Sunday, October 5, 2008
The first article is by Michael Kodas, writing for Outside. Outside decided to put the article online and I am not sure if it will be in the magazine.
The second article is by Matthew Power, and will appear in the November issue of Men’s Journal.
I contributed photo’s for both pieces. I also believe Rock and Ice will be doing a piece, but I have not heard of the publication date.
Thank you for your support during the climb and after. As with anything in life, you never do it alone. You might be on the mountain by yourself, but there is a team that is supporting you. The encouragement, thoughts, and prayers I received during the climb were absolutely essential to my success, and my decision to turnaround.
The question I keep receiving is what is next? That is a great question and one I hope to have an answer for soon.
Climb Hard, Climb High, COME HOME!!!
Saturday, August 16, 2008
August 1, 2008
All I can do is share with you my perspective of the events that happened, and my role within them. My intention is not criticize or be critical of anyone, in fact I hold all the people who were involved in the deepest respect. The last that most of you know we were on a summit attempt.
Our target summit date was July 31st, but we were delayed in Camp 2 by high winds. On July 30th on the way to camp 3 I was hit in the helmet by a chunk of ice that stunned me for a moment and perhaps knocked me out. I am not sure. The winds were really bad at camp 3 as well, and I do not think that many people had a good nights sleep. Our summit team which consisted of Fredrik Strang, Eric Meyer, Chirring Dorje, and myself left Camp 3 on the morning of July 31st to head up to camp 4. After about an hour of hiking on the way to camp 4 I started to have a headache and felt it was best I turn around and see if the headache would go away. I went back down to camp 3 passing the Norwegian team on my descent and crawled into our tent at Camp 3. There I drank a liter of water and slept for two hours. Upon waking up I felt great and headed up to camp 4 and made it there in three hours.
It was about 2pm in the afternoon and we started to get our water and food ready for our summit bid. The plan was that the lead team would leave at 10 pm and would start fixing the line in the bottleneck. Most of the members of the lead team were planning on being on oxygen except for a few people. Meanwhile, our team would and leave approximately 3 hours behind the fixing team to begin our summit bid. We would not be using oxygen although we had a bottle with us in case of emergency. So our original plan was to leave at 1am and start our summit bid. We figured it would take us approximately 5 hours to reach the bottleneck traverse section, putting us there at 6 am as the sun was hitting it. Then it would take two hours to traverse the bottleneck, and an additional 5 hours to reach the summit. Putting our upward push to the summit at 12 hours. The descent we figured would take approximately 6 hours. Putting our total summit day at 18 hours, and getting us back into camp 4 safely before dark. The lead team did not depart C4 until almost 12:30 am and there appeared to be confusion surrounding the equipment used to fix the route. At this time we decided a 1 am start was not a good idea for us and we pushed it back to 3 am. We heard the lead team leave, and Chirring Dorje decided that his help would be needed in securing the route and he decided to leave with the lead team. At approximately 1:30 am we heard several other teams leaving, we assumed it was the Dutch and Korean teams leaving. We also heard another team leave around 2am and we assumed it was the Norwegians. We decided to push back our departure time again because we did not want to get stuck in a line behind all the teams. We finally departed camp 4 at 3:30am. It was a risk because even if everything went perfect we would not be returning to camp 4 until after dark at 10 pm. But I was figuring that we still would be able to start and finish the bottleneck before dark. Which to us was the most critical aspect of the climb.
Even though I was not on O2, I was feeling strong and making good progress up to the bottleneck. I reached the other teams in approximately 3 hours at the start of the Bottleneck Colouir. At this point I turned around and saw that Fred and Eric had turned around and headed back to camp 4. I still felt good about my summit chances and I was not in radio contact with Eric and Fred. I was within speaking of distance of Chirring. Chirring and I were both carrying radios for the team. Eric and Fred carried Sat Phones. Since Eric and Chirring had been climbing together and Fred and I had been climbing together we figured this insured our ability to communicate with the others. Since they had departed together and gave no signs that they were in any distress I continued on my way.
