K2 2019 Dispatches

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On the eve of their summit push, climbing team member Dr. Rick Thurmer provides today’s K2 expedition dispatch.  The plan is to climb to Camp 2 (6327m/20,757ft) on the Cesen route tomorrow morning.  C3 on Wed, C4, on Thu, and make their summit attempt on Friday, July 19th.  This is it – the week mountaineers dream of!  Stay tuned here for updates.  Expedition leader, Garrett Madison, is planning to bring a portable satellite terminal up the mountain, so we expect to be receiving photos and high-quality audio dispatches for the entire summit attempt!  Godspeed team!

Hi, this is Dr. Rick Thurmer.  We’ll be heading up K2 for our summit bid at 3:00 AM tomorrow morning!  Let me tell ya, we are all very, very excited.  We’re all packed, prep’d, and ready!  And I can tell you honestly, I’ve dreamt of this my whole life for this very moment.  So keep us all in your prayers, good night, and God bless.

K2 Cesen and Abruzzi Google Earth map

K2 Cesen and Abruzzi Google Earth map

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K2 climbing team member Gina provides the update from base camp today where part of the activities was oxygen system practice.  Summit bid begins on July 16th with a summit target of July 19th:

Hi!  This is Gina coming to you live from K2 base camp!  We just finished having a great dinner of kebabs and pasta.  Today we had a busy day of trying on oxygen masks and packing up our food.  Getting ready to head out very early on the morning of the 16th.  And we are very excited!  Talk to you soon.  Bye.

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In today’s update, Garrett outlines the upcoming summit attempt plan:

Hello, this is Garrett calling for the K2 climbing expedition team.  Today is July 13th, and we had a nice rest day in base camp.  All of our Sherpas have come down off the mountain from carrying loads and fixing ropes to Camp 4 on the Shoulder of the Cesen route.  And our plan is to review our oxygen systems tomorrow and start packing up for our summit attempt.  Our plan is to leave on the 16th of July to head up to Camp 2 on the Cesen route in hopes for a potential summit attempt on the 19th of July.  Everybody’s doing great here, we’ve got nice weather in base camp, and we look forward to another great day tomorrow.

(photo:  Madison Mountaineering archives)

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With all of the team now back in base camp after successful completion of their acclimatization rotation, everyone is watching the weather and looking for that window for a summit attempt.  Garrett checks in with today’s update:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the K2 expedition team.  Today is July 12th, and we had a very relaxing day in base camp.  Our climbers Victor, Rick and Louis, came down from Camp 2 today along with Sherpas Mingmar and Dawa.  And our other Sherpas were able to fix lines up to Camp 4 today at the Shoulder on K2.  So, a very productive day all around.  Now we are all back in base camp resting up, watching the weather, and getting ready for our next move.  All’s well here in K2 base camp!

Looking up at the Cesen route on K2 right side snow gulley is the start

Looking up at the Cesen route on K2, right side snow gulley is the start

The evening view of Chogolisa from K2 base camp

The evening view of Chogolisa from K2 base camp

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The main group of climbers took a rest day at base camp and are getting psyched for summit push coming up soon.  Garrett provides the details:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the K2 climbing expedtion team.  Today is July 11th and we had a rest day today in base camp.  Everyone’s doing well here.  We resurfaced some tent platforms on the glacier and a few of our members, Victor, Rick, and Louis are still up at Camp 2 – coming down later today.  And our Sherpas are pushing up to Camp 4 and heading back to Camp 3 this evening.  So, all’s well here on K2!

Resurfacing tent platforms in base camp

Resurfacing tent platforms in base camp

View of K2 from base camp

View of K2 from base camp

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Most of the team descended from Camp 2 on the Cesen route today and are back in BC, completing their acclimatization rotation.  Here’s Garrett with the details:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the K2 expedition climbing team.  Today we came down from K2 Camp 2 on the Cesen route to base camp.  Had a nice descent, some good views, and a great lunch and dinner here in K2 base camp.  So, we’re resting up now and just taking it easy; enjoying the comforts of base camp.  A few of our climbers are still up at Camp 2.  They’re acclimatizing for additional days.  It’s Victor, Louis, and Rick along with a couple of our Sherpas, Dawa and Mingmar.  And they will be coming down in the next couple of days.  Weather looks good, and everyone’s doing well here on K2!

Climbers on the Cesen route with Broad Peak behind

Climbers on the Cesen route with Broad Peak behind

On the Cesen route with base camp and Concordia in the distance

On the Cesen route with base camp and Concordia in the distance

Gina and Liz taking a break on the Cesen route on the way down

Gina and Liz taking a break on the Cesen route on the way down

 

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Expedition leader Garrett Madison provides this update via sat phone from K2 Cesen Camp 2:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the K2 climbing expedition team.  Today is July 9th.  We had a nice rest day up at Camp 2 (6327m).  A few of us went for an acclimatization hike up towards Camp 3 (7000m).  Good weather today and all members of the team are now up at Camp 2.  Tomorrow morning we are going to head back down to base camp.  Everybody’s doing great up here, and the weather has been fantastic.  We are looking forward to getting back down to base camp and having some good rest and some good food.  And we are looking forward to the next phase of the expedition.  We’ll check in soon.  Thanks!

(photo:  Madison Mountaineering archive)

Google Earth 3D map of K2 Cesen route tracking map

Cesen route vs. Abruzzi Spur route. Team at Camp 2.

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Most of the team is up on the Cesen route acclimatizing and the rest are heading up tomorrow morning from base camp (in ~7 hours).  Expedition leader, Garrett Madison provides today’s update:

Hello, this is Garrett calling in for the K2 climbing expedition team.  Today is July 8th, and we are up at Camp 2, most of us.  We had a great day today:  we climbed halfway up to Camp 3 for acclimatization and familiarity with the route.  Had beautiful weather today; great views of the surrounding peaks and the Godwin-Austen Glacier.  We are back to Camp 2, tucked in and ready for bed.  Our plan is to probably spend another day up here at Camp 2 acclimatizing and then heading down in a couple of days time.  All’s well here on K2.  We’ll check in soon.  Thanks!

(photo:  Madison Mountaineering archive)

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Madison Mountaineering guide Conan Bliss reports in on the team’s first rotation progress from Camp 2 on the Cesen route:

Hi!  This is Conan checking with everybody out there in cyberspace for the Madison Mountaineering K2 expedition.  Today we had a stellar move up to Camp 2 on the Cesen spur.  Everybody’s had a good dinner and are tucked into their tents tonight.  Spectacular day today with an unbelievable view over the Karakoram, Concordia, and the Baltoro Glacier.  We are planning on staying here tonight.  Tomorrow should be a mellow day, also should be nice weather.  I will check in with you then.

(photo:  Madison Mountaineering archives)

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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

Chogolisa (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

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