K2 and Broad Peak in 2006
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I always wanted to visit the Himalayas in Pakistan. The mountains are legendary: Gasherbrum I,Gasherbrum II, Nanga Parbat, Broad Peak and, of course, K2. The view from the confluence of three glaciers at Concordia is live postcard few get to see in person. In the summer of 2006, along with a team managed by Field Touring Alpine (FTA), I attempted Broad Peak (26,401') and planned to make a good effort on K2 (28,250').

I reached 21,000' on Broad or Camp 2 before abandoning the climb due to weakness that resulted from a severe bug I contracted on the trek in. The Karakorum ranges was magnificent and I was very lucky to have unbelievable weather for the month I spent there.

I sent frequent dispatches using a system that includes a digital camera, PDA and sat phone.

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« Pre-Dispatches for K2oo6 WorldClimb and request for help | Dispatch Home | The journey begins »

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One week to go

Posted on May 24, 2006 09:43 PM U.S. Mountain Daylight Time

Thanks to everyone who has submitted their names for the notification of new dispatches. Also thanks to those who have tested the video, audio and dispatch page. I *think* all systems are go!

My teammates are busy shipping their gear to Islamabad or finalizing their duffels at home. I will be carrying all my gear in three 55lb duffels on 4 different airplane flights. Light a candle that it all arrives!

I now have my Thuraya Sat phone and Feather solar panel plus associated cables, converters and gadgets. It all checks out fine but I cannot check the Thuraya since their satellites do not cover the US so I will have to finalize my communications once I get to Pakistan. I am sure it will be fine - famous last words!

I promised an update on my food strategy so here it is. I want to eat a lot given I will burn 6000 calories a day when climbing! It is always a problem at altitude eating so I have been experimenting with different concoctions this past month and here is the winner: couscous, dried raisins, almonds, bouillon, spices, and pre-cooked chicken. We have packed all this into 25 meal sized zip-locked bags so all I have to do is "add water". It works out to about 1500 calories per serving.

I will add some nutella (200 calories per tablespoon) where I can. But my secret weapon is a breakfast of ... Pop-Tarts. After exhaustive research (and an upset stomach) I have settled on the one with swirls on top - more calories (440 per serving) and more taste! I also have copious quantities of Accelerade sports drink and gels that will provide additional carbs and protein during the climb. All in all I should consume about 3000 calories per day when climbing so I will lose weight but this is better have I have done on past climbs. Maybe I can make it up in bsaecamp!

I have packed all my gear into three bags: trek, basecamp/climb and technical. I did not buy too much new since I have had good luck with my gear on Everest but I did have to replace my boots so I have been wearing them on my training climbs the past six months and finally found the correct sock strategy! I did buy a down jacket from Feathered Friends that will serve me well when I do not have my full down suit on. Everyday I look at the weather in Pakistan on-line.

With a few days to go it is all about family. No more training, no more website work, no more staring at my gear wondering what I will forget, no more wondering if I can do this. The end is near and this is the start. Another chapter in my mountaineering book. I must admit that as I get closer the nervous butterflies are turning to Champaign bubbles. I am fully aware of just how lucky I am and how few people get to do what I am about to do. It is not a burden but a motivation. That said, my goal is to summit Broad, make a good showing on K2, put a member of our team on top of K2, do my best - not to push it, come back home to my family - a full roundtrip.

Talk to you soon!

Climb on, Alan