Dispatches

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Our 2016 K2 climbers are now trekking out of the Karakoram as they begin the long journey back home. Below is a collection of beautiful photos taken by climber Stuart Erskine as well as a overview of the season ending avalanche that took out our high camps.

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“The avalanche passed by us and a lot of our oxygen bottles made huge bangs as they exploded hitting rocks and debris. We lost all our summit supplies from Camp 3 and Camp 4 including our tents, over 40 full O2 bottles, ropes to fix to the summit, equipment and personal supples. It spelt the end of our chances of summiting K2 for 2016. Very unlucky to loose everything needed to summit, but so so lucky we were not in Camp 3 when the avalanche went through camp as we would have had 40 to 60 people in Camp 3. Nobody was injured or killed in the avalanche. All teams lost everything required to summit K2 for 2016, so nobody will summit for 2016. The same event happened in 2015.”

-Stuart Erskine

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Camp 2 on K2.

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Garrett Madison climbing on the fixed ropes from Camp 1 to Camp 2 on K2 on July 22, 2016. Broad Peak the 12 highest mountain in the world is on the left. The Godwin Austin glacier flowing down the valley to Concordia, which is the junction where the Godwin Austin glacier meets the Baltoro glacier.

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A few climbers camp just before the bottleneck between Camp 1 and Camp 2 on K2 during the 2016 climbing season. Other than the regular camps 1, 2, 3 and 4, this is one of the only level places on K2 to pitch a tent.

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Climbing from Camp 1 to Camp 2 on July 22, 2016 during our third and final summit rotation on K2 for 2016.

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Arriving at Camp 1 on K2 on July 21, 2016 in fog, snow and wind.

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Arriving at Camp 1 on July 21, 2016 on our third and final summit rotation on K2.

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Trekking at 4:30 AM from K2 Base Camp to Camp 1 up the Godwin Austin glacier to the start of the Abruzi Ridge route on July 21, 2016 on our third and final summit rotation on K2.

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Trekking at 5:30 AM from K2 Base Camp to Camp 1 up the Godwin Austin glacier to the start of the Abruzi Ridge route on July 21, 2016 on our third and final summit rotation on K2.

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Returning to K2 Base Camp after the massive avalanche took out Camp 3 and Camp 4.

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The upper Karakoram Valley is very desolate and barren. It’s extremely hard to find any form of plant life. Showing Broad Peak and the Godwin Austin glacier.

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Wait, there is life! With the guidance of our Pakistani military Liaison Officer we found a very small pocket of diversified plant life in the upper Karakoram Valley on the side of Angel Peak and K2.

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Broad Peak, the Godwin Austin glacier and K2 Base Camp seen from the small location where plants and flowers where found and photographed.

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From left, Angel Peak, K2 and Broad Peak at night with trailing stars in the sky. You can see a light from K2 Base Camp.

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The upper Karakoram Valley of Northeastern Pakistan is a barren and desolate place and it is very difficult to find any form of life. On our 2016 Expedition to climb K2 we found a small area on the side of Angel Peak and K2 of very diversified plant life included mosses, lichens, grasses and flowering plants.

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