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  K2 2004: Andalucia K2 Expedition update

Journal of the last days of Andalucia K2 Expedition

This is the journal of the last days of Andalucía K2 Expedition, sponsored by Consejería de Comercio, Turismo y Deporte through Deporte Andaluz.  It has been written by the chief of the Expedition, Manuel González, from Málaga.

Andalucia Base Camp has been installed on K2 today, June 23

Andalucia Base Camp has been installed on the highest mountain of the Karakorum sierra.  The camp has been installed at 5,000 meters of altitude on the moraine of the Godwin Austen glacier, at the bottom of the formidable K2 pyramid, the "mountain of mountains".

800 kilos of materials are already at BC and we are waiting for the rest of the shipments, to end our organization tasks.

We have definitively installed our mess tent and warehouse today, and we completed the installation of the internal and satellite communications equipment; with the latter, we have communications with the rest of the world again and we can send our latest news.  Our objective is the climb what is considered the most difficult mountain on the planet, by the Southeast spur or Abruzzos spur.  It is an ascent that mixes vertical altitude (more than 3,400 meters from the start to the top), difficulty (mixed terrain on snow, ice and very steep rock), altitude (ends at 8,611 m.) and very harsh weather, usual on the Karakorum sierra.

The expedition headed by Kari Kobler has already installed the fixed lines up to C2

Last year we did the main work for installing equipment on the route and this one the expedition headed by Swiss Kari Kobler has already fixed the necessary lines to get to the second camp (C2).  This circumstance makes us plan our climb in a very different way and we hope to dedicate the following days, exclusively to stock the first two high altitude camps and to adapt to altitude.

It snows heavily on BC since yesterday

Ha have it all ready to make the first ascent to advanced base camp (ABC), although the continuous snowfall we are having since yesterday has stalled the climbers of numerous expeditions which are at BC.

Eight days of trekking to get to K2's base camp

On the 15th we left by all terrain vehicles to Askole, over a difficult route in very bad shape, taking us 8 hours for the journey; this route was built in 1991.  Askole is the last human settlement on the way to K2 and where porter are hired to carry each 25 kilos of materials, food and anything else which is needed for our climb.

16 loads are left in Askole because of lack of porters

Three expeditions arrived to the big valley where expeditions and excursions are installed, and there our problems began. We had serious difficulties to find porters.  There are many expeditions this year to K2 because of the 50th anniversary of the first ascent.  On the 16th we started our trek and we left behind 16 packages, with the open question of when will they arrive to BC.

From the first day of approach, bad weather has been with us, without stopping us from covering the planned phases:

DAY 15 Skardu - Askole, 8 hours.

DAY 16 Askole - Jhola (3,200 m).

DAY 17 Jhola - Paiju (3,635 m).

DAY 18 Acclimatization in Paiju.

DAY 19 Paiju - Urdukas (4,010 m).

DAY 20 Urdukas - Goro II.

DAY 21 Goro II - Proximities of Broad BC (4,700 m).

DAY 22 Proximities of Broad BC - K2's BC (5,000 m).  2 hours.

The trip was different from last year's because of the existence of toilets and electric light on most of the camps used on each phase.

The weather conditions prevented us from admiring the numerous mountains that raise on the margins of the Baltoro glacier, from Paiju to its beginning, a total of 57 kilometers.

To make the porter's way back easier, the last camp was made on the proximities of Broad peak BC, reaching K2's BC in just 2 hours, which made it possible for them to go back to Urdukas during the day.

The last member of the expedition joined us in Askole: Migma Sherpa

The expedition group was completed in Askole, where all the members of the team got together, as well as the Pakistanis who will be in BC like Migma Sherpa, 34 years old, who will join us for carrying tasks to the high altitude camps.

June 27, 2004

Blocked in BC for three days because of bad weather

Since our arrival to BC we have remained here without any acclimatization activities or any stocking of the high altitude camps, because of the continuous snowfalls, which have accumulated over thirty centimeters of snow on BC and we suppose that there is a great amount of snow on the higher zones of the mountain.

We have a radiant day this morning and during all the morning there have been avalanches, with spectacular clouds of snow dust; because of safety all the expeditions remain at BC, waiting for the successive avalanches to then start the altitude tasks safely.

Two meetings of chiefs of expeditions to agree on safety during the climb this season

There was a meeting yesterday at Kari Kobler's BC, where members of the different expeditions who are trying to climb the Abruzzos Spur route this season, talked about an agreement over three fundamental matters: the installation of equipment on the route, use of tents in higher altitudes, and a protocol in case of accidents.

During this meeting there were different opinions which made debates interesting, about installation of equipment and the use of tents: because of a proposal from TVE's team, it was agreed that a meeting should be held this morning among the seven expeditions who are willing to install the equipment on the route.  Following a proposal from ANDALUCIA K2, it was agreed that tents in high altitudes should be used exclusively in case of emergency and their shared use should be agreed between expeditions.  Following a proposal from Kari Kobler, it was agreed that in case of accident, information should be withheld for 48 hours, so that families could get first had true and direct news from the climbers.  A list of radio communications frequencies list will also be coordinated, the designation of a point in the dial in case of accident and a meeting of doctors to elaborate a protocol for action.

