Just a quick update. I will post a full summit night report plus a full trip report when I can. We are all back in K2 Base Camp safe as of 8:00pm July 28, 2014. The bottom line for me is at K2 is in a league of it’s own, deserving of my mantra of climbing the world’s hardest mountain to fight the world hardest disease. I will say this many times, my heart goes out to all who supported me and especially to those who made a donation – it is not too late 🙂
I was deeply saddened to learn of Denver Bronco’s owner Pat Bowlen who stepped down after bravely revealing that he has Alzheimer’s. This further encourages me to never to give up until we find a cure.
We summited K2 on July 27, 2014 at 8:30am local time. It was a long day as we left camp 4 at 10:00pm climbing through the night. I knew I would have to dig deep into a place I have never touched and it proved true in many ways. I wanted to stop three distinct times but I kept going. Why? My cause was the only real reason I can give you. A close second was the support I felt from around the world. Thank you, thank you.
The traditional Bottleneck was deemed too dangerous to climb after an avalanche left rocks and high ice blocks in the ravine. So we took a slight variation which actually put us in more objective danger from the serac than normal.
I must tell you that the entire climb was unbelievably steep – 60-70 degrees – but the traverse was the crux at 80-90 degrees with footing barely large enough to accommodate my crampons front points. The entire time I was climbing higher, all I could think about was how was I going to down climb this section. The final climb to the summit was long with teammates taking turn breaking trail after a meter of fresh snow on the evening of July 26.
The descent was difficult, never ending, and left me in amazement I had climbed it at all. I had a few health problems from fatigue to mild HAPE to dehydration. My thanks to Garrett Madison for aggressively ing my symptoms and to Matt and the Sherpa crew, especially Kami, for keeping a watchful eye over me. Today, July 29, I am feeling much better at the lower altitude of Base Camp but only got two hours of sleep last might and I have have a persistent cough. Both should clear up as I trek lower.
I am quite proud to be what believe to be the 18th American to summit K2 and perhaps the oldest American with our summit only birthday when I turned 58. Also, I am extremely proud of Garrett Madison for being the first leader to bring an full American only team to the summit in decades.
I cannot overemphasize the incredible work by the Sherpa team with double carries, endless days, fixing routes, breaking trail and serving as a role model for all the other Sherpas across all the other teams for 2014. I know this sounds like bragging and it is. The Sherpa team members were Kami Rita Sherpa, Fur Kancha Sherpa (both of Thame Solu Khumbu, Nepal) and Kami Tshering Sherpa (of Pangbotse, Nepal). This the first summit of K2 for all these fine men.
I also want to acknowledge the great work of our Pakistani Liason Officer, Squadron Leader Khalid Mehmood Chishti.
A note on the crazy SPOT tracker during my descent. It was my fault. The SPOT fell off my harness while rapping down Houses Chimney! Thankfully Garrett grabbed it as it was falling off a steep ridge thus preventing even more worry!!
Our next step is to begin the 70 mile trek back to Askole on July 31
Ok, that’s all for now. I have never been more relieved to be back in a Base Camp, never prouder of my teammates and never more grateful for everyone’s support.
My mom would always tell me after a big climb, “I’m glad you got that out of your system.” Well maybe she is right this time, but I will never get the fight against Alzheimer’s out of my system until we find a cure.
Memories are Everything
K2 Summit Video
Selected K2 Climb Pictures