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 Italian expedition Everest/K2 2004 expedition


What route have K2 2004 mountaineers chosen to summit Everest?

K2-2004: Mt Everest via the North Ridge

It is one amongst Tibetan side most popular routes. In 1960, Mt Everest was successfully climbed for the first time by a Chinese expedition via the North ridge. In the framework of “K2 2004 – 50 years later” Project, the double expedition of Mount K2 will be preceded by the ascent of Mount Everest from the Tibetan side. The chosen itinerary through the North - Northeast Ridge, is one amongst the most popular as well as the goal of the first British expedition.

The route from the Base Camp (5170 m) follows Rongbuk glacier and crosses the junction with Changtse Glacier. It is then possible to reach the Advanced Base Camp (or ABC - 6400 m), placed at the base of Changtse. Mountaineers spend the night at the Intermediate Camp (around 5820 m).

The route afterwards proceeds from the ABC to the North Col (7066 m) where, in a wind protected depression, it is possible to set up the first high camp (Camp I). A more or less pronounced ridge stretches from the North Col up to the North East ridge. Here, at an altitude comprised between 7560 m and 7800 m, one will find a mixed rock/scree terrain where it is possible to pitch a tent (Camp 2).

The route passes over a series of rocky ledges on the Northwestern side of the mountain. After a few rocky steps (technically quite easy) the place of Camp 3 (8200-8300 m) is reached and afterwards one will have to climb over the yellow band, a limestone band.

On the ridge there are 3 characteristic obstacles (The Three Steps) which comprise the technical difficulty of the route. The First Step (8530 m) is a short climb at large boulders.  After that comes a particularly exposed traverse on a rocky terrain which dominates the huge northwest face.

From here it is possible to reach the foot of the Second Step (8610 m) which is divided in two parts: the lower consists of large boulders which in free climbing would correspond to the grade III.  Above a steep snow gulley, a famous ladder, four or five meters high, was put to ease the climb of a gripless vertical slab.

The traverse at the end of the ladder, although not very long, is the most difficult part of the ascent. The Third Step is obviously easier than the other two and is 10 m high. Afterwards you have to go up towards a triangular snowy plateau, which is not the final one. It will have to be left to the right at ¾  height.

It is than possible to approach an horizontal traverse of around 100 m, to the right and after some sandstone bands you can reach the proper summit plateau. The snowy ridge leads then to a summit which is found beyond a couple of hillocks.

copyright Italian expedition Everest/K2 2004 expedition Expedition

Dispatches

 
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