This summer Stef Maginelle and Sofie Lenaerts were climbing Broad Peak.
They were climbing alongside Wouter Noyerman and Luc Beirinckx, plus also Jeff Spelmans and Niels Jespers, who plan to go on to scale K2.
The 18th July was an epic day, where a summit, of sorts, was reached.
Here is a diary of Stef and Sophie’s journey…
“This expedition was extra challenging due to the covid measures; our flights were cancelled every time but luckily there was FCM Travel Solutions Belgium! What a team. Thank you very much for your patience and persistence and with a bit of luck we get home with an almost complete 🇧🇪 BroadPeak-k2 team!
6 August at 13:20 arrival in Zaventem
Niels Jespers summiter k2 – Broad Peak
Stef maginelle summiter Broad Peak
Sofie lenaerts summiter Broad Peak
Wouter noterman (up to 7500 m)
luc Beirinckx (up to 7500 m)
See you soon buffaloke. Jeff Spelmans, our hero who was in charge of Mustapha’s rescue operation.”
“Niels Jespers did it, he climbed the second highest mountain in the world k2 without oxygen and without sherpa/hap support. Incredible performance. He and Hugo were the only ones this year to do k2 without oxygen. Get down safely now! In 2013, Stef Maginelle was the first Belgian to climb two mountains higher than 8000m without oxygen during 1 expedition. Niels improved on this by climbing BroadPeak and K2. The only Belgian who climbed higher without oxygen is Pascal Debrouwer who climbed Everest but died on the way back. What a season! 6 Belgians, all climbed without using extra oxygen. Niels Jespers reached the main top BroadPeak 8051m on 18/7 Sofie Lenaerts and Stef Maginelle the front top BroadPeak 8035m on 18/7 And now Niels is on K2… wow”
“There was an avalanche hazard under the col (7800 m) and everyone would have returned ′′ is the message we received so no summit Broad Peak and Luc and Wouter would descend to camp 2 or basecamp.”
“14 days after arrival in basecamp we stood at 8035 m #broadpeak foresummit without using supplemental oxygen and / or haps.
This is thanks to the #hypoxico training or altitude training and 6 weeks of sleeping in a high tent. Maw altitude training is working!”
“Update from Broad Peak team
We are all good.
Later the story…
Everyone has tents.
Wouter and me arrive at 14.00
Porters at 15.00.
“On K2 bad news, because of an avalanche Rick Allen died on way to c1. We will miss his Scottish humor RIP.
Niels Jep is at K2 camp 3″
“Wouter and Luc have arrived well together with their Hap’s in camp 2, from Broad Peak. Tomorrow they will continue to camp 3.
Niels Jespers is also in camp 2 of the K2. Jeff Spelmans had to quit as well as Oswald Rodrigo Pereira.”
“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”
“The 18th was a memorable day for many climbers at #broadpeak, summit or no summit. You take this experience with you for life until you die. Unfortunately there are also lives to be regretted every year. Some escape it close and others disappear forever, so is HongBin Kim. RIP
Tiredness, summit fever, late return, a mistake, impatient, inattention…. Minor mistakes with great consequences. People who are committed to their rescue are also people with their limits even though they try to give their all.
Family and friends stay behind with questions but I’m convinced of one thing; no one comes here to die but to live.
Here in the mountains I feel free and completely me.”
“Tired but oh so happy! It was a long 24hr undertaking.
“On 17/07 around 10.30 pm departed from camp3, (7000m) a long run-up easy until 4.30am and a short icy passage of 65%.
“Then we arrive at the crevass under the col. 5.30 am The fixing team finds its way into the right flank just under the rocks. Meanwhile, climbers flock together, many with supplemental oxygen. It’s waiting… feet and hands get cold. Due to the deep snow it is impossible to take a shortcut. Minutes turn into hours before we finally arrive at the rock passage just below the col 12h30. Finally sun but also a cold wind.
“Niels Jespers does not rest and continues the climb towards the main summit, which is still far away. I must recover from standing in the cold for hours and enjoy the sunbeams and the beautiful view. A third of the climbers on the col decide to stop but we don’t think about that! When we switch on, another ‘queue’ follows.
“First follows the narrow rock passage where the corniche turns out not to be solid at all. Mr HongBin Kim collapses and needs to be helped out of his predicament.
“Then a short traverse on rocks, no room for mistakes… and then it’s a find your way on the grade, several times up and down before the central summit 8016m can be reached. The view is phenomenal and yet I hardly take pictures. Fatigue hits mercilessly.
“In the distance we see a yellow dot on the main peak 8051m. That must be Niels, he had made the right choice to continue straight away because we progressed slowly due to slow climbers in front of us. It is around 4.30 pm when we are on the central top. It’s time to return.
