K2: Preparing to Climb

K2 SherpasA quick update from K2 Base Camp on Thursday, July 10, advice 2014. We have been here for a few days allowing our bodies to rest after the trek and to adjust to the current altitude of 16,300 feet. It has been a period of eating, resting and preparing.

We are packing today to leave tomorrow for our first rotation up K2. The term rotation simply means climbing to one or more camps on the mountain, spending night(s) and returning to base camp. This is also known as climb high, sleep low.

The objectives include ferrying gear up the mountain and also to stress our bodies into changing blood chemistry to the reduced oxygen available. It is a complicated process often simplified by saying the body creates more red blood cells to carry oxygen to the muscles in a low oxygen environment. In any event, we must “acclimatize” if we want to have a chance of climbing K2.

As we were packing, a few climbers returned from their rotations. I spent some time with Al Hancock, Adrian Hayes and a member of the Italian/Pakistani team this morning after they returned from Camp 2 (C2). They report deep snow in areas and the ropes the Pakistan/Italian team had fixed had been buried in some sections by heavy snowfall earlier this week. They reported no natural rock fall in the notorious areas and climbing Houses Chimney was “straight forward”.

There are climbers from several teams spread from ABC to Camp 2 today. Climbers on the Pakistan/Italian team tried to reach C3 today but were stopped by high winds. Camp 2 is the highest point reached this season by any team. Overall conditions are reported to be good by K2 standards. The plan is to fix the ropes to Camp 3 by July 14. It is too early to make a solid prediction for a summit push.

Out team of 7 will leave for Advanced Base Camp (ABC) Friday afternoon after the Puja. Our Sherpas will not climb K2 before having a Puja where the mountains Gods will be asked for permission to climb, safety for the climbers and forgiveness for damaging the mountain. I am looking forward to this ceremony as it brings into focus our collective purpose and bonds.

Speaking of bonding, today was fun as we laid out our gear needed for this first rotation along with food needed. We had a lot of laughs teasing one another on what we liked to eat, how heavy our packs were and generally getting to know one another better. One of our team,  Thapkee Sherpa, will help fix the route between C3 and C4.

The clouds have moved back over K2 so we no longer have the great views of earlier this week. Last night as I went to my tent for bed, I looked up and saw an almost full moon blocking a sky normally filled with billions and billions 🙂 of stars.

I continued to be inspired and amazed at this place. Even with Internet access (occasionally!), it feels like I have gone back in time to a simpler place. I talk with my teammates, take walks for entertainment, nap when I want and have time to think about important things.

It is a privilege to be here, to climb on behalf of Alzheimer’s and to share this amazing journey with each of you.

Climb On!
Memories are Everything

P.S. I will be updating our progress while climbing to the higher camps using audio dispatches that post to my blog at https://www.alanarnette.com/blog/k2-2014/. Also you can follow me on the SPOT gps tracker page. There NOT be any updates on Facebook until I get back. You can sign up for notifications of new blog posts using the form on the lower right corner of the blog page. Your email will never be used for anything else and you can unsubscribe at anytime.

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8 thoughts on “K2: Preparing to Climb

  1. I am guessing lobster tail isnt on the menu for dinner:) does So what are your favorite camp foods and what is best to eat , and does the altitude affect your appetite ?? Prayers and thoughts are with you as you work on your rotations.. Climb on and make a bunch of new memories!! Laura

  2. Enjoy the ladder at House’s Chimney and don’t forget: Climb on down (if the winds get too strong)!

    1. In talking to people today, most people are not using the rope ladder in Houses but stemming off the rock. I hope to get some good video and pictures regardless of how I climb it 🙂

      1. OK — so it’s not quite as essential as the 2nd Step ladder on Everest North side, I guess. Would be great to see video of climbing up it anyway — good luck! Climb on (ladders or not)!

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