All K2 expedition dispatches

The K2 Cesen route is one ridge in from the right side

The K2 team’s first rotation is coming up and expedition leader Garrett Madison had this update today:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the K2 expedition.  We had a great day of training yesterday out on the ice near base camp – practicing fixed line ascending, repelling and footwork, all in preparation for our first rotation up the mountain.  Our sherpas were able to fix to Camp 3 on the Česen route yesterday.  Which is great progress.  And we’ll keep working to fix higher, hopefully, they can reach Camp 4 in the next few days or so.  Our plan is to head up tomorrow morning early on our first rotation to spend a few nights upon the Česen route acclimatizing and getting familiar with the route.  Everybody’s doing great here at base camp.  Beautiful weather and we look forward to more great days ahead!

Chogolisa as seen from K2 base camp

(7668m/25,157 ft) as seen from K2 base camp

The K2 Cesen route is one ridge in from the right side

The K2 Cesen route is one ridge in from the right side as seen from base camp

USA Independence Day dinner celebration with our team and friend Mike Horn

Expedition leader Garrett Madison and the team wish Americans everywhere a happy Independence Day from K2!

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the K2 expedition team.  Today is the Fourth of July!  Happy Independence Day to all the Americans on our team and elsewhere.  Today we went for an acclimatization hike up to advanced base camp.  Great weather, nice views, nice to stretch our legs, and get some fresh air.  We made it back in time for lunch and then this afternoon we had a small party with some other members from other teams in camp here to celebrate our holiday back in the United States.  Tomorrow we are planning on more training here in base camp.  All’s well on K2.  We will check in soon.  Thanks!

View of K2 and the Cesen route from hike to ABC

View of K2 and the Cesen route from hike to ABC

On the way up to ABC – K2 on the left

Going through the small icefall on the way to ABC

USA Independence Day dinner celebration (left to right: Garrett, Gina, Rick, Mike Horn, Brian, Louis, Victor, Valerio, Conan, Elizabeth)

Climbers Elizabeth and Gina with K2 behind

Today on K2:  Puja!  As is the custom before any climbing begins, a Puja ceremony is held to ask the mountain for blessings and safe passage.  What follows is a fun afternoon party.  Here’s Garrett with the details:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the K2 expedition team!  Today we had our Puja ceremony.  It was a great day with all of our climbing members, our Nepal sherpa staff, and our Pakistani climbing staff and base camp team.  We asked the mountain for safe passage and blessings.  We had a Buddist Lama conduct the ceremony and afterward we had a dance party!  It was a lot of fun – good spirits all around.  And now we are excited to begin climbing up the mountain.  Beautiful weather here on K2 and looking forward to another great day!

Climber Brian leading the dance at the Puja ceremony

Climber Brian leading the dance at the Puja ceremony

Climber Louis dancing at the Puja ceremony! Our liaison officer Captain Faiz on the right

Climber Louis dancing at the Puja ceremony! Our liaison officer Captain Faiz on the right

Climbers Elizabeth and Gina with K2 behind

Climbers Elizabeth and Gina with K2 behind

 

Training in K2 base camp with Broad Peak behind

Yesterday, the K2 team conducted some training at base camp.  Expedition leader, Garrett Madison, provides the details:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the K2 expedition.  We’re doing great here in base camp.  It’s been beautiful weather the last few days.  We’ve got camp fully dialed in the way we like it:  great dinning tent for the climbers, communications tent, lounge tent, shower tent.  So it’s come along really well.  We’ve had some nice meals here and have been doing some training here in base camp to refresh our technical skills which we will use up on the route:  climbing fixed ropes and descending fixed lines.  So, everybody’s doing well here and we’re excited for our Puja ceremony!

Training in K2 base camp-practicing fixed line ascending and descending

Training in K2 base camp-practicing fixed line ascending and descending

Training in K2 base camp with Broad Peak behind

K2 Base Camp

With the team settling into base camp and our satellite terminal uplink up and running, Garrett and team report in with photos and this expedition update:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the K2 expedition team.  We are at base camp.  We had a wonderful trek in over a week.  And arrived in base camp three days ago.  We’re getting base camp set up now and almost have it finally dailed in.  It’s nice to be here and get settled and get ready for our first rotation which is probably five or six days off.  Everyone’s doing well and we are excited to be here enjoying base camp.