This morning, the work to install equipment on the route has been distributed as follows:

KARI KOBLER, ANDALUCIA K2, TVE AND CARLOS SORIA EXPEDITIONS: are responsible to install equipment of the second line of ropes between Advanced Base Camp (ABC) and C2, and to install signals between BC and ABC.

JAPANESE, TIBETAN, KOREAN AND IÑAKI OCHOA GROUP EXPEDITIONS: will install equipment on the Black Pyramid (C2-C3) and they wait for confirmation of cooperation from the Italian official expedition.

Coordination of equipment installation in higher altitude zones is still pending, because of the impossibility to have information, because of the disparity in the acclimatization of the climbers among the different groups.

All the expeditions value the safety of their climbers

The decision to rig the route with a double line of fixed lines was unanimous, and one of them will have a good quality rope.  This year many climbers are on this route and with this measure we will also speed up movements.

The 'fiesta' starts tomorrow

Everything is ready and we wait with impatience for tomorrow to get again on the skirts of K2.  It has been ten months since we left these lands and we are here again... ready and anxious to go back to the giant, with the hope that we can caress its throat in a friendly way.  A new adventure starts tomorrow for all of us, the reality of an unachieved dream starts tomorrow.  Let's hope Andalucia gets to the summit of K2!

June 30, 2004

The 'fiesta' has started  

Manuel Morales, Manuel González and Rai García del Moral, with the help of Migma, arrived yesterday at 9:30 to camp 1 (C1), helping Kari Kobler's Sherpas, opening the route and installing fixed lines; some sections of ropes were buried under the snow, after the continuous days of snowfalls.

All the expeditions lose their tents installed at C1

During our first climb to C1 we have seen the elevated number of climbers who are here this year, to get to this difficult summit.  The surprise of the day happened when we arrived to C1.  The scene was devastating, of the 14 tents that we should find at C1, we found only the remains of some: TVE had lost two of three tents, Kobler had lost two of five and so the rest of the expeditions.

Facing the situation of chaos we decided to install a tent, in a spectacular location, reduced but very safe.  Those who finished the installation of the tent and spend the first night there were Manuel Salazar and Fernando Fernández-Vivancos, who have had their first night of high altitude acclimatization above BC.  We all met at BC today and we have been having personal hygiene.  The globe tent was installed on the snow and when it melted because of the current weather, we found ourselves uncomfortable.

To stock C2 and to enhance altitude acclimatization, the objectives for the next days

Good weather is forecasted for the next days and Manuel Morales and I leave tomorrow to C1, with the intention of installing C2 and to complete the installation of equipment that TVE's team could have left pending.  Salazar, Fenando and Rai will join this work on July 2.  Our objectives for the next Sunday are to install and stock C2, to enhance our acclimatization and to have Migma carry the first load to C3.

July 4, 2004

First leg of acclimatization completed and C2 is almost ready

From day 1 we have sustained intense activities in high altitude, that have not produced the optimistic plans we made in the previous report, but have been useful days to enhance our acclimatization and to have all the necessary materials for C2, stocked in C2's location or under House Chimney very close to C2.

These days we have tried to follow our commitment to install equipment and on day 2, we checked and cleaned the anchoring ends of the ropes, finishing the job made by TVE's team, installing the second line of ropes.  We still want to install 100 meters more of the second line in a section which has a bad quality rope.

The climbers are in good physical conditions and Karakorum's meteorology stops them from completing the installation of the fixed lines on the Black Pyramid.  The ascents that the climbers have made for acclimatization have confirmed their good physical conditions.  We have to note the characteristics of the wind above 6,400 meters.  It has not been possible to install the ropes on the Black Pyramid to get to C3.  So far, 350 meters have been installed by the Tibetan expedition and we have no news that none of the other teams have made any progress.

We left a new load of materials under the Chimney yesterday while Migma made it the C2 again.  Because of the current weather conditions and the forecast we decided to go down to BC.  The strong wind on C2, confirmed by Migma, made it impossible to install a tent and there has been a strong snowfall of this morning.  We will have a new weather forecast, although everything says we will be at BC at least three days. Javier Blázquez

Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera

The expedition is organized by Federación Andaluza de Montañismo, Club Alpino Ama Dablam (San Pedro Alcantara), Club Montañero Sierra del Pinar (Jerez de la Frontera) and Club de Aire Libre Treparriscos (Granada), and sponsored by Consejería de Turismo, Comercio y Deporte of Junta de Andalucía, through Deporte Andaluz, Ayuntamiento de Jerez, and also Tenencia de Alcaldía de San Pedro Alcantara and Delegaciones Municipales de Juventud y Deportes, Cultura y Turismo del Ayuntamiento de Marbella.


Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera

Altitech2: 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 battery. See more here.



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