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.

Click here for the dispatch home and videos

« The guys are climbing K2! | Dispatch Home | Audio Dispatch from Ryan at K2 Basecamp »

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K2 - is it Over?

Posted on July 26, 2006 10:13 AM U.S. Mountain Daylight Time

Our four climbers are now in BC after some extreme difficulty high on K2 this week. But three will try again, it appears.

Reports from Wilco plus from Bango Bannon’s site indicate that some of the team will make another attempt in a few days. The good news is that on a mountain like K2, there is strength in numbers and the Italian team is now at Camp 4 and may go for the summit soon. Thus some lines will be fixed and trail broken. Of course a quick change of the weather could take the mountain back to its original condition in a blink of the eye.

There was always a risk with the double header plan that time would run out on K2. The stretch of bad weather last week delayed the team from establishing the high camps and in some cases destroyed existing camps and gear. ATP will break basecamp on Friday, July 29th in order to leave the mountain before the climbing permit expires.

When you apply for a permit you set an end date and in general this is fixed and there is little flexibility. Also there is the matter of food, cooks and porters that is required to keep the expedition going. There is a finite amount of resources so at some point the climb must end.

But each climber has the flexibility to stay if the Liaison Officer approves their move to a different permit. Sometimes this is a formality other times it is impossible. The Liaison officers are members of the Pakistani Military and are charted to monitor the climbers and porters for safety and adherence to cultural customs. The K2 LO was a good man and I hope he agrees to the transfers for Wilco, Ger and Mick.

Also there were two reports of injury from rock falls – Ryan and Nick. Both are reported to be OK. It is amazing what a small, palm-sized rock can do to the human body. Often loosened by higher climbers, these rocks become bullets gaining speed as they careen down the mountain. Since they follow the “fall line often they go directly for climbers. In theory the route should avoid these lines but in practice they often are directly in the path. Even though climbers wear helmets for this very danger, arms, legs and torsos are exposed. Even a glancing blow can leave a climber stunned or worse.

So it appears that the majority of the team will depart on Friday leaving a few to try again.

Climb on!