When I had reached the other group, I realized that there were some logistical issues with rope and I started sending up rope from the lower and gentler slopes up to where it was needed. I tried to count the line up of climbers ahead of me and realized that it was over 20 climbers. The line was at standstill and I waited for almost 2 hours. At this point the sun had come out and it was beautiful and hot day at 8100m. I unzipped my down suit and took off the top and wrapped it around my waist. I continued to climb for about another 45 minutes. It was at this point that I realized a few things. One that the line of climbers was not moving in an expedient manner towards the summit, and that the there was no way I was going to make my 5 hour cutoff to be in the bottleneck. I looked at my watch and realized that it was almost 10 am. Much to late to be able to cross the bottleneck, reach the summit and return to the bottleneck before dark. I also started to have a slight headache, which I attributed to the sun beating down on us. At this point, I made the decision to turn around.
I believe I was around 8150m. My upward progress was not happening because the line of climbers in front of me was waiting for the line to be fixed. I turned around and started heading back to camp 4. On the descent my headache grew worse and started to become a pounder. I continued to descend as quickly and safely as I could. I reached C4 about 11:30 am and talked with Eric our team doctor and made the decision it would be best for me to continue to descend. At about this time we heard from Roberto that there was an accident and that he saw someone fall. It was about another 20minutes when we learned that a Serbian climber had fallen. Eric and Fred took off after we received a report on the radio that the Serbian was moving to see if they could be of assistance.
I continued to hydrate in the tent and started to prepare for descent in case I had AMS. Roberto with the Italian team also was having some issues and we decided to descend together for safety. Fred and Eric meanwhile were continuing the ascent to the fallen Serbian climber. Who was 2-3 hours above camp 4. Roberto was packing, so I watched the slow progress of the climbers up the mountain. At this point it was about 1 pm and there were one or two climbers who had completed the traverse. Two Serbian climbers had descended to help the fallen climber and one Pakistani high altitude porter (HAP) had also descended to help. The remaining climbers continued on their ascent to the summit. The line through the bottleneck seemed huge and choked with climbers with dangerous seracs overhanging the route.
About 1:30pm Roberto and I took off to start our descent. We descended to camp 3. At the midway point I looked up and saw that the line of climbers was still in the bottleneck and commented to Roberto that it was taking them a really long time and that there was no way they would be back to that point before dark. I continued down to camp 2 and met with Mike Farris as I was descending. He offered me some water and informed me that the Serbian was dead and that the Hap had fallen to his death as they were trying to lower the body. I was shocked at the sudden loss of life, but it was merely foreshadowing for what was to come about in the next 24 hours.
I continued my descent with the plan of reaching ABC before dark where Deedar our cook was going to meet me with tea and food and help me return to base camp after the long descent over very technical terrain. I reached ABC at about 7:30pm, where I changed boots, drank tea, and packed up some gear to return to BC. We reached BC at about 9:30-10:00pm.
Where I met with Chris Warner and learned that Chirring had not yet returned from the summit. I am not sure if Chris told me about Rolf (Norwegian) falling to his death or not. But I know I learned that shortly after arriving in BC. It was not until later that I learned that it was an avalanche that had taken Rolf and also severed the fixed line within the Bottleneck. I decided it would be best to wait up and see when Chirring returned to C4. At about 11:30pm we received a radio call from Chirrring stating that the fixed lines had been severed in the bottleneck. He stated that he was going to continue down the mountain to C4.
I radioed Eric and Fred and asked them to stick their heads outside the tent and see how many lights they could see. They said that there were at least 9 above the bottleneck that they could see. I asked them to start searching c4 for rope and oxygen and to see if it would be possible to mount a rescue with rope and supplies to the bottleneck. There did not appear to be any rope in c4 at that time. In fact no additional rope was to be had at C4.
