K2: Tired but not Sick, Humbled and Grateful

Alan and Ida on the sumit of K2, <a href=

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.

Climb On!
Memories are Everything


K2 Summit Video

Selected K2 Climb Pictures

Climbing the Black Pyramid on K2
Climbing the Black Pyramid on K2
Downclimbing below the K2 infamous ice serac
Downclimbing below the K2 infamous ice serac
Alan climbing House's ChimneyAlan climbing House's ChimneyAlan climbing House's Chimney
Alan climbing House’s Chimney
Team celebration with great cake at K2 Base camp
Team celebration with great cake at K2 Base camp
Alan and Ida on the summit of K2, July 27, 2014
Alan and Ida on the summit of K2, July 27, 2014
Alan and Kami Sherpa on the summit of K2, July 27, 2014
Alan and Kami Sherpa on the summit of K2, July 27, 2014
Garrett Madison crossing the Traverse on K2
Garrett Madison crossing the Traverse on K2
Alan K2 Summit July 27 2014Alan K2 Summit July 27 2014
Alan K2 Summit July 27 2014
Downclimbing K2
Downclimbing K2
Alan and Ida on the summit of K2, July 27, 2014
Alan and Ida on the summit of K2, July 27, 2014

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53 thoughts on “K2: Tired but not Sick, Humbled and Grateful

  1. A lots of Congratulations Alan,
    Amazing, Amazing achievement. Hope you reach back home with fond memories of beauty of my country. Thanks for showing magnanimity of beauty of my country through an awesome video.
    What a spectacular accomplishment for yourself and your cause for Alzheimer.
    Climb on …. till a cure is found.

  2. Alan
    Just back on line after being on holiday on the low lands of Iceland and London. I’m humbled by your amazing dedication, perseverance and plain rugged toughness. Congratulations on a wonderful achievement and more importantly, in the continued fight for a cure. your dedication is amazing, inspirational and commendable. Also, didn’t realize the small company of 18 you’re in and oldest American….all great tributes.

    The photos and videos are wonderful.

  3. I am still in awe. And this was my first look at your summit vid. WHOA!!!!!!!! Alan, relish in your absolute unique accomplishment and pushing yourself to do what is unimaginable sometimes!

  4. That’s a lot of jagged rock to climb up and down. Nothing about that mountain is easy. Thank goodness you had good weather. Even in good weather the climbing looks treacherous. Thank All the Gods you all made it to the summit and back again in one piece and in good health. DONE! DONE! DONE! Been there, done that, don’t need to go back.

  5. Here I am, in Colorado, home to all of these “fourteeners,” but I have never seen ANYTHING as spectacular as your 360 degree shot at the end of the video! My old eyes will never have an opportunity to see that sight in person, but I got a vicarious thrill out of seeing you and your team at the summit of K2! My most hearty congratulations on a job well done, made even better because you did it to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease! Soon enough, so many of our boomer population will suddenly notice that monkey on our backs, and not have a clue what to do. Awareness must be raised NOW, NOT before it’s too late! Thank God for your youth and determination. I lost my father to this hideous disease, and donate what I can, when I can, to groups and individuals furthering this cause. WELL DONE, young man!

  6. Such an amazing climb Alan!! So happy for you and the team that got you to the top and back down again safely!!!

  7. So happy for you and your team – what an experience! You and your team are an inspiration to us all. God bless, and safe journey homeward.

  8. Just outrageously fantastic Alan; extremely well done. Great pics

    Thank you!!


  9. Alan and Team,
    Congratulations! You have been given (through your efforts) a very unique gift (to see the world and your self from the summit of K2). Enjoy the hard earned satisfaction as you walk back to Askole. Many of us, including you, share Willi Unseold’s philosophy: an expedition is not a success when you reach the summit, but when you apply what you’ve learned to life back at home. You now have even more of the strength and compassion needed to fight for your causes. Well done!

