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  United Kingdom British K2 & Broad Peak Expedition 2004 Update 1

19/06/04: We were told by Samander our Hushe Treks rep that the days walk to Urdukas would be the hardest day. Travelling over undulating moraine for most of the journey. It actually turned out to be not so bad and we arrived at Udukas in good time.

The camp is situated on terraced levels with the impressive summit of Urdukas peak behind. The only problem we have had at these camps is the dust, it gets into everything and dries your throat. However it's nice to have decent facilities on the approach to base camp.

On the 19th we had a slightly later start of 6.00am still far too early for my liking. Today was to be an easier day,travelling over a slightly more level Baltoro Glacier. The sun was blasting down on us but the clouds seemed to be clinging to some of the surrounding peaks. Masherbrum kept it's head in the clouds, Mustagh came into view for a spell. Eventually we rounded a corner and got our first sight of Gasherbrum 4, at first only a silhouette in the mist, eventually revealing itself through the clouds. To its right Mitre Peak, too its left Golden Peak. Barely visible through the cloud further left the summit of Broad Peak.

After arriving at Goro 2, our camp on the glacier for the night. We relaxed and looked at some of the surrounding peaks. Suddenly there was an almighty crash and an avalanche came down from one of the peaks. Very impressive from the safety of our camp several kilometres away. Tomorrow all being well we shall at Broad Peak base camp. Although it requires another early start, which I'm not looking forward to.

Dave is about 4 days behind us, today should be is first day trekking from Askole.

Regards, Stu.

17/06/04: Well after travelling overland to Skardu and then by jeep to Askole, we started our trek towards Broad Peak base camp on the 15th. Askole itself wasn't a particularly pleasant place to stay, but was fine for one night. There has been a lot of work done to the other camps as far as Urdukas, in that they have good sanitation and bins to separate waste as well as camp management. Askole is due to be developed for next years season.

The trek to the Jhola camp takes about 5.5 hours with a 1.5 hours dinner stop, this was made at the junction with the Biafo Glacier. The weather turned a bit miserable and eve started to rain a little bit.

Arriving at the camp we were amazed to see how much effort has been made to prevent further damage to the environment. Toilets, washing facilities, solar charged lighting for the night, recycle bins and an incinerator as well as replantation of trees.

In the evening the clouds lifted and we spent some time looking at a very impressive peak on the other side of the valley, working out possible routes on to the knife edge summit ridge.

On the 16th we had another early start on our trek to Paju. This was a slightly shorter day. It started with some spots of rain, and it looked like it was going to get worse. Fortunately it didn't and soon the clouds broke, before we new it we were in the baking sun. Just after passing a military encampment we stopped for another delicious dinner, after which we ad the final two hour walk into camp.

Paju sits amongst a cluster of trees, so is well sheltered from the sun. Paju is at a height of 3480m , here we are having a rest day for the porters and allowing us time to acclimatise.

We're still having problems charging the laptop. Hopefully this will be sorted when Dave joins us at base camp.

It will take another 3 days to reach base camp. Tomorrow we head up to Urdukas, which should take around 7 hours. En route, weather dependant , we should see some of the most technically challenging mountains in the world. Ralph will no doubt be looking for future base jumping possibilities

14/06/04: We are now camped above the river at Askole. It took us 7 hours to drive the 106km from Skardu and looking back at the tracks we have come up I think we made good time. It now feels like we are on our way, we have left the fields behind and are now surrounded by snow capped peaks. On asking the guides what the local peaks are they tell us not to worry they are only small mountains, most are unnamed. The map shows them as around 5500m.

On looking back at the last few days, we were disappointed to be driving in to Skardu not flying (weather and road closures all conspired against us and meant the flights were over booked), but I believe the 3 long days we've spent on the road have been worth it for the places we've seen along our way. Flying out would be nice though.

Tomorrow we start our week long trek to base camp.


13/06/04: Skardu is the last of the big towns on our route and the end of the tarmac roads, that we seem to have spent so much of the last few days on. Here we swapped our mini bus for jeeps.

The team spent the morning sorting final admin and doing some last minute shopping in the bazaar, before heading out for a relaxing afternoon exploring the local area. Our liaison office Captain Hassan did us proud by managing to convince the local officials to open their offices and by getting all our paper work signed. Not bad for a Sunday...........

12/06/04: We breakfasted at 9:00am and were relieved to see Chris feeling much better.

After breakfast the hotel shop owner was trying to get us to buy some maps of the Karakorum for $12 each. Well Let's just say Poker-Faced Mothersdale drives a hard bargain and we left the shop owner in tears, having bought 4 maps for $5 each.

We restocked with water and then set out on our 7 hour journey to Skardu, along the way stopping to get some pictures of The North Face of Nanga Parbat and surrounding areas. The landscape is quite arid with high mountains, albeit foothills, on both sides of the River Indus. Along the way we had a quick stop by a monument which marks the point at which the 3 great mountain ranges of the Hindu Kush, Himalyas & Karakorum meet. Then it was back in our bus to Tricko where we planned to have our pack lunches.

We passed through Shangri La, which is just outside Skardu. Here the Indus opens up into what was up until last year a big lake, now it is mostly sandbanks, although still very picturesque. Finally we reached our journeys end. We are staying at the Pioneer hotel which is a nice hotel, although we lost the electricity a couple of times last night and so started our evening meal with headtorches.

While still feeling enthusiastic and organised we sorted out the barrels and personal kit so that none weighed more than 25kg, which is the limit for the porters.

We also met the Cook & Pakistani High Altitude Porter who will be joining us on our merry journey.


11/06/04: We left Islamabad at 10:00am and headed out on our 450km, 14 hour journey to Chillas part way along the Karakorum Highway. The road is better than expected although still a little bit bumpy in places. At one point we stopped for some photos looking down on to the Indus and here we had our first victim to succumb to the dodgy tummy. Chris was sick a few times, this we have put down to him midnight snacking at the Conference room on his floor in the hotel after we had been out for a drink. Those nasty can !!!!

Don't worry though we've put him on Nil food by mouth for the day and just fluids.

We reached Balham at 6:00pm and stopped for dinner, Chris flaked out and stayed to Pepsi, while Ralph and myself opted for Chicken Chow mein. The food has been excellent so far, although I'm sure we're all going to have our turn at being ill... it's only fair!

We had the choice to stay at Bisham with Chris feeling ill, but Chris insisted we carry on to Chillas, even though it was still another 4 hours' drive. Well Chris did a sterling job of keeping what was left of his stomach contents in his stomach. Amazingly we reached Chillas right on time, to the very minute, at 12 midnight.

We were staying at the Chillas Inn and upon arriving were treated to a late, but welcome hot buffet tea, while Chris retreated to his room. The hotel itself was very pleasant, a far cry from the 5 star luxury in Islamabad, but good never the less.

PS. We only found out, late on the way to Chillas, that the driver had only had 2 hours sleep since the previous day, this unnerved us somewhat while travelling along the precipitous cliffs, but it has to be said he did a sterling job.



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 Concordiaat 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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