I and Roeland (Dutch started having a discussion about what would be the best course of action to get more supplies up the mountain. )I tried to raise the Singaporeans at C3 but there radio was off. At this point we were in the tent with the Koreans and also monitoring their broadcasts. We were asking them if they had any additional rope at C4 and they did not, and if they had oxygen which they did. At about 12:30 am Chirring radioed and said that he was in the couloir descending to C4. I radioed Eric and Fred at camp 4 and told them to start brewing. We received a radio call at 1:30 pm saying that Chirring and Pemba were approaching C4. We did not know that Little Pasang and Korean Chirring were also with them at this point. Roland was anxious about his other teammates. At about 2:00 pm we received word that Cas was approaching C4 and we told him to knock on the American tent for hot water. He went to his own tent and started brewing to await the arrival of the others. At about 3:30am Roland received a message from Holland saying that Wilco, Marco, and Gerard were Bivying above the bottleneck together for the night. At this point I could no longer keep my eyes open and went to bed for a few hours. I awoke the next morning at 5 am and woke Roland up and started to try and figure out where everyone was on the mountain.
August 2, 2008
Roeland and I went to the Korean Tent to see if they had any news from anyone on the mountain. At that point there was no new information. At about 7 am we received word from Holland that Wilco and Marco were on the move and descending through the Bottleneck together.(This later turned out to false) This was received via a satellite phone call. I decided that we needed to set up a Base of operations for what apparently was going to be an extended Rescue operation on the mountain and we picked the Dutch Base Camp because it was Central in the camp. We set up several radios to monitor all the different frequencies that groups were operating their radios. We radioed to Pemba and our team and told them that Wilco and Marco were descending. They were looking for them to come down, but clouds had started to descend and visibility was not as high as the day before. Earlier we had received an update there was still 8 people above the bottleneck.
Around 10 am we received we word that Marco and Wilco were through the bottleneck and were continuing down the mountain. Somehow the two of them got separated and the next message we received said that he was below camp 4 in a colouir and moving south at about 7800m. My times times still need to be confirmed so that I can insure accuracy on the sequence of events, but they are roughly accurate. The next significant movement came as two Korean sherpa's were going up to try and help those stuck in the coulior. They found Marco lying in the snow. Pemba and Cas went up to help Marcos down. He found Marco lying in the snow at about 2:30pm. He got Marco up and moving and as he did so a chunk of ice came flying down and hit Marco in the back of the head. Pemba was able to keep Marco moving, but he also observed that in the avalanche debris was Big Pasang, Jumiq, and a Korean Climber. Pemba informed us that there was a large serac avalanche that had happened and that three people were dead. He tried to raise Wilco on the Sat Phone and reached him. Wilco said he was okay but that he was at 7800m according to his watch and still moving south. At base camp we are radioing and trying to figure out where the remaining members are at this point. At this point we had 5 dead confirmed by eyewitness. 3 that we have no word of where they are on the mountain, and 3 we know where they are in theory but not updates on their condition, 1 that is being transported to C4, and 1 lost on the mountain but in contact.
Roeland and I start gathering people together to figure out who is in a condition to go back up the mountain. At about 5:45 pm the clouds lift and I am able to spot Wilco on the mountain on the south face underneath a snow coulior. I call everyone over and we confirm that it looks like Wilco but because we do not have direct contact with him we cannot verify that it is him. We radio Pemba and Cas at C4 and they start preparing to descend the Spanish route to try and intercept and signal him over to the correct route. Meanwhile our team is arriving in C2 and descending as a group. We continue to watch Wilco through the telescope until it is dark and start getting updates on Marco's condition. It appeared that Marco might have frostbite and a laceration on the back of the head. We start trying to figure out how many people are still in C4. We have 6 Koreans and 2 Korean Sherpas. Pemba and Cas are leaving for C3 on the Spanish Route, and they’re two Italian HAP's with Marco.
