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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Summit Bid

Posted on June 26, 2006 08:25 AM U.S. Mountain Daylight Time

With the weather still perfect, the route now in and climbers blazing the trail to the summit of Broad Peak. It is time

I fully admit that I will leave BC tomorrow morning not fully confident I can make it. All I can do is my best. The Bug still lives inside me with some recent developments but I will spare you the details. However at some point you have to jump into the water.

I am inspired by the performance of Ryan, JJ and our three High Altitude Porters. To clarify, the three HAPs stood at the base of the last 100' climb and choose not to stand on the true summit. This is quite common in Nepal, Tibet, Pakistan and other countries where it is viewed as disrespectful to stand completely on a mountain summit. So to be sure, these three HAPs all summited Broad Peak.

I packed my gear this afternoon in a mood of excitement, uncertainty and confidence. I am excited to get back on the Hill. There have been moments when I have not but now I am and it feels good. I am uncertain due to what has gone on inside my body as well as my previous performance above 23000'. In consultation with my Doctor and a recent MPH graduate from UCLA and and undergrad from CAL in infectious diseases (thanks Ashley :-) ); I am told that if I was home they would have put me on limited activity and a solid well balanced diet and few more drugs to wipe this Bug out for at least 30 days. Well, obviously, I am not been under that regiment! But you have to do what you can do so off I go.

I leave confident because I have been in this situation before. I have pushed my body hard, too hard often, and know what it feels like. I am confident that I will know if and when it is time to turn around. Simply put I will not put myself nor my teammates at risk just to stand on the summit.

A year and half ago, I had no idea this idea would turn into the reality it has. As you can tell from the dispatches thus far, this is a unique team. With eight nationalities, a wide age and mountaineering experience range, there is a common love of mountains, adventure and challenge that bonds us together. Yes, there have been a few spats, that was expected but again the common bond has kept everything in check and the focus is on the common goal. When we got the word that some of the team had summited, a spontaneous cheer erupted from the cooks to the water boy to the climbers to the Pakistani Military Liaison Officers.

Yes everyone wants to see success and is putting their all into making it happen. Tonight all the porters from the other expeditions will gather at our camp about dark. They will sing and dance and celebrate the success of their own and our expedition's first summit. The pride runs deep in this poor country. Opportunities to celebrate are rare these days and this will be a big one. Perhaps I will leave day after tomorrow!

So as I prepare to go up the Hill, I ask for all your positive energy for me and my teammates. Wilco and Gerrard are making their bid tonight. More climbers tomorrow and more later. We will move from camp to camp higher up the Hill and make the final bid from Camp 4. The whole process will take 4 or 5 days. This is why we are here. This is when the test really begins. There are a thousand reasons to stop and only a few to push on. And those are personal and unique to each climber. Please accept our love of mountaineering. Please accept our result regardless of what it is. Please know that this is what makes us alive, it is the fuel that drives us on an individual level. We miss our families deeply. Make no mistake. We thank you all for your support. We will see you soon.

Climb on! Alan