Today our team rested in base camp and made a short acclimatization hike to the Gilkey memorial nearby base camp. It was a sobering moment to digest the many memorials to climbers who did not return from K2. One of our climbers left a memorial to a friend of his who perished on a prior expedition here in 2008.
Our plan is for part of our team to move up to Advanced Base Camp tomorrow. The rope fixing schedule is on track, four of our staff (2 Nepal Sherpas and 2 Pakistani HAPs) will be working to fix ropes from Camp 2 to Camp 3 in the coming days.
The Japanese team that arrived in Pakistan nearly a month before us was able to make good progress on the climbing route by fixing ropes up to Camp 2. This allows our team and the Seven Summits team managed by Dawa Sherpa to work together and fix lines from Camp 2 upwards. By working together our 2 teams will oversee and complete the remaining work fixing lines on the Abruzzi route on K2.
Hello! This is Garrett calling in for the K2 expedition. Today is June 29th and we are at K2 base camp. It has been snowing a lot the last few days and we had a tough time getting up to base camp with all of our porters but we made it today. We set up our camp hastily just to create some shelter. We are looking forward to the snow letting up in the next couple days. We probably have two and a half to three feet here at base camp, waiting now for the weather to change and let up. Everyone is doing well and we just had a nice dinner and heading off to bed. Looking forward to a nice rest day tomorrow. All is well here at K2 base camp and we will check in soon.
Audio dispatch from Garrett Madison
Hello! This is Garrett calling in for the K2 expedition. Today is Thursday June 28th and we are at Concordia camp on the Baltoro Glacier. Tomorrow our plan is to trek up all the way to K2 base camp. Today we woke up around 5am and trekked from our camp at Goro II up to Concordia in the early afternoon. Hoping the suns going to let up soon, probably another few days of clouds and snow fall before we see clear skies. Everyone is doing well here and we are excited to make our way to base camp tomorrow. We will check in soon. Thanks!
Audio dispatch from Garrett Madison
Hello! This is Garrett Madison calling for the K2 expedition team. Today is June 26th and we continued our trek toward K2 base camp. We had a nice trek today from Paiju to Urdukas. Mixed weather today; some clouds, a bit of rain, some sun and some wind, but we had nice day overall. Had some great views of the Trango Towers on our way up to camp. Everyone is doing great and looking forward to hiking up to Goro II camp tomorrow on the Baltoro Glacier. So, one day closer to K2 base camp! Everyone is doing well and we are happy to be here. We will check in soon. Thanks!
Audio dispatch from Garrett Madison
Today is Monday, June 25th and yesterday we started the trek from Askole into our first camp at Jola. Today we are heading up to our next camp which is Paiju at over 10,000 feet. The group is doing very well and excited to be underway, moving up toward the Baltoro Glacier and K2 base camp. The weather has been pretty good, cool and not too hot. The team is looking forward to settling in at Paiju this afternoon. Tomorrow we will pass the Great Trango Towers! All good here and we will check in soon.
Audio dispatch from Garrett Madison
To learn more about the Central Karakoram National Park, which is the highest national park in the world and the largest protected area in Pakistan please visit: http://www.cknp.org
Yesterday our team of climbers and Sherpas flew from Islamabad to Skardu. Today we are organizing our equipment and tomorrow we plan to drive by jeep to Askole, from there we will begin the trek to base camp. In total we are 10 climbers, 3 guides, 10 Sherpas, and 5 Pakistan high altitude porters (HAP), along with our 8 base camp kitchen staff. Last week our advance team of 77 porters and 5 Pakistan HAPs arrived in K2 base camp to begin building the camp and to reserve places at Camps 1 & 2. We will have around 150 porters trekking in with us to base camp, in addition to some horses.
Skardu is a small frontier town, and we are staying in our hotel nearby the Indus river. It’s a big contrast from the very comfortable Serena hotel in Islamabad where we slept the past couple of nights. The Serena was a great place to rest and recover after the long flights many of us took from our home countries. Everyone is doing well and we are excited to begin trekking soon! – Garrett
K2 Team Roster:
I am very happy that our team experienced a high level of success and safety with all climbers who embarked on the summit attempt from Everest base camp reaching the top between May 14th and May 18th. Our small private teams (Kenton Cool’s group and the team of Ant Middleton & Ed Wardle) along and our main team of climbers are back in Kathmandu and heading home, some are home already.