The Koreans state that they will leave in the morning with the remaining members and Marco and his HAP. It is from the Koreans that we learn that two other members of their team are dead. This is about 7 pm. We also get confirmation on the two Sherpa's and 1 Korean that Pemba reported earlier in the day. We still have no word on the Frenchman, Gerard, and Karim. At this point we start watching the descending headlamps of Cas and Pemba coming down from Camp 4 and we are trying to communicate the last known position of Wilco on the south face. We also start trying to formulate a plan for finding the other members who are not accounted for at this point .I dispatch our cook Deedar to head up to ABC with Bashir our waiter to help our team descend. Chris Warner also goes up to ABC to await their arrival. The American team from Broadpeak also shows up to help at some point, which consists of Andy, Chuck, and Dave. Our team arrives into Base camp at about 2:30am in the morning. Shortly before they arrive Pemba radio's me and tells me that Cas has not come into Camp 3. This was the first that I knew Pemba and Cas were not descending together. Pemba meanwhile tells me that he can hear Wilco's sat phone ringing but it is out on an avalanche prone slope and he does not feel safe crossing in the dark. I concur with his assessment and encourage him to get some sleep. At which point the lights in C3 go off for the night. I stay up with our team until 4 am and then await the arrival of dawn to see if I can see Wilco on the snow slope again and possibly Cas.
Aug 3rd, 2008
At about 5:15am there is enough light and I spot Wilco about 300 meters to the west of C3 and 100 m above. Jose from the Serbian Team spots Cas descending the fix lines above C3. We try and awake Pemba but his radio is off at this point so we simply wait for Cas to reach C3 and wake Pemba. When Cas reaches the tent we start radioing them again. We ask them to start yelling Wilco's name and when they do we see Wilco respond by standing up. We start directing them to his location because they still are not in line of sight of each other. Wilco is proceeding across the snow slope above the Serac by punching his fists into the snow, and front pointing across the slope. He is moving in the direction of Cas who has started out across the snow slope. Pemba is getting dressed to go out and help him. They come together about 150 m from C3 and we get a radio call that Wilco is okay but may have frostbite on his feet. Cas at this point also has frost bite on his hands. Wilco gets into the tent and we await more updates on his and Cas 's condition. Meanwhile we get word the Koreans have left C4 and started and started to descend to the mountain. Marco and his 2 HAPS also left but are moving much slower. It is not until the early afternoon that we realize Marco will need more help to get down the mountain. I ask the group who is able to go up and George Dimerescu says he can go and he might be able to get his two sherpas to go with him. He decides he will leave that evening with two bottles of oxygen and his sherpas. Wilco, Cas, and Pemba meanwhile have started to descend the mountain under their own power and feel that they can make it down without additional assistance. But we will need to fix about 400m of line below camp 1 to help them in their descent. A team of Roeland, Chris Warner, Yelled(Dutch), Jose (Serbian), and one other leave BC with rope to fix the lines. Meanwhile I start setting up the Dutch Tent as a triage center to treat their frostbite, Eric Meyer prepares a new drug to help treat their frostbite, and we await their arrival. George decides to leave early the next morning because of the Koreans descending and the risk of rock fall is so high on the Abruzzi route.
The great news is that Marco, Cas, and Wilco got down to base camp and were treated for their frostbite. We had set up a Triage Tent for the Dutch, and were able to help them get comfortable to await their helicopter transport. Almost our entire team went up to help Marco down from ABC to BC. We also treated him for his frostbite and then he was coppered out the next morning.
The unfortunate news is that at the end of 3 days, we had 11 people who had died on K2. The cause of death for some is still unknown and may never be known. For others they experienced Mother Nature at her worst and paid the highest price. The lesson I have learned from this experience is that even when things are perfect, i.e. the weather, there are still many other things that can go wrong. Serac falls, avalanche, and other things that extend beyond your control. You must always be aware of your surroundings. I am incredibly proud to be part of our team, and to know that we extended all ourselves and our resources to others on the mountain to help in a time of need.
MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED WITHOUT EXPRESS WRITTEN CONSENT
Monday, August 11, 2008
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Keep in mind that other sites might be posting information. Please do not believe everything you read and wait until you hear from us to know what happens with us.
Climb Hard, Climb High, COME HOME!!!!!!
