Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Another Update

Hello Everyone,
This is Amy, Chris's sister again - I suppose it will be me until they get back down from the Summit.   I had a voice mail this morning from Chris (I left something inside my house this morning before work and left my cell phone in the car and missed the call - Ah well) - I had a voicemail that I believe said they are staying one more day at Camp 2 because of the high winds up to camp 3.  I am not sure if you all remember, but camp 2 is a very uncomfortable place to hang out - they barely had enough room for 2 tents and the wind blows hard all the time.  They had to build a snow cliff so the tent could be somewhat flat on the side of the mountain.   So I am sure they are anxious to move ahead.  Meanwhile they look forward to the climb up to camp 3, which I understand involves climbing up a technical bit called the black pyramid. 
So stay tuned and hopefully Chris will be able to continue to communicate.  Again, he sounded really good and strong!  Keep the good thoughts coming to the team!  They are working well together!
Be well,

Monday, July 28, 2008

Back at Camp 2

Hello Everyone,
Chris's sister again sending a quick post.  I heard from Chris this morning and he sounded great.  He sounded strong and excited.  They are at camp 2 and hope to climb up to camp 3 tomorrow if the winds stay calmish.  (I think calm winds is probably a relative term up there) I am not sure how often he will call to update, so I would assume, no news is good news, but please continue to send them safe thoughts!  They are 10 hours ahead of Ann Arbor time (EST) - I don't know why I find that important, but it helps me know when they are climbing.
I hope this finds you all well and that the summer is treating you well!
Amy Klinke

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Weather Window

We are looking at weather window starting the 29th of July. I will be going up the mountain to see what happens and see if we might be in a position to go for the summit. I will be out of touch and no blogs will be posted until at least August 5th. I will be leaving base camp on the 27th of July.

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

Base Camp Life

Right now we are stuck at base camp for an indeterminate length of time due to the weather being a bit fickle right now. So I thought I would write about daily life in Base Camp. I typically wake up when light starts hitting my tent at about 6 am. I get up out of my warm sleeping bag, and walk to the cook tent where Bashir, Sayad, and DeeDar are waking up and boiling about 10 gallons of water for the day. They fill up two big thermos'. One for hot drinks and drinking water, the other for the wash water. Sayad is starting to mix flour and water to make chapatis for breakfast, and Bashir starts setting up the dining tent for the breakfast meal. Our breakfast is typically, porridge, eggs, and chapati's. Quite a nourishing breakfast. Typically on a weather day we hang out in the dining tent starting at about 8:30am. And ending as we each come up with something to entertain ourselves. Yesterday it was moving my tent platform with the help of Chhiring. We have to move our tents about once a week, due to the glacier melting out from underneath us. The glacier melts about 5-6 inches a day, so after about a week our tents our sitting atop a pile of ice and rock that is about 2 feet higher then the surrounding area. And the edges are drooping over the edge of the ice pillar. We try and stop this by piling rocks and gravel around the edges of the tents so that the solar heat does not directly affect our platforms But it does not help all that much. So we repostion our platforms on a regular basis. It only takes about two hours to make a good solid platform. You chip out ice with your ice ax and move rocks and gravel with a shovel and your back. I had good training hauling rocks at an early age so it is fairly familiar.

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

To Camp 3 and Back.....

Well we have had a few fun action packed days getting up to establish Camp 3. Eric and I left base camp on the 15th of July to head directly to camp 1 We had both found that going directly to camp 2 from Base Camp left us a little tuckered out for any activities beyond that point. On our way up we passed Mike F, Chris W, and Paul on their descent from Camp 2. Where they stayed in miserable weather for two nites.

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!


