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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A Difficult Summit Bid

Posted on July 6, 2006 07:24 AM U.S. Mountain Daylight Time

Wilco's site reports that he and Gerard left C4 at 2:00 AM but got lost in the darkness. They regrouped and left again with some of the Austrian team. So what is going on?

In addition to Wilco and Ger, Mark arrived exhausted. Another climber probably turned around and returned to C3. Remember that the climb from C3 to C4 is steep and long - 9 hours. It took Ryan and JJ 8 hours the first time and since then there has been fresh snow, blowing winds and an obscured route. While there are fixed lines, they are white with blue stripes and blend in but more importantly can be buried by new snow thus providing no clue as to the correct direction.

So climbers are left to determine the route on their own. All they know is to head up and for the Col. This is why the plan was to have some of the HAPs on the Bid but as you know they turned back.

There were two small one-man tents at C4. The plan was to have the HAPs bring a three-man Eureka tent to C4 to provide a more comfortable weigh station but I am not sure that happened. C4 was never designed to be a full camp in the sense that climbers spend a comfortable night. It was supposed to be a stop where climbers brew some drinks, rest and rehydrate before going for the summit. Upon return they go to C3 and not stop at C4. However, with the difficult conditions it seems that C4 has become much more important.

It is located below the Col and under a Bergschrund. At times this area has small avalanches and can bury tents under a shallow layer of snow. Obviously this is not a place to spend a lot of time!

It is excellent they have teamed with the Austrians. This is a strong team that has been on the Hill for more than a month. I *think* they have attempted the summit three times. They climbed to C3 in early June but turned back due to conditions. We worked with them on sites, lines and routes so would be good to see a joint summit.

This is always a difficult time for family, friends and interested followers. The lack of news is often disturbing as is our imaginations. But these are extremely experienced climbers and, in spite of what I have said, this section is really safe with no objective dangers. There is avalanche potential, crevasse and a narrow ridge that needs to be traversed but all this is quite manageable. It is also good that the weather has cleared as forecasted thus increasing visibility.

Climb on!