Several Days Updates
K2 Diary: Hi Folks, Long time
no mail. Well as you may, or may not have heard, I've been busy on Broad Peak
and only got down to Base Camp yesterday. Although we had only acclimatised to
Camp 2 (c6300m) after 4 days rest at BC a window of opportunity appeared for a
possible summit bid. So we headed back up the mountain with the summit in our
Conditions on the hill were
good and re-ascending to camp 1 & 2 did not prove any real problems. Dave and
Chris re-fixed some of the line in the couloirs to make it easier to descend
and some bits that had worn through use.
We had decided to place Camp
3 as high as possible in order to shorten the summit day. So we looked to
place the camp at 7300m. 1000m of ascent is a fare old whack at that altitude
and the snow conditions made it heavy going. We set off early (Have I
mentioned how much I hate early starts !) from Camp 2, it was a very cold
morning heading up the ridge and soon our feet & hands became blocks of ice. I
had to stop regularly to put my hands in my armpits to warm them up.
Dave & Chris were suffering
more so with there feet, finally they decided to call it a day and turn round.
Ralph, myself & the sherpas carried on. At around 6700m we reached the cache
which the sherpas had left the week previous. Here we had time to sort kit out
and re-organise what was needed for our reduced team. Thankfully after about
15 minutes the sun eventually appeared and with it brought the heat essential
to thaw our chilled cores.
Once organised we headed up a
head wall which was traversed rightwards at the top, again snow conditions
made this hard work. Once atop of this we then followed the ridge above to
camp 3, stopping at the Austrian camp (c7000m) for break. We eventually
arrived into camp 3 mid afternoon, we pitched the tents and set to work
boiling snow for drinks & food in readiness for our 4.30am summit day start
the next morning. Behind the tents lay our route up the huge snow field
towards the col and then hang a right along the ridge to the summit,
sounds straight forward enough...
We woke at 3.30am, made some
hot drinks and ate a couple of cereal bars for breakfast. Then it was up and
out, the Swiss team had already started breaking trail and were making good
progress in the deep snow. However time passed us by and we seemed never to
get any closer to the col. Eventually our progress was halted by a series of
crevasses. Our sherpas had brought up some fixed line and it was made possible
to jump a section of the crevasse, however it had taken considerable time to
set up. After much more snow trudging we finally came around a corner
and were faced with the impending snow slope which culminated in the col.
Looking at my watch and then at what lay before us, I was conscious that we
would be cutting it fine for time.
The people breaking trail in
front appeared to be going nowhere fast, it was looking unlikely we would
reach the summit in good time. Then all of a sudden a fixed line from the
previous year was found and appeared to still be in good condition. This
helped speed things up, and we were soon on our way to the col.
We reached the col at around
12.30pm, it had been tiring work, more so for those who broke trail. Ralph had
decided enough was enough, content with his new height record of 7860m. I did
not want him to go down on his own, so was about to agree to retreat, when
Ibrahim our Pakistani High Altitude Porter said he would go down with Ralph.
The Sherpas Purba & Sonam were already set and ready to go, so that was it the
summit was indeed a possibility. There was no doubt I was tired from the
increased altitude and the arduous snow conditions, but I felt I had it in me
to make the final assault on the ridge.
Depending on conditions along
the ridge some people will only manage the first summit which is
only several meters lower than the true summit. On our day the conditions were
good although cloud had started to form on the Eastern face of Broad Peak. The
ridge is awkward, with exposed rock scrambling and some short steep gullies.
It is undulating and I thought it would never end. After three hours (3.30pm)
we finally arrived on the summit 8047m with no oxygen, but sadly no views
could be had, this was disappointing but "you can't win 'em all" as they
say. So after a couple of quick photos, which could have been staged anywhere,
we headed back down.
It took around an hour and a
half to get back to the col. It was 7:15pm when we literally rolled back into
camp (I missed my footing and forward rolled past the tent). KNACKERED !!!!
With the conditions under
foot, harder than Everest of that no doubt ! The next day we planned to
descend, conditions were bad with near zero visibility, it was extremely hard
work and very slow going. The GPS proved very useful were we had to descend on
to the head wall above the cache. We arrived at camp 2, I was exhausted due to
little food & drink and the previous days events. So we holed up in one
of our tents, while Ralph knocked up a boil in the bag surprise (The surprise
being he'd taken it out of the bag and boiled it in the pan, along with some
noodles), this hit the spot and once again Peacock was running on half empty
However it was enough to make
it down to Camp 1 where a more comfortable night could be had. Ralph decided
that he was going to carry on down to BC concerned with the cough he had
picked up. I could not face anymore walking and so along with the sherpas
stayed at camp 1. After a boil in the bag washed down with several brews I
fell into a very deep sleep. I was awoken at 11:00pm by a Swiss Porter,
blinded by his head torch he told me his colleague gone snow blind and could I
suggest something out of the medical kit he had. Unfortunately it was all in
German, there were the obvious HAPE & HACE drugs and other medicines but
nothing obvious. So I told him to take some Ibuprofen and keep his eyes
In the morning he could still
not see clearly, so between Ibrahim and myself we made sure he got down the
fixed line safely. Amazingly he still managed to carry his load. We finally
arrived back at BC just before 12 noon, it felt good to have the team
re-united once more.
11 people summited on the 8th
July, as far as I know I am the only Brit, as yet no more successful summit
attempts have been made, although there are teams still preparing. As for
what's next, well we're only half way through. The really big challenge lies
ahead ... K2
I'm feeling good considering
what I've just been through, except my lips are chapped to buggery !! (sorry
if that causes IT department nightmares but they really are sore) We are
having a couple of rest days before moving BC. All being well, we will move to
K2 BC on 13th July. Due to the early weather window on Broad Peak, we are
actually ahead of schedule, however there is some bad weather forecast
so we shall just have to bide our time.
Well I can't think of
anything else to rant on about so, Chin-Chin For Now, Stu.
Digital Altimeter, Barometer, Compass and Thermometer. Time/Date/Alarms.
Chronograph with 24 hour working range. Timer with stop, repeat and up
function. Rotating Bezel. Leveling bubble. Carabiner latch. E.L. 3 second
backlight. Water resistant. 4" x 2-1/4" x 3/4" 2 oz. Requires 1 CR2032
See more here.