  10. Awesome stuff, (I’m only hearing sound on a black screen when i run that summit video in Australia though?)

    1. I also see a black screen while running the video. Tried a few times. Also, many of the phots are not opening. It says “Page not found” Thanks

  11. Exceptional accomplishment for a great person dedicated to a great cause. Just awesome.

  12. Namaste, Words barely express the monumental achievement of your team and you. Bringing us along with pictures and a video from the summit was a special bonus. Congratulations to everyone!

  13. So glad you are all OK. What an achievement! Take care of those lungs, please.

  14. Wow. Wow. Wow. What a feat and how very proud your mother must be, Alan. I’m so happy to hear you’re safely back at base camp. I can’t wait to read more about your experience. Rest well, my friend, you’ve earned it!!

  15. Well done; well done. I am so pleased that you got up and down again without major mishap. Great stuff Alan.

  16. What FANTASTIC video and photos from the summit. Amazing that you found the energy to do that, and we are SO glad that you did. Excellent work buddy!

  17. Alan, no words can convey my feelings after finding out you and your team are safe at base camp after conquering the beast, K2. I hope you are feeling better. Let’s all continue to conquer the other beast, Alzheimer’s.

  18. Congratulations, for the umpteenth time! So happy for you all. What a great journey for all the right reasons. 🙂

  19. Congratulations!! And I am so happy you made it back down safely. I have really enjoyed following your journey! And I made a donation when you were on top!

  20. What a beautiful view from the summit and what it took for you to see it…truly awe-inspiring!

  21. Congratulations Alan! Wow – what an incredible accomplishment! You are an inspiration to us old guys. Was Jim Davidson with you? I hope we can get you and Jim to come and talk to us at Loveland Sertoma some time. For now, just rest and enjoy your amazing achievement!

  22. Alan,

    So happy to read you’re safe and sound back in base camp. I can breathe now 🙂 Get some well deserved rest and take some time to reflect on an achievement that very few mountaineers will ever accomplish. Congrats!

    Best, Ken

  23. Alan: Congratulations seems a weak word for how I am feeling about your, your climb, and your mission. I will forever be grateful that you took us along with you. Thank you! Take care and come down safely.

  24. Great report and thank you again! Huge Congrats! Thanks for clarifying SPOT. I decided you dropped it vs. some other nasty scenario. Now for well-deserved rest.

  25. Fantastic acheivment Alan,so pleased you are safely back at base camp. You are one hell of a guy. Thanks from all your arm chair followers, we couldn’t have done it without you !!! Cheers Kate

  26. Amazing Alan! Congratulations! I hope you recover soon, and feel great by the end of the trek out. Doug and I closely followed your climb, and worried about you as your mother would have. So glad you made the ROUND TRIP.

    We have become lifelong donors to Alzheimer’s research because of your efforts, and applaud you for all your efforts for both the mountaineering community and the Alzheimer’s community. Since we are neighbors (we live in Colorado, as well), we hope to meet you in person some day soon. You certainly kept me sane last year while Doug was on Everest, and I would like to give you a big hug for that, and for many other reasons. Climb on!

  27. Alan – What an achievement for you and the team. After Garretts dreadful time on Everest this year, it is great to see him back on top. Climbing is not medicine, but it sure helps heal many wounds.

  28. someday we will climb that mountain called alzheimers too, there was an interesting piece about flouridated water being one of the causes, do look it up

  29. Congratulations Alan! That was amazing! A true mind-over-body achievement!
    I am very proud of you!
    Your picture with your mother on the summit reminded very much of my grandma… It brought back a lot of emotions… And it pushed me to make a donation!
    Hope you will be back safe at home soon!
    Climb on! memories are everything!

  30. My forever friend…..what an awesome view! I am so proud of your determination and will to get there. Thanks to Garrett for catching the spot tracker!

    Mrs. Ida looked great up there with you!!!!

  31. Bravo, Alan! Spectacular climbing and a huge thanks for all your efforts towards a cure! It was very special to have you include all of us vicariously with your brilliant posts. Safe travels home!

  32. Happy at your success, amazed at your tenacity. Well done. Congratulations to you and your team.

  33. Incredible. I could have use some cowbell though. Safe journey home friend.

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