Several Days Updates
K2 Diary 28/06/04: Today we
finally set off for camp 1 on broad peak. The weather was good; we had
breakfast at 4.00am, a very unsociable hour of the day. There were a few teams
that were heading up today. We had some delays due to anchors on some of the
fixed line. The route itself goes up through reasonably steep couloirs,
topping out at around 5200m. Camp 1 was said to be at 5400m, however it was
obvious from the top of the couloirs that it was much higher.
From the couloirs we headed
up a 45 degree snow field, there was a lot of avalanche debris from the heavy
snows the previous week. It was only after two thirds of the way up we found
the fixed line which had been buried by the avalanches.
I finally rolled into camp at
10.00am, a bit dehydrated due to my camelback freezing in the early hours.
Dave had been ahead and when I arrived I helped to clear and enlarge the tent
platforms. We just managed to get 3 cramped tents onto our ledge; space at
camp 1 is a bit of a premium especially with so many teams on the mountain
29/06/04: Another early
start, this time heading to camp 2 at 6200m. Again due to the previous week's
snow conditions, most of the fixed line was buried. The terrain is mainly 45 -
50 degree snow slopes, with the odd steep section. Navigation down would be
very difficult in bad weather if there were no ropes; thankfully folk are
clearing the ropes when they head down. I got into camp at 10.00am; gps height
read just over 6300m. Again the next problem was to find suitable places for
the tents. This we finally managed after 3 hours digging and clearing. Once
again space for tents on the ridge is few and far between, teams have to
spread out thin, looking for any sheltered areas.
30/06/04: The Sherpas made a
carry & help fix line towards camp 3 with the Swiss (c7000m - 7200m);
unfortunately deep snow prevented them getting any further than 6700m, so a
stash was made there. We had a bit of a lazy day adjusting to the altitude. We
all had a bit of a short walk, Ralph & myself pushed up to 6415m at which
point the snow ridge angle eases off.
July 01: We spent two nights
at camp 2 before heading back down to Base Camp for 3 days rest. The descent
wasn't too bad, however the sun was very hot and it made for thirsty work. The
fixed line in the couloirs was fixed a bit too tight so abseiling was not
practical and required some trusty hand wrapping to descend.
It was good to get back to BC
and gorge ourselves on Pringles & Pepperami and a bottle of Pepsi.
July 2: The weather was still
reasonable, so I made it a bit of a wash day clothes & self, which was sorely
needed. Did a little bit of light reading and generally just chilled out. The
porters give us some entertainment in the evening with more songs accompanied
this time with not just barrel drums but with a three piece goat skin timpani
set. It appears that not a single bit of the poor old Billie has been wasted.
July 3: We spent this morning
having a play with the new oxygen system, checking how it all fits together
and trying out the nasal canular & mask. The plan so far is that in the next
couple of days we will go back up the hill with the intention of getting to
camp 3 and then possibly make a summit attempt. I have decided to take the
oxygen up with me and make my decision weather to use it at camp 3. Although
Broad Peak is only just over 8000m (8047m), we have only had a short time at
altitude, so oxygen may be necessary if an attempt is made so soon. Otherwise
we will stay at Camp 3 for a night and then descend to BC in order to make a
later summit bid. Regards, Stu.
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