t need a thousand words, simply the right ones. Mountain climbing I am increasingly convinced to be the perfect metaphor for life. Meanwhile with Filippo Thiery day by day aligns to check the weather. It’s always snowed these days but we have days when the weather seems to settle down a bit.”
“This morning Marco, Hassan and Fida left the CB around 2 am in the direction of “C2” at an altitude of approximately 6,400 meters. They have tracked in shifts and for the moment they seem to be the only mountaineers in action on the mountain and this is giving them the opportunity to do a great job. The “Confortola and Team” route is now open. At 9.00 the “Italians” went down to C1 again. It is snowing weakly but constantly with about ten cm of snow. They will also spend this night at C1.”
“This morning we returned to the Gasherbrum base camp with a good pace after a night spent at Camp 1.
“I must admit that I thought I had to welcome night monsters or headaches that are typical of when this initial phase of acclimatization is about to be carried out, but fortunately this was not the case.
“The day will continue with a good lunch, laundry and finally the imminent arrival at base camp of Mario Vielmo.”
“Marco this morning reached 6.000m at Camp 1.
“As already reported yesterday, they intend to spend the night at high altitude to take advantage of the good acclimatization. The mood is very high and it is evident that the heavy training of this last year is producing its effects.”
“Marco this morning mounted his tent, had time to shave while waiting for the sun to dry the pitch.
“In the afternoon they prepared bamboo stakes where they wrapped refractive ribbon so in case they need it, they can easily find their way even at night.
“Tomorrow morning they start the acclimatization phase with the various altitude rotations. They’ll go up to Camp 1 and spend the night there.
“They tried the sats and they’re all ok.”
“This morning we reached Gasherbrum base camp with a light but constant snowfall.
“With Filippo Thiery checking the weather, we’ll cross his data with what we have here at Base Camp on a daily basis.”
“Marco has arrived in Sciama at. 4650 m. Approximately 4 hours walk away from Base Camp.”
“They were quick exploiting good weather conditions as well. Today they travelled a distance of about 9 hours.
“They’ll rest at this altitude tonight and then reach Base Camp tomorrow.”
“Today we reached Gore II. Our trek is moving forward.
“We’ll have to walk a few more days before we reach Gasherbrum Base Camp.”
“Marco today reached URDUKAS, in the next few days we continue along the Baltoro towards Goro and then reach Concordia.
From Urdukas along a path, we continue on the glacier.
“The view opens on the Masherbrum (7821 m), the Biarchedi (6781 m), the Gasherbrum group (8080 m) and the northeast on Broad Peak (8047 m).”
“Marco left Skardu yesterday morning to head for Gasherbrum Base Camp.
“The journey continues well and they are very fast.”
“Marco has today arrived in Pakistan.”