K2oo6 WorldClimb Dispatches
Broad Peak and K2
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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First Summit for Field Touring Alpine K2006 WorldClimbPosted on June 25, 2006 08:11 AM U.S. Mountain Daylight Time
On Sunday, June 25 at 10:27 AM, Ryan Waters, of the FTA team reached the true summit of Broad Peak, 26,401'/8047m via the normal route, the West Ridge. They left Camp 4 at 2:30 AM and returned to C3 at 3:00 PM.
In addition to Ryan, Assistant Leader; Jeff Justman (JJ) the overall Expedition Leader and High Altitude Porters Tagi, Mohamadad and Anizzi pushed through deep snow from C4 and along the summit ridge just behind Ryan. They picked up where the Austrian team turned around the previous day after experiencing deep snow and a fragile top crust that made trail breaking exhausting. By building on their work, the FTA team was able to continue breaking trail in the early morning hours when the snow was harder yet still they experienced deep snow.
JJ acknowledged Ryan for his amazing strength in leading the way. JJ, with Everest, Dhaulagiri and multiple other summits under his belt told me via radio from C3 that this was the most difficult summit climb he had ever experienced. Also this was the closest to the summit for the three HAPs after many years of working with expeditions on Broad Peak. Many thanks to both the Austrian and Australian team for their trail breaking and cooperation at the high camps.
The rest of the FTA team is at various stages on the Hill with seven climbers moving rapidly up the mountain for a summit bid in a few days. This includes Wilco, Marcus, Joelle, Mick, Gerard, Con and John R. The weather continues to be amazing. Light breeze with few clouds and no moisture has been the theme since we arrived at BC almost two weeks ago. I spoke with an older HAP who said he had not seen such good weather in all his 32 years in the Karakorum. He felt it would continue.
I want to repeat something I said in an earlier dispatch. I think Broad Peak is not one of the easy 8000m mountains. The climbing, while not technical, is steep and continuous. On my Climb of Cho Oyu, another so-called easy 8K hill, the climbing was steep but in short sections.
The camps were placed on relatively flat spots versus the perches of Broad. Joelle, who climbed to C4 on K2 a few years ago said the climb to C2 on Broad reminded her of the climbing on K2. Wilco, one of our our Dutch climbers, noted that of the approximately 5 Dutch expeditions to Broad no climber ever made it to the true summit. Now that the trail has been established to the summit, we can expect to see more summits this week and next as our team and the other 5 teams at BC make their pushes. It might be a record year for Broad if the great weather continues.
I have posted a new video on the main dispatch page. It is called Concordia Panorama and is a 360 video of K2, Broad Peak, Mitre Peak and the Baltro glacier as seen from Concordia. Again congratulations to our five great climbers for fixing the route to the summit. Well done to all! Climb on! Alan