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Then it is a break for lunch at about 12:30pm typically pokara or samosa's which are tasty. Then it is figuring out what we will do for the afternoon. Yesterday, a group hiked over to Broad Peak Base Camp to socialize, while I stayed here to sort some stuff out for a summit attempt if the weather ever breaks. But ended up entertaining a group of french trekkers, climbers from Broad Peak, and several climbers from the camp. It seems everyone is a little restless waiting for weather and the big question on everyone's mind is what will happen with the weather. I also provided some photo's of the route to a french journalist, who knows my pics might end up in a french climbing magazine.
So my afternoon was full of visits and updates on what is happening on other mountains. Then it was dinner, which was pizza with hand made dough made by Sayad. Delicious. Then there was a rumour that our cook, DeeDar was going to turn out dining tent into a disco for the evening. But it ended up being a rumour. The party was held at the serbian tent with porters playing music on home made drums. Typ;ically we might have amovie nite where 8-15 people crowd into a cook or dining tent and we all watch a movie off a computer.
That is typical day in Base Camp as we wait for the weather to break.
Climb Hard, Climb high, Come Home
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Eric and I spent the night at Camp 1 awoke in the morning refreshed and ready to go up to camp 2. We started up at about 8 am arriving in Camp 2 at about noon. Where we started brewing up and getting the camp site ready for Fred and Chirring who were coming directly from Base Camp. The winds were increasing to the point where one of our tents was uninhabitable for two people. The reason being that the winds were coming directly into the vestibule of the tent and did not allow us to cook. We would have to used the hanging kit inside the tent that was supplied by Jetboil, but the tent was not big enough to hold two of us and cook inside safely. So we jumped into the Italian tent where we could sleep and eat. In payment, I gave the Italians one of the salami's that Annette procurred for me.
In the morning we awoke to a beautiful calm morning, and we started moving at around 4 am to take full advantage of the day. Keep in mind that once you start moving at 4 am you are lucky to be on the trail by 7 am. First you have to start melting snow to make water to make your first hot drink. Usually I leave a pot full of water at night so that the first pot is already in a semi liquid state. Most of the time it is just a block of ice that needs to be melted. Once you have your first pot of hot water, you have your morning tea. Then you start your next pot so you can make your oatmeal, or what have you. Then you have to start melting water to fill your camel back or nalgene bottle. Hopefully one of them is already full from the nite before. If not you have to figure you have to melt 2-3 liters of additional water for each person going up that day to avoid dehydration. So it is about 3 hours of melting snow and getting ready to go before you are out the door. Then you have to dry out your sleeping bag from all the hoar frost that forms inside the tent and starts to drip and snow on you as you move about in the morning. Then you have to dump your pee bottle, get dressed, put on your harness, your boots, your crampons, and make sure that everyone else in your party is ready to go. Standing outside waiting on other members is one of the biggest drags you can have, because you are bound to be cold and frustrated by the time the last person is ready to go. That is why it has been great travelling with Eric, Fred, and Chirring. We all seem to get ready at the right moment and start off at the same time.
The climb to camp 3 was definitely difficult. The first thing that made it hard is that it is a long day. Meaning it took us on avg 8.5 hours of consistent and constant climbing to arrive at camp 3. Second the difficulty of the climbing was harder then anything I have experienced at altitude yet. There were numerous rock pitches that needed to be climbed in crampons, and they were harder then anything I experienced on Everest. Then there were long snow couloir's that had to be waded through with pitches up to 70 degrees Then when you finally thought you had arrived at what should be Camp 3, you realize you are still two hours away from actually reaching camp 3. And you had to keep climbing a long snow slope to reach it.
Once you arrived at Camp 3 though, the views were amazing. You could see deep into China, and all around the Karakorum. We had a calm beautiful day, with Norwegians coming up in our fresh tracks and dropping a load off. We chose to stay 4 people in a three person tent. One of the worst nites sleeps of my entire life. Between Fred snoring, Chirring trying to get comfortable, Eric rolling over which would cause me to wake up, and I am sure I added to everyone elses discomfort in some way it was a horrible nite experience by all. When we awoke in the morning it was cloudy and snowy and we made the decision to go down rather then try and make it to camp 4. It was a great decision on our part, because as we started to descend the winds were getting stronger, and by mid afternoon it was really quite nasty out.
