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  United Kingdom British K2 & Broad Peak Expedition 2004 Update 5


In delayed reporting from K2 base camp here are several updates

19/07/04: Following our success on Broad Peak, the team are now poised ready to make a summit bid on K2. Our plans are to leave base camp on Wednesday for Camp 1 with the aim to summit on Sunday after moving through four camps. The weather forecast is looking good. Dave

15/07/04: Hi all, now reporting from K2 Base Camp. The move up the glacier went well, we have a good position next to the Korean clean-up team. They have been working hard clearing rubbish from camp 3 down and on the glacier.

There is still a bit of discussion regarding Broad Peak, if teams made the main summit or the pre-summit. From the route description given by the Swiss guide Kari, and time taken, the Sherpas and I seem to think we could have made the main summit, however we just can't be sure. Sonam & Purba spotted some Tibetan Flags in the snow on the summit, which I didn't see. I also recorded a GPS waypoint just off the summit which I hoped would line up with one of our maps. When we checked out the Longitude & Latitude the Northing placed us as far as the main summit, however the Easting placed us 300 yds west of the ridge in free space, which could be a fault of the GPS or the map. At the end of the day we cannot guarantee with any certainty that it was the main or pre-summit, especially as the cloud had come in. Although it's only a few meters difference in height and people still bag the mountain on the pre-summit, it would be nice to know one way or the other, not that it changes much. We'll just have to be content with where we got to wherever that may be.

The weather is due to start taking a turn for the worse later on tomorrow. We are planning to make a cache at camp 1 before the weather sets in. All being well the weather will be clearing by Tuesday. The Swiss have made good progress on the mountain and have established camp 4 via a new more direct route from camp 3.

We are all well and I'm certainly glad of the weather coming in to rest properly, ready for making real progress on the mountain next week. Thankfully tent spaces have become available at camps 1 & 2, which was a concern early on in the trip, so things are looking good so far.

No false summits to cloud this one !!!

Regards, Stu

08/07/04: Adventure Peak Team Members Stuart Peacock and Sherpas Phurba Ridar Bhote and Mingma Nuru Sherpa summited Broad Peak today at 2.45pm. Ralph Greenway and high altitude porter Ibraham reached 7860m. Well done to all.

Expedition Leader Dave Pritt and Chris Mothersdale turned round at 6700m due to extremely cold feet having just purchased Scarpa Phantom 8000m boots which proved to be very poor. Has anyone else had similar experiences?

Dispatches

Background

K2/Broadpeak Expedition 2004

K2 Team  
Dave Pritt (Expedition leader)
Chris Mothersdale  
Stuart Peacock  
Ralph Greenway  
Phurpa Ridar Bhote (Our climbing Sherpa from Nepal)
Mingma Nura Sherpa (Our 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 option.

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 Concordia at 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 altitude.

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 summit.

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 afternoon.

This is the plan!

Chris Mothersdale May 2004.

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