“We still have a long way to go but it was all worth it!”
Summit! for both! Updates soon!
“Arrived yesterday in camp2 at 6200 meters! Went from basecamp to camp2 in one move, everyone tired but satisfied.”
“The Belgian / Pakistan team is ready for our summit push to 8051m.
“Thank you so much for all your support, it would not be possible without this fantastic crew – Inchallah that we can reach the summit.”
“We’re getting ready for a summit push. Tomorrow if the conditions are ok we leave for camp 2. The day after that to camp 3 where we will rest for a day and then push through to the top on July 17 or 18 Thanks to all the teams around to beat and specially to Don Bowie for all the work delivered. Yes we can.”
“Just arrived back at base camp! Eating well, washing, enjoying the weather and regaining your strength!
Everything went according to a tight plan: flight, indoor flight, jeep ride, trekking, and acclimatization round… we are 14 days away from home and ready for a possible summit push at the end of the week.
Only the promised 4 G communication was a frustration point but has been resolved since today.
We are being spoiled in BC by a top kitchen crew, the birthday cake was already apotheosis.
Despite the corona vicissitudes, many like-minded people have declined to the Karakoram:
It’s pretty busy here on BP and K2.
The understanding between climbers also seems much looser than usual. Tents are more easily shared on the highcamps.
Being able to store your tent on the west flank of BP at 6100 m with a sunset on K2 as a view… that’s sooo amazing!
Day 1 of the acclimatization touched 5650m for deposit of the tents and material”
“Tired but satisfied again in camp2. The cold morning provided perfect weather conditions! Together with Niels and Jeff we reached camp3 at 6850 meters, tomorrow we descend again to basecamp. ENJOYING IT TO THE FULLEST!”
“Arrived after 5 hours in camp1 with great weather and a beautiful view of the Godwin Austen glacier, K2 and basecamp! Tomorrow we continue to camp2. Everyone is enjoying it here!!”
“Yesterday at 4 h45 we left for camp1. Gigantic beautiful weather and beautiful view of K2! Despite the very limited places we were able to set up two tents there. We are now back in basecamp and resting for at least two days then it’s time for rotation to high camps.”
“Fully installed in basecamp! Tonight we crawl out of our tent at 3 pm and leave for camp1 to drop off some material, then back down to base camp!”
“After 8 hours finally arrived at basecamp. HERE WE GO!”
“Reached Goro II today! Tour through both sun, rain and snow!”
“Walked to Urdukas today 8 h30, but tomorrow a shorter and quieter day!”
“After a gigantic sunny and beautiful tour of 6 hours arrived in Paju. Everyone is totally fine here.”
Sofie – “Today we go towards Askole.”
Sofie – “Arrived in Skardu with all our gear!”
Sofie – “Prep is done. We are ready! Today we start our expedition towards 8051m. Let’s go to the airport!”
Stef – “This spring, Wouter Noyerman and Luc Beirinckx started the preparation program for the ascent of their first 8000m summit: Broad Peak.
“Broad Peak is the 12th highest mountain in the world at 8,051m, and is located in the Karakoram Range in Northeast Pakistan. The mountain lies along the western Baltoro Glacier between K2 and Gasherbrum IV. It is considered an “easier” mountain + 8000 meters, but the risk of avalanches should never be ignored.
“It is of course still quite a challenge to reach the top, hard and capricious weather conditions can be decisive in high alpine areas whether the summit is feasible. Broad Peak has three peaks. The main peak 8051m , the central 8016m and the north peak 7550m . There are three level camps placed via the normal route to the West ridge . Base camp 4900-5000m. Camp I at 6000m, Camp II at 6500m, Camp III at 7100m and possibly Camp IV at 7500m.
“Standard expeditions take 50 to 60 days but our expedition members are prepared at altitude so this expedition lasts a total of 42 days, of which 20 days are provided for the ascent.
“The expedition was originally supposed to be organized by Seven Summit Treks, located in Nepal, but the Covid measures that Pakistan enacted in May this year made it impossible for the Sherpas to travel. The Pakistani outfitter Blue Sky Treks & Tours promised, however, that the expedition could still go ahead and therefore it was decided to let the expedition take place. We will start the ascent together without the use of supplemental oxygen.
“Luc and Wouter will be assisted by 2 Haps (Pakistani HighAltitudePorters).
“Jean-Francois Spelmans (Jeff) and Niels Jespers are on their way to base camp K2. They will use Broad Peak as acclimatization where we will place/share ropes and tents together to build the altitude camps. We are looking forward to embarking on this adventure together!”
