All of our climbers and equipment are off the mountain and we are preparing to begin the 100 kilometer trek from K2 Base Camp to Askole, down the Baltoro Glacier past the Great Trango Tower and back to where we began our journey nearly 6 weeks ago.
On July 22nd, we had an incredible, and very rare, summit day on K2. All 8 of our clients who began the summit rotation made it to the top along with 3 guides, 9 Nepali Sherpas and 4 Pakistani HAP (high altitude porters). In terms of total team size reaching the summit, I have been told by our liaison officer here with us that we have set a record! We were very fortunate to have had perfect conditions as we climbed to the top of K2 and then back down to our Camp 2. The last couple of days here in Base Camp we have been breaking down camp and packing up for the long trek out.
It’s been an incredible experience here in the Karakorum, and we are all thankful that we finished the climb without any accidents or injuries / fatalities as some other teams sadly experienced this season on K2.
All of our K2 team members are safely down from the mountain and at Base Camp (4995 m/16,388 ft)! Fantastic effort by all. We will have a full recap after a well deserved rest!
Garrett called in with an audio dispatch this evening from K2 Base Camp:
Hi! This is Garrett Madison calling from the K2 expedition. Today is July 16th and we just finished up dinner here in Base Camp and we are ready to move up to Camp 1 tomorrow morning! We are going to head off at 05:00 AM. The weather is looking good, the route conditions are looking solid, and the Sherpas are excited to be climbing with us as well! So all’s good here on K2 and we will check in again soon.
The last two days we have been resting in K2 Base Camp and recovering from our time up high. The weather has been great, and currently our Sherpas are working to fix ropes to Camp 4 on the shoulder of K2. We hope that if the weather remains good that they can finish the load carries of fixed ropes, oxygen, tents, etc. to our high camp and then we will be in position for a summit attempt. Everyone is doing well here at K2 Base Camp!
Today we woke up at 5:30 AM at Camp 2 on the Abruzzi Ridge and descended all the way to our K2 Base Camp. We rappelled most of the route as we made our way down over steep rock, ice, and snow sections of the route, including the notable House’s Chimney. The weather has been fantastic the last few days, with little to no wind, a clear sky, and warmth during the daytime.
Our team is all back in K2 Base Camp now, after having a great dinner and looking forward to some rest over the next few days.
Our Sherpa team is hard at work, they are back up at Camp 2 and are working to fix the route from Camp 3 to Camp 4, then carrying equipment such as oxygen, tents, and ropes to Camp 4. They are an amazing cadre of the finest & hardest working Sherpas I have ever known.
This morning the sun finally came out and we saw K2, Broad Peak, and the surrounding mountains for the first time since arriving here on June 29th. We are drying out our gear and enjoying the warm weather! Yesterday was our first full day here in K2 base camp, so we spent the entire day setting up our camp the way we like to have it, as when we arrived we had to set up tents quickly as the snow was coming down very hard. Our dining tent is very comfortable with carpets, cushioned chairs, 3 couches, and a heater to keep it warm for us at dinner time. The food has been excellent so far, lots of fresh vegetables and meat to keep our energy levels high. After dinner last night we watched a movie in the dining tent before bedtime.
Our plan is to continue setting up our camp and drying out our gear while we rest and acclimatize, then tomorrow will be our Puja day! It looks like a bit more snow this week on Wednesday, but then favorable weather conditions thereafter! So we are hoping the weather forecast holds true and a long period of warm and sunny weather comes our way.
Everyone is doing well and enjoying the base camp life!
We concluded a great second rotation today by descending from our Camp 2, known as our Advanced Base Camp, all the way down to our Everest base camp. While on our rotation we spent three nights at our Camp 2, and were very lucky to have great weather. To begin our rotation, we departed our base camp at 4 AM and climbed all the way to Camp 2.
Then, we took a rest day to recuperate and recover from the big climb, nearly 4,000 ft (1,212m) of vertical gain. After our rest day we planned to climb to our Camp 3 on the Lhotse Face, so we departed our Camp 2 (Advanced Base Camp) at 8 AM .We climbed with our down suits to the base of the Lhotse Face, then began our ascent up the steep ice wall on the fixed ropes towards Camp 3. It is situated about halfway up the Lhotse Face at approximately 23,500 ft. (7,121m).
The Lhotse Face is notably icier this year and requires good crampon technique! After 5 hours of climbing we reached our Camp 3 and took a long break to rest, hydrate, and eat a few snacks. We also had the privilege of enjoying an amazing view from Camp 3, looking down over Camp 2, the Western CWM, and Camp 1. We then descended the fixed rope designated for rappelling and made good time in our descent, reaching our Camp 2 just an hour later for a late afternoon lunch. It was a very productive rotation in that we accomplished our goal of climbing to Camp 3 to acclimatize . Additionally, we also familiarize ourselves with the steep and technical terrain of the Lhotse Face.
