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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« Summits!!! | Dispatch Home | Back Home plus a team of 4 pushing for the summit »

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The Right Thing To Do.

Posted on June 29, 2006 08:58 AM U.S. Mountain Daylight Time

I have made the decision to leave the expedition and return to the US as quickly as I can.

All the team is safe as of this writing with most of them at camp 2 and heading back to BC. They will continue their BP summit bids then a reduced number will move to K2 base camp and hopefully summits in late July. This was an easy and a difficult decision. My last climb to Camp 1 was long. Much longer than it should have been for someone who had already been to C2 and was acclimatized. It was clear that my body was saying do not go higher. I believe I need more medical care and a less harsh environment to recover from this. I am sure what is wrong other than the Bug that got me earlier. My energy levels are getting lower not higher. While this is somewhat normal on a big climb, it is dangerous to be a level I am. One of my climbing philosophies has always been to not put myself nor my teammates in avoidable danger. If I continue to climb I may put myself in a rescue situation and ask my teammates to help me. This is unacceptable given what I know. Leaving the team at this point is difficult. I have made many close friends. I have enjoyed my time in these mountains. The opportunity to wake up every morning with K2 and Broad Peak in my backyard is simply amazing. The dispatches will continue with audio only. Hopefully someone from the team will post a dispatch at least once a week to keep us all informed. You can also follow the climb through Wilco's site at WWW.TWEEBERGEN.NL. It is in Dutch but you can use Google to translate it. Obviously the email will stop. I will not have access to the system once I leave BC early June 30. This expedition has been a success for me. This is not a spin on a bad situation but sincerely how I feel. Yes, I am very disappointed that I will leave early and did not summit Broad nor touched K2. But after so many expeditions, I measure success perhaps differently than others. The very fact that 29 people met in Islamabad, traveled the Karakorum Highway, trekked to Base Camp, climbed Broad Peak and have already put 7 climbers on the summit already is enough. I am sure some will go on to summit K2. We have had some of the most pristine weather in years allowing us to enjoy unbelievable views day after day. The Eureka tents have performed well and I am amazed at how they withstood some very strong winds high on the mountain. All the other gear did well as did our porter support. So all in all it has been a great experience. I see mountaineering a metaphor for life: set a difficult goal, prepare for it, put everything you have into achieving it, accept the results without question. Thank you for following and my best wishes for my teammates for their safe success on the Hills. Climb on! Alan