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K2 2014 Dispatches

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Spying our route on the Abruzzi Ridge from base camp, good weather is heading our way!
K2 Route Spotting

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Yesterday afternoon our K2 climbing team descended from Camp 2, after five nights sleeping at elevations of up to 22,000’. We plan to rest for the next few days and assess the weather and route conditions for our next foray up the mountain. We hope a weather window will materialize long enough for us to make a viable summit attempt of the peak in the next two weeks.

First Rotation Recap:

We began by hiking up the glacier and through the short icefall section to reach advanced base camp (ABC) at 17, 200’. ABC is a pleasant camp perched on a rock outcropping with a stream flowing nearby and spectacular views of the surrounding glaciers. Almost every hour we would hear the icefall avalanches come roaring down the opposite peaks. We climbed up a short section of steep snow slopes the following day to acclimate and then slept again at advanced base camp. Then we climbed to Camp 1, about five hours climbing on snow slopes varying from 45-65 degrees. After a night at Camp 1, we climbed to Camp 2, much of the route being on rock slopes as well as some short snow and icy sections. We climbed through the iconic “House’s Chimney”, a fun rock section of approximately 100’ of near vertical rock, then slept at Camp 2. The next morning we slept in and then climbed up towards Camp 3, returning to Camp 2 to sleep, descending the following day to base camp. The views from Camp 2 were incredible, a panorama of peaks spanning the horizon. If we looked closely we could just make out our base camp 6000’ below.

This morning we are very happy to be in base camp, having enjoyed a hearty breakfast of French Toast with real Maple syrup, bacon, and fried eggs, washed down with Starbucks coffee! We just watched “Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark” on our Pico Projector with Bose SoundLink acoustics. Currently we are now lounging in camp socializing with the other friendly foreign climbers. Our Sherpa team is here with us and their close proximity makes us temporarily forget we are in Pakistan, the camaraderie and customs of Sherpa culture make for a comforting and warm experience, similar to being in the Khumbu valley of Nepal. We will continue resting and evaluating the weather conditions for the next few days.

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The K2 team just returned to base camp after spending 5 nights at elevations of up to 22,000′.

K2: Steep snow slopes above Camp 1

Alan climbs steep snow slopes above Camp 1


K2: Matt & Alan admiring the views!

Matt & Alan admiring the views!

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Climbed partway up to Camp 3 today, a cold and windy day but great views. Planning to descend to K2 base camp tomorrow for some R & R!

– Garrett

Elevation = 21,912.01 ft.   Location = (35.870243, 76.532610)

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Chilling out at K2 Camp 2 on K2, 22,000′. A little windy and cloudy, but happy to be here! Enjoyed climbing Howse’s chimney just before camp:)

– Garrett

Elevation = 21,880.94 ft.   Location = (35.870113, 76.532650)

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K2 Camp 1
Today the climbing team climbed up from Advanced Base Camp (ABC) to K2 Camp 1. Camp 1 on the Abruzzi Ridge climbing route is located at 6065m or just below 20,000 ft. elevation. The team is on their first acclimatization rotation on the mountain and will make a decision to continue up to Camp 2 tomorrow or descend back down to ABC based on a number of factors they will consider. Team member Alan Arnette posted a nice audio update via satellite phone on his blog today describing the day’s climb.

Looking good team! Climb on.

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Just made it up to advanced base camp. Looking forward to climbing up to camp 1 tomorrow.

– Garrett

Elevation = 17,400 ft.   Location = (35.860040, 76.542860)

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Early today we had our Puja ceremony with our climbing team and asked the mountain for safe passage. We have been fortunate to have great weather, and are heading up later this afternoon to advanced base camp, then will try to reach Camps 1 & 2. Our trekking team left today to head down and will be a few days back to Askole.

Everyone is doing well & enjoying the expedition!

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Yesterday we arrived in K2 base camp, and have enjoyed perfect weather the last 2 days! After a long trek, the comforts of base camp include our spacious dining and communications tent, our personal tents, and our shower tent (this was much appreciated after the week long trek).

K2 Dining-Communication Tent
The food here is amazing, our cook has been filling our bellies with yummy meals in addition to fresh pastries every afternoon. We are fortunate to have ample power to recharge our electronics, and a satellite modem to stay connected with the outside world.

We have enjoyed spectacular views of K2 from camp, and have been planning our climbing strategy with our sherpa team. Our plan is to have a puja ceremony on Friday, then make our first rotation to Advanced base camp and Camps 1 and 2 after that.

View from K2 base camp
K2 Sherpa Climbing Team
Our trekking team is making the most of the base camp experience, and will remain here at BC an additional night before heading out.

Everyone is healthy and in good spirits! We hope this good weather continues!

Garrett Madison

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Relaxing in Paiju on the trek to K2 base camp.

K2 base camp trek: Paiju

Matthew Du Puy and Alan Arnette