We arrived into Basecamp after descending all the way from Camp 3 which was at about 7400m. Base camp is at 5040m. So we descended almost 7500 feet in a day which is really quite tiring. Now we are enjoying a rest in Base Camp, with nasty weather happening on the mountain. Based on the forecasts we will probably not be going anywhere real soon.
Hope all is well for you!
Friday, July 18, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Hope all is w ll in the world, how is Obamaa doing against McCain in the election? Any Veeps yet?
Sunday, July 13, 2008
We came down yesterday for a bit of R and R, and plan to head back up the mountain on the 15th to get all the way to up to camp 3. It will be a 3 days to get to camp 3 and the hope is that the weather provides us with a great day to make the climb through the feature known as the Black Pyramid. We were thinking about attempting this yesterday, but we received over a foot of new snow and there is some minor avalanche danger in the black pyramid. Hence, we moved down the mountain instead of up.
Right now Mike, Paul, and Chris W are at Camp 1 and heading up to Camp 2 for the first time today. The weather today is very nice and it should be a great trip up for them. In fact the weather today is what we were expecting yesterday.
Climbing is all about having the mentality of being focused on what is you are doing right at that moment. If it is clipping a carabiner onto a line, securing a tent anchor, or placing your crampon on a rock to ascend a narrow chimney. If you do not have that focus then you should always make the decision to stop climbing at that particular time. Most people think that climbing is a physical activity, but in truth it is entirely mental. Without the ability to focus to the exclusion of all else you will not have success. So as people are climbing and making decsions to stop climbing most of the time it is a mental hurdle that they cannot overcome,not physical. There are all kinds of distractions that can creep into a climb, being seperated from your family and loved ones, business issues, physical issues, and a host of other things. That hard part is deciding which things you can exclude out of your mind for an extended period of time. Because the one thing you have on an expedition of this length is time to think. You have the hours lying in your tent waiting to go to sleep. You have the hours when you wake up early in the morning, and you have all the time when you are climbing. An ipod is not an option while climbing on K2 because you need to be constantly aware of your surroundings, who is above you, who is below you, and if you there is any rockfall danger. There is so much time to think it is hard to remained focused on what is right in front of you.
Thanks for all the offers of Coke and Pringles upon my return, but I will probably be a little burnt out on it by that time.
Climb Hard, Climb High, COME HOME
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Right now we are on a weather hold for a day or two. The weather reports we have been getting from Jamie McGuiness have been right on target and have been a huge help.
Climb Hard, Climb High, Come Home
Saturday, July 5, 2008
The climbing up to Camp I is pretty straightforward steep snow, which we found in good condtions, and so far rockfall hazard minimal to none. Some years this can be extremely problematic on the Abruzzi. Reaching Camp I, we were extremely grateful for the Mountain Hardware Trango 3.1 tent Fred and Chris K. had put up. We were able to spend the rest of the day hydrating and taking in awesome views of Broad Peak, Skyang Kangri, and Gasherbrum II from this airy perch. So much so that we rigged a section of climbing rope to be used to traverse the steep snowslope over to where we created a toilet site!
The next day, we shouldered packs that seemed too heavy and made our way up the 600 meters to Camp II. The weather started out nice, eg., calm, and the climbing enjoyable. There was mostly steep mixed climbing following fixed ropes along a rib of alternating snow and rock, with a few sections of ice
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Camp 1 is not known for its ease of setting up camp. In fact there is only 2 good camp sites. Both of which have been taken for the past 2 weeks. So we spent the afternoon hacking out a semi flat spot out of the ice and rock so that we could have a secure platform for our tent. We arrived at Camp 1 about 1 pm and then spent the next 4 hours creating a platform for our tent. We secured it to the mountain with ice screws, and pitons, and 25m of rope. The snow chutes are used on the corners of the tent you pack them with snow and then stomp down on them so that there is compression and snow melt, and then it becomes a bomber anchor.
We spent the nite at Camp 1 and listened to the snow be blown all over the slope by strong winds. The winds were pretty strong, but the winds did not budge our tent. So we had a great success.