Stef went on to explain what the trekking & expedition planning will look like?
Day 1: Flight (June 27)
On the first day we will fly to Islamabad (Pakistan) where we will arrive at night.
Day 2: Arrival Islamabad
We arrive in Islamabad at night and are transferred to our hotel . Here we can rest from the long flight and afterwards we will explore the capital of Pakistan and we will also visit the old city “Rawalpindi” .
Day 3: Flight to Skardu or Karakoram Highway (June 29)
Depending on the weather conditions , we will take a spectacular domestic flight to Skardu today. If the weather is bad we take the Karakoram Highway , also a spectacular adventure but then by road . If we have to travel by road, we will be on the road for 2 days and on the way we will sleep in Chilas, a town overlooking Nanga Parbat, the second highest mountain in Pakistan.
Day 4: Skardu (2350m)
If we could take the flight , today we have a rest day in Skardu consisting of sightseeing , acclimatization , and preparation . If we travel by road , today we drive 275km along the Indus River with spectacular views of Nanga Pargat (8125m) and Haramosh Peaks, up to Skardu. This is followed by a briefing at the Ministry of Tourism in Skardu. Skardu is the gateway to the mighty Karakoram Mountains and also the capital of Baltistan .
Day 5: Askoli (2600m)
After an early breakfast we continue our journey by Jeep to the starting point of our trekking . We drive for about 7 hours along the Shigar and Braldu valleys , towards Askoli , the last permanent settlement in the Shigar Valley. It’s another spectacular and fascinating drive through ever-changing traditional villages and orchards. Today we spend the night in tents for the first time .
Day 6: Trekking to Jhola (3200m)
After an early breakfast and the distribution of the luggage among the porters, we start our 6-hour trek. We walk along the turbulent flow of the Braldu River towards Jhola. Most of the trekking is easy , over fixed pre – existing trails . Only the rocky snout of the Biafo glacier that we will cross is a bit more difficult. After this crossing we walk on to our campsite in Jhola which is located just behind the confluence of the Braldu and Dumordo rivers .
Day 7: Trekking to Paiju (3450m)
We leave early and walk for the most part on an easy path along the Braldu River . After 7-8 hours of hiking in hot and dry conditions crossing several streams, we will reach Paiju in the afternoon . On our right we see the Masherbrum group while for us slowly the spiers and towers of Trango and Cathedral groups emerge. The snout of the Baltoro Glacier also appears systematically.
Day 8: Trekking to Urdukas (4200m)
We continue our trek to the East , along the Baltoro Glacier . We walk over the lateral moraines and over the glacier itself . On the way we pass the ship-like bow of “Great Trango” and the isolated pillars of the “ Nameless Tower ” to our next camp, Urdukas . The campsite is located 100m above the glacier on terraces hewn out of the hillside by the Duke of Abruzzo on his K2 expedition in 1909 . We arrive here around noon. The rest of the afternoon you are free to do camp chores and to enjoy the phenomenal environment.
Day 9: Trekking to Goro II (4300m)
This route is quite easy due to the open glacier surface and is full of breathtaking views . In front of us are Broad Peak (8047m) and Gasherbrum IV (7925m) and on our right the Mashabrum Group and on our left the Trango group . The trek takes about 4 to 5 hours .
Day 10: Trekking to Concordia (4650m)
After 3 to 4 hours of hiking, we reach Concordia , the throne room of the mountain gods . We are completely surrounded here by the world’s highest peaks , including K2 (8611m) , the second highest mountain in the world, Gasherbrum I (8068m) , Broad Peak (8051m) , Gashabrum-II (8035m) and Chogolisa (7665m) . We camp at the confluence of the Baltoro and Godwin Austin glaciers .
Day 11: Trekking Broad Peak Basecamp (4900m)
We continue to Broad Peak basecamp, where we say goodbye to the trekking group. They will continue the trek, while we will attempt to reach the top of Broad Peak (8051m) .
Day 12: Rest day Broad Peak Basecamp (4900m)
Today we rest, enjoy the beautiful surroundings and start preparing to conquer Broad Peak.
Day 13-33: Ascent Broad Peak (8051m)
After a well-deserved rest day, we start our 20-day climb to attempt the summit of Broad Peak.
Day 34: Cleaning up Base Camp (4900m)
We clear everything and get ready for the next day leave from Broad Peak Base Camp towards Askole. This will take three days. In Askole we will hand the children their much needed material that we have bought thanks to the generosity of so many lovely people!
Day 37-40: Return
From Askole they take the jeep back to Skardu where we can fly with a domestic flight to Islamabad. The return to Belgium is scheduled for August 7.