Our Sherpas have been busy carrying loads of equipment to the South Col high camp (Camp 4) for the final stage of the rope fixing project . This involves setting the ropes from the South Col to the Summit of Mount Everest. They have done an exemplary job so far by setting two lines up to Camp 3. One for ascending and one for descending, as well as an additional line above Camp 3 to ease congestion on the route. We have received many compliments regarding how the lines are set in a safe and desirable fashion on the Lhotse Face which makes for efficient climbing.
Lines have also been set on the Geneva Spur, the final rock ridge before the South Col, so that climbers can go up and down on separate lines for safety and efficiency. At this time Sherpas have been utilizing these ropes to carry loads of oxygen cylinders, tents, food, and fuel to position at the South Col for the eventual summit attempt on Mount Everest!
According to our weather forecasts, it appears that a major wind event is approaching Mount Everest, probably in the next day or two. Our Sherpas will make good use of tomorrows marginal weather forecast to position additional loads at the South Col high camp, and then see if the following day is appropriate for climbing above 8000 meters. The jet stream will likely cover the Mount Everest region for up to a week and no climbing will take place above 8000 meters during this time, so we are preparing to hold tight and wait for the opportunity when the Jet Stream passes and the winds are calm enough for a summit attempt! Until then we plan to rest and enjoy the amenities of our Everest base camp!
Today we departed Mount Everest base camp at 4 AM and climbed up through the Khumbu Icefall in the pre dawn hours when the ice is solid. Then we had the pleasure of a beautiful sunrise as we ascended up through the Icefall to Camp 1. After reaching Camp 1 we continued up through the Western CWM (valley) to Camp 2, our Advanced Base Camp. It was a long day of climbing, but we are happy to finally have arrived in our Advanced Base Camp on Mount Everest and now looking forward to a rest day tomorrow! Everyone is doing well here on Mount Everest!
Today our Sherpas carried 10 loads of ropes and hardware from Camp 2, our Advanced Base Camp, to the South Col high camp (Camp 4) on Mount Everest. This load carry is approximately 4,500 ft. (1380m) from Camp 2 to Camp 4, and very strenuous day, which involves climbing the steep ice of the Lhotse Face, crossing the rock formation known as the Yellow Band, and then up and over the secondary rock formation known as the Geneva Spur, a ridge line which separates the upper Lhotse Face. Our Sherpas are planning to carry another 10 loads of essential equipment tomorrow, to complete the positioning of gear necessary for the rope fixing project to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
Today all of our climbers and guides in our main team descended from Camp 2 down to Everest base camp after a great first rotation! We ended up staying an extra night at Camp 2 for acclimatization because everything was going so well for us up at our “Advanced Base Camp”. This will assist us in our acclimatization process as we prepare for our ‘summit rotation’. We spent two nights at Camp 1 and three nights at Camp 2 while we were up on our ‘first rotation.
Today, while we were preparing to descend to base camp at 6 AM from Camp 2, we received information that the icefall route had changed . Our team at basecamp were saying that it was in the process of being repaired. So, we delayed our descent to around 10 AM when we had confirmation that the new variation in the Khumbu Icefall route was complete, arriving base camp this afternoon. Our team is excited to be back in Everest base camp where the air is thick, the food amazing, and the accommodations seeming very plush after nearly a week up high on the mountain.
Over the last few days our expert team of Nepal Climbing Sherpas were able to fix ropes to the Geneva Spur, just short of the South Col (Camp 4) high camp on Mount Everest, despite the windy conditions and the icier than normal slope on the Lhotse Face. Now, with an up line and a down line in place from the base of the Lhotse Face to Camp 3, and then a single line going above that to the Geneva Spur, teams will be able to acclimatize and position loads up higher on the mountain.
Our rope fixing team is preparing to head back up and fix ropes all the way to the South Col in the coming days and then position oxygen and equipment for the ‘summit fixing’ project at the South Col so that when the weather conditions permit they can begin fixing ropes from the South Col up towards the Balcony, the South Summit, and onward to the summit of Mount Everest. They will also install a second ‘down line’ in places to ease congestion on the route such as on the Yellow Band, the Geneva Spur, and at other bottlenecks along the route. All is well here on Mount Everest and we hope for good weather and route conditions to continue!
We have begun our First Rotation! Today our climbers and guides departed Everest base camp at 3 AM . They will climbed up through the Khumbu Icefall to Camp 1, arriving in the morning. Our plan is to rest for the remainder of the day at Camp 1 and then spend the night here. Our plan for tomorrow is to go for an acclimatization hike up the Western CWM (valley) tomorrow and then spend another night in Camp 1. All is well here on Camp1.