This morning we headed down to Base Camp and went through the ice fall one more time. The interesting thing about glacvier travel is that every time you crosss it, it is different. Whether it is from snow melt, snow accumulation, water erosion, or simply foot traffic, it becomes a different trip. It really makes it quite interesting.
Tommorrow most people reading this blog will be enjoying Independence Day and shooting off fireworks. We will try and do something here as well, even if it is only taking a sip of whiskey.
Enjoy your holiday!
Climb Hard, Climb High, Come Home
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
I will touch base after arriving at back at BC.
Climb High, Climb Hard, Come Home
Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
The last two days of trekking were simply spectaclur. We arrived in the The Throne room of the Mountain Gods, also known as Concordia. The views are amazing with K2, Broad Peak, G4, and so many other peaks to gaze at it simply overwhelms a person.
The first view of K2 was impressive with a clear blue sky and our route partially visible. K2 is more imposing in person then from any picture and you have ever seen of it.
The team spent today improving our base camp, expanding our dining tent, installing a toliet tent with running water(thanks Chirring) the running water is actually a glacier run off stream. The glacier has two sides, one is the bathroom side(outgoing) and the other is the ingoing or drinking water side. We also put up a shower tent, and installed the banners and flags of our sponsors, Warid Telecom and Bank Alfalal.
We had a great lunch with pokara, and we are getting the gear we have on sight organized. Unfortunately most of our high altitude kit is still on its way up from Askole because it was delayed getting through customs.
Overall things are going great. There are several other teams already working on establishing the route. The Koreans have sherpa's setting up camp 1 and 2 on the Abruzzi and we have been watching the Dutch put in their camp 2 on the SSE Ridge. Base camp is a friendly place and we will be making the rounds getting to know the other team. The weather has been great so far and we hope it continues.
If anyone would like to send me an email you can do so at:
Looking forward to hearing from you.
On a personal note, thank you to everyone who send their thoughts and sympathy regarding my grandmother. She has been in my thoughts and it has been a tough thing to go through on the mountain.
Climb High, Climb Hard, Come Home,
Sunday, June 22, 2008
The rest of the team is moving well and we all just want to arrive at base camp and escape the braying of the donkeys that happens every nite. I am not sure which team hired donkeys but they should be severly reprimanded. The braying is a constant throughut the nite.
Hopefully I will be able to send a few pictures once we reach base camp.
Climb High, Climb Hard, Come Home!
Saturday, June 21, 2008
We are about a mile below the base of the Baltaro glagcier. We are going to spend the day resting and the porters will take care of their meat rations The chickens and goats that have been travelling with us will no longer be on the trek, except in our bellies.
On Saturday we will hike to Urdukas which is about an 8 hour hike up the side of the glacier. Spend the night and then move up to Goro 2, then onto Concordia, then base camp. We have been moving quite well, and the porters are helping out tremendously. We have 110 porters carrying about 25kg per person. That is not all our own food and gear, but they are also carrying the food that they need for a 11 day hike for all those people as well.
We have been fortunate with weather, which has been cloudy an overcast in the afternoon with a little rain. Which helps keep it cool, and keeps the dust down.
A few stomach issues have been happening, but nothing that is not expected.
A personal note, my grandmother passed away on Wednesday afternoon. She and my Grandfather just celebrated their 65th anniversary a few weeks ago, and many of you sent them cards for that amazing milestone. I want to thank you for that, it provide a big boost for my grandmother to receive cards from all over the world. I think it helped motivate her to keep going until that celebration. I am thankful she had a great life, full of love and kindness. She is in my thoughts and prayers. If she could be in yours as well I would appreciate it.
"It is a fearful thing to love which death can touch." Anne Smith
All the Best,
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
If you were thinking that there is a major political event unfolding in Pakistan you are absolutely correct. This seems to be a trend with me. I arrive in a country just as things are starting to change. I might actually start hiring myself out to countries to facilitate change. They overthrew the Monarchy in Nepal while climbing Everest. A coup in Thailand while I was there. New government in Chile, etc....