K2 as seen from base camp

Broad Peak as seen from K2 base camp

 

Trango 3 tents at K2 base camp

The K2 team arrived at base camp yesterday afternoon and were busy getting things sorted and set up. They will continue to dial in the camp over the next several days as they settle into their home for the next three or four weeks. Early this morning, expedition leader Garrett Madison called in via sat phone with this update:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the K2 climbing expedition. Today is June 29th, and we arrived K2 base camp yesterday afternoon. Everybody’s doing well. We got great weather at the moment, and we’re just setting up camp here the next few days – waiting for our final porter loads of equipment to arrive so we can get base camp dialed into our specification. So, we look forward to getting set up here the way we want it. The weather sure is nice – great views of the mountain and surrounding peaks, like Broad Peak. Everyone’s doing well. We’ll check in soon. Thanks!

(photo:  Madison Mountaineering K2 2018 archive)

K2 seen from nearby camp

Today the team rounded the corner between the Baltoro Glacier and the Godwin-Austen Glacier placing K2 in sight!  The great weather allowed for amazing first looks at the expedition objective.  Here’s Garrett with the audio dispatch:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the K2 expedition team.  Today we trekked from Goro 2 (4279m/14,039ft) on the Baltoro Glacier up to just near Broad Peak base camp (4679m/15,351ft).  It was a beautiful day, great views of the surrounding peaks.  And we got a really nice view of K2 when we rounded the corner near Concordia.  Everybody’s here doing great!  We had a nice dinner.  And tomorrow we look forward to making it all the way to K2 base camp.

Some of the team on the Baltoro glacier about to begin the trek after breakfast – Mashabrum peak behind

K2 seen from nearby camp

A porter heads up the glacier towards Concordia

Mules and trekkers on the trail to K2 base camp

The K2 team caught their first views of Broad Peak (8051m/26,414 ft), K2’s neighbor and the world’s 12th highest peak from their camp in the middle of the Baltoro Glacier.  Garrett Madison, expedition leader, calls in with today’s dispatch:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the K2 expedition team.  We had a great day trekking from Urdukas camp (4034m/13,235ft) to Goro 2 camp (4285m/14,058ft) here in the middle of the Baltoro Glacier.  Wonderful weather today, sunny and great views of Masherbrum peak, Gasherbrum IV, the Trango Towers, even Broad Peak – we could see the summit of today.  So just a spectacular day with amazing views all around.  Looking forward to another great day of trekking tomorrow, up towards Concordia.  Everyone’s doing very well on the team, having a wonderful time and we look forward to another beautiful day ahead!

Gasherbrum IV as seen from Goro 2 camp on the Baltoro glacier

Mules and trekkers on the trail to K2 base camp

K2 team enjoying a lunch break on the trail

The team enjoyed stunning views of the Trango Towers and surrounding peaks as they made their way to camp at Urdukas.  Here’s Garrett with today’s K2 expedition dispatch:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the K2 expedition team.  Today is June 25th, and we had a great day trekking from Paiju (3400m/11,155ft) up to Urdukas camp (4034m/13,235ft).  We passed by the Grand Trango Towers, Nameless Tower, some beautiful rock spires, and the weather was really nice today.  It was cool for a bit, and then sunny, and we got some great views.  We had a nice lunch break and made it to Urdukas camp.  So everyone’s doing great here, and we are heading up the Baltoro Glacier to Goro 2 (4285m/14,058ft) camp tomorrow!

Nameless Tower (Trango group) as seen from the trail to K2 base camp

Nameless Tower (Trango group) as seen from the trail to K2 base camp

Today the team will be enjoying a rest day at the camp of Paiju along the banks of the Braldu river just below the snout of the Baltoro Glacier.  Garrett provides this update:

Hello this is Garrett calling in for the K2 climbing expedition team.  Today is June 24th and last night we arrived in Paiju (3400m/11,155ft) on the trek to base camp.  Today we’re taking a rest day in Paiju to give our porters a chance to rest up and then we’ll continue on the following day up to Urdukas (4034m/13,235ft).  Weather’s good, sometimes a little bit of rain, sun, bit of wind; mountain weather…  But, it’s all good here.  Everyone’s doing well and we’re looking forward to enjoying a rest day.

(photo:  Madison Mountaineering K2 archive)