We also had climbers complete the Everest and Lhotse combination climb, going from the summit of Mount Everest to the summit of Mount Lhotse the next day, altogether 36 climbers and Sherpas reached the summit of Everest plus another 6 from our rope fixing team. As in previous Everest seasons there were no injuries among our climbing team. We were supported by our incredible team of Sherpas who are an integral part of our success.
This season on Mount Everest is likely the most successful ever, given the number of collective summits versus permits issued and taking into account overall accidents / fatalities. The reason for this very high level of success all around I believe is due to 2 factors, the fact that our rope fixing team opened the route earlier than in previous Everest seasons and because a period of very good weather then manifest which allowed climbers to take advantage of the open route and good mountain conditions to climb. Because our rope fixing project was on time and well communicated to teams in Everest base camp, climbers were able to plan and prepare for summit attempts in advance of the good weather that materialized May 13th onward.
Our rope fixing team had to work hard, despite unfavorable conditions in April and early May such as a very icy Lhotse Face combined with high winds, our team was still able to fix the ropes to the summit of Mount Everest by May 13th, with double lines in places to ease congestion such as on the Lhotse Face up to Camp 3, the Yellow Band, and on the Geneva Spur. The rope used was 10.5 mm static rope, a very strong and durable rope, the anchors (primarily Black Diamond 22 cm ice screws) were placed appropriately to support large numbers of climbers.
The small number of accidents / fatalities this season were unfortunate, but on average less than what we normally see on Everest. Generally there are some accidents / fatalities related to climbers getting stuck up high on Everest in bad weather or on a very crowded summit day and then running out of oxygen (I was witness to this in 2012 when 4 climbers perished up high on Everest because the rope fixing was delayed to May 18th and few good weather days were available). Because the weather window has been favorable, climbers were able to spread out summit attempts over a week long period, so that no single day was problematic from a congestion standpoint.
Additionally, because our rope fixing project was well planned and executed on schedule, climbers were able to take advantage of the good weather window by making plans in advance of the arrival of this stable weather period.
The rope fixing project this year was coordinated by my team, with support from Adventure Consultants and our local operator in Nepal, Himalayan Guides. Initially there was some contention from other teams that this was a good idea, as traditionally the rope fixing project was managed by the ‘old guard’ on Everest and the work shared by many teams. However, the challenge of managing members from many teams often led to some confusion regarding work days, and lost efficiency when Sherpas from different teams worked together for the first time.
Our approach, keeping the project contained within essentially one team, provided us the opportunity to utilize our most capable high altitude Sherpas to complete this difficult project in an efficient and safe manner. Myself and Guy Cotter (CEO of Adventure Consultants) both climbed Mount Everest & Mount Lhotse this season, so we were able to actually be on the mountain to oversee various aspects of the rope fixing project in person rather than manage from Everest base camp as was traditionally the case by the managing teams.
I believe this “hands on” approach by the leadership influenced the rope fixing project in a very positive manner, as is evident by the outcome. We hope this example of project management, where the end result is safer and more successful climbing on the world’s highest mountain, can be carried forward to future seasons on Mount Everest!
Lhotse summits by our three members – Garrett, Josh & Mingmar Sherpa climbed Mount Lhotse, next to Mount Everest. Its the 4th highest mountain in the world. They climbed today at 9:15 am. And , now are on their way down the Lhotse Face with the other Mount Everest climbers to Camp 2.
All our Sherpas and climbers team are healthy and coming down to camp 2 . Some are in Everest Basecamp, the others will descend tomorrow from Camp 2 .
The main Everest team is at camp 3, with guides Garrett, Conan, Sid with climbers Josh, Matt, Randy, Tym and David. Everyone is doing well. We had a great day with nice weather climbing from our Camp 2 to Camp 3 on the Lhotse Face. The total climb took us about 5 hours. Additionally, After moving into camp 3 we had some soup and have been rehydrating, and enjoying the views from this spectacular location.
Also, we had the pleasure of seeing our advance team of Everest climbers Ed & Ant as they descended the Lhotse face after their successful summit of Mount Everest yesterday with 4 of our amazing climbing Sherpas. They were a little tired which is to be expected. But, they were in good spirits as they made their way down the Lhotse face to our camp 2 