C3 Pics

Pics from 3

Friday, July 18, 2008

Back at Basecamp

Hello Everyone,
This is Chris's sister, Amy - I heard from Chris this morning and he and his team are back down at base camp after a successful climb to Camp 3.  It was hard to hear everything he said, but I believe he said they had beautiful weather for the climb up, but had bad weather on their climb back down to base camp.
I think their maybe some bad weather coming in so I think they will rest up in base camp for a couple of days before heading back up the mountain.  Hopefully Chris will post more later today - but I know I was very excited to hear his voice and to hear they are safely back down so I thought I'd send his blog a post.  Chris sounded in good spirits, so keep the positive thoughts going their way!   PS - I know they all enjoying getting email up there, though its hard for them to respond -so if you get a chance please send emails to the guys!!! 

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dispatch from Camp 1

Eric and I are sitting at camp 1 enroute to camp 3. Chris W, Mike F, and Paul all passed us on their way down from spending 2 nites at C1 and 2 nites at C2. Great job guys.

Hope all is w ll in the world, how is Obamaa doing against McCain in the election? Any Veeps yet?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Camp 2 Again

We returned from Camp 2 yesterday. This was the second trip for Fred, Eric, Chirring, and I. It is part of acclimitization schedule that we are trying to mainitain so that we can be in a position for a summit attempt towards the end of the month. Right now we have two tents set up at camp2 and they are fairly bomber proof. We have pitons, snow stakes, and snow chutes holding them onto the mountain. The views from Camp 2 are really spectacular and when it is clear it is supposed to be amazing. I have yet to be up there when it is clear.

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

Camp 2

Fred and I spent the nite up at camp 2. We had a super long day, starting from ABC and heading all the way to camp 2 for the first time. Averaged about 10 hours on the way up, which was nothing compared to our Speedy Nepali (Chirring) He made it up from BC to Camp 2 in a total of about 8 hours. That is how big a difference acclimitization can make in your performance. Camp 2 is nicer the camp 1 but it still not a very nice place to hang out. Most tents are set up on the piles of old tents that have been destroyed by the wind over the years. Fred and I spent a very unrestful nite as the wind kicked up and spindrift pelted the side of the tent. In the morning we tried to establish a second tent platform, but every time I got one half of the platform dug out the wind had filled up the other half. So I gave up on that idea and decided to head back down to BC, where I had my special post climb recovery regimine. A coke and pringles. Normally, I am not a big pringle fan, but something about the salt combined with the Coca Cola makes it very good for recovery. Luckily I brought a six pack of coke from Skardu for just this purpose. You can in fact by a coke at BC from visiting porters, but the price tag is about $15 USD for a liter. Even I in my desperation will not buy a coke for that much.

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 Climb to Camp 2- Eric Meyer and Chirring Dorje

After resting for a day in BC, Chhiring and I left for camp I, with a weather forecast suggesting favorable conditions for the next few days. We made the trek to ABC, where we stopped to brew up tea and organize our loads. Trying to think several days in advance, and predict what supplies are needed most at a camp or two above is sometimes challenging, but on this demanding mountain, it really pays to be as efficient with what you choose to carry up!

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

House's chimney

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Camp 1

Yesterday, Fred and I did what is known as the long snow slog to reach Camp 1. Fred and I left Base Camp at about 7 am and headed to ABC. Upon arriving at ABC we swiftly repacked our gear with the necessary equipment we would need to establish Camp 1. We packed ice screws, tents, snow stakes, gas, tent chutes, sleeping bags, stoves, and food. We were both carrying about 25 kilos so that we could get the camp set up.

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

Slept at ABC

Well yesterday we went up top ABC at 5375m to sleep and try and identify the route we willl take to go up to camp 1 tomorrow. We were successful. Tomorrow Fred and I will head up the fixed ropes put in by the Korean sherpas to set up our Camp 1. We will spend the night and then return to BC the following day. The hike to Camp 1 is up a long snow slope at about a 45 degree angle or greater through a rock band and then after 600m of vertical we should be at camp 1. The weather has been overcast, we have not had much snow so that is good for us.

I will touch base after arriving at back at BC.

Climb High, Climb Hard, Come Home