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  Stuart Peacock K2 & Broad Peak Expedition 2004 Dispatch 8

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 sights.

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 covered.

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.

Stu summited Everest and made a movie in which he filmed most of the route click on the picture below to see more about this video (DVD and VHS).



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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