Friday there will be a huge political demonstration by the attorneys and judges within Pakistan. They have been marching across the country for a few days and converge on Islamabad on Friday. From what I understand they are trying to change the constitution within Pakistan to have the less power within the executive branch and more power in the legislative branch. We will see if it has any impact.
Our plan is to lay low in the Warid Telecom Guest House that we are being hosted at by my friend, Shahzad Rauf, and his company, Warid Telecom.
This has affected our plans slightly, but not significantly and everything should be back to normal by Saturday. We will fly to Skardu on Saturday, spend a few days there sorting gear, weighing loads, and preparing for the trek. After that we will start our trek into Base Camp from Askole which will take us about 7 days.
The team is strong and excited and we are all looking forward to getting in the mountains, although we will miss the plush accomodations of the past few days.
Again, no need to worry, we will be safe and sound in our guest house.
Climb High, Climb Hard, Come Home
Monday, June 9, 2008
A calm is descending upon me as I prepare to depart the hectic frenzy that has ensued my life over the past few weeks. The frenzy of packing, buying, and double checking everything. There is only one thing that I have forgotten that I can think of and it is not essential.
I am excited, nervous, and full of anticpation. I just spoke with my friend Beth G on the phone and she said have fun. My comment was that mountaineering is not fun while your doing it, but exhilarating in retrospect. Very similar to Mark Twains comment about travel. And K2 is travel to the extreme. My goal is to be safe, be calm, and above all else come home.
Climbing is a solitary experience undertaken with a team. Only you know what you are feeling, what you are thinking, and how much your body can take. The team enables you to perform at a higher level then you could by yourself. And that is what I am hoping to experience upon meeting the team in Islamabad. That together we will be able to perform this extraordinary feat together.
My thanks goes out to all my family and friends who have supported me in this project and my thoughts are with them.
Climb Hard, Climb High, Come HOME!
Sent via BlackBerry
Thursday, May 22, 2008
I am looking forward to celebrating my grandparents 65th Wedding Anniversary on the 31st of May. It is an accomplishment that is far harder then climbing K2. They were married during WWII in San Antonio, Texas. They are an example to follow in life and relationships. Always be happy with where you are at in life, and do not waste your time wishing for what you do not have. It does not mean you do not strive for something better, but simply realize that you have control of your emotions and where you are going in your life. Celebrate everything that you do have and revel in the joy’s of your family. That point is being struck home right now because my grandmother has been in the hospital the past 10 days with an E-coli infection. It has been a touch and go process, and I am very thankful that I am close by to support them. My Grandmother keeps telling the doctors she needs to get out because she has a party to go to!
After that celebration, I will drive to Michigan from Tahoe City with my sister, unpack my trailer, repack my storage unit, and get everything weighed and loaded into 4 bags. Whew, I cannot wait to get onto the mountain where life will be simpler, but certainly not easier. My life has had many changes in the past few months, and I can only anticipate that it will change more over the course of the climb. I am looking forward to this climb as a time of personal reflection and pushing the limits of my ability at high altitude. But the key to any climb is to do it safely and be aware of your environment. No climb is without risk, and this one has its set of challenges.
One of the most common questions I am asked is how I train for something like this. I have been focusing on cardio workouts and altitude gain. I try to do 1-3 hours a day of running, biking, or hiking with a pack. Truth be told, my strength lies in my ability to keep walking all day with a heavy pack. I have never been a gym rat, but I do love going outside and experiencing a good runner’s high. My ankle has healed very nicely thanks to the ART treatment that I got from Dr. Karen Slota. It allowed me to start running again after my ankle surgery. Unfortunately, I waited almost a year before I sought her treatment.
I do want to thank all my family and friends who support me in this endeavor. I know it is a hard thing to experience from their perspective, and not many people understand. But to those of you who have given me your unconditional support I thank you.
Climb Hard, Climb High, Come Home!
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Greetings, I am in the process of training for K2 and part of the training is making sure I can update people efficiently on what is happening. Right now I am living in Tahoe City and taking full advantage of the altitude.