climbing Sherpa from Nepal)
climbing Sherpa from Nepal)
Two years have passed since
the decision was made to attempt K2. We had summited on Everest on the 16th
May 2002 and had vowed never to set foot on another 8000m peak after the
months of discomfort and the debilitating effect of altitude on mind and body.
We arrived in Kathmandu a few
days later already thinking of the next mountain, K2 was the ultimate if scary
In three weeks we fly to
Pakistan, to Islamabad and all the reading and dreaming and training is at an
end and the hard work will start in earnest.
In this unknown city we will have to go through the rigmarole of finding our
freight at the airport, not a short process normally, signing the last minute
papers necessary to move onwards and deal with all the little problems
associated with moving four climbers and equipment to Skardu and then on to
the Broad peak base camp. We hope to fly to Skardu but may have to drive if
the weather is poor.
When we arrive at Skardu we
will need to employ a number of porters and mules to carry the equipment for
the eight to ten days that it will take to get firstly to the Broad Peak Base
camp. We will walk to Askole and from there along the Braldu River to the
Boltoro Glacier until we reach Concordiaat 4720m. A short walk up the Godwin
Austin Glacier towards K2 will bring us to the base of Broad Peak and base
camp (4900m) for the first objective.
Broad Peak is the 12th
highest mountain in the world at 8047m. It was first climbed in 1957 in
'alpine style' by an Austrian team. They were thwarted on the first attempt by
a false summit and had to return a second time to climb it. We plan to place
camps at 5400m, 6250m and finally at 7200m. From here we will push up to the
summit ridge and follow this over the fore summit fixing some pinnacle
sections to the summit. Although the mountain is an 'easier' 8000m mountain
the summit day will still be in excess of 12 hours and will be a real test at
K2 is the second highest
mountain in the world at 8616m and is variously called the 'killer' mountain,
'the climbers' mountain, and the 'most difficult' of the 8000m mountains. It
gets this reputation from the weather, which is unpredictable, the technical
difficulties, objective dangers such as stone fall and avalanche and the
problems associated with cold and altitude. It has not been climbed for three
years. This is our second objective.
We will establish Base camp
at about 5200m on the Boltoro glacier before pushing the route up the mountain
to Camp 1 at 6100m. Above this camp is the notorious 'Bills' or 'Houses'
Chimney, which is the crux technically. This is climbed to camp 2 at 6700m,
which lies below the Black Pyramid - a broken, steep rocky section that is
often very difficult if the conditions are poor. Camp 3 above this lies on
snow at about 7200m, although the position of this camp varies from year to
year and from team to team. The shoulder is a long snowy glacier with some
large crevasses which although not technically difficult is very tiring and in
poor weather route finding up and down this section can be very difficult if
not impossible. Camp 4 lies as high on this, anywhere between 7600m and 8000m.
Once this camp has been established the team can push on to attempt the
Very early in the morning
(11.00pm/12.00am) we will set out up snow slopes to the 'bottle neck'. This is
a narrow gully about 100m in length, which gradually steepens and is at an
altitude of about 8300m. In dry years it can be very steep and be 80 degrees.
This ends at a hanging glacier, which must be traversed under until the final
summit slopes can be gained. The sting in the tail is a rocky step just before
the summit. If all goes well we would hope to be on the summit in the early
This is the plan!
Chris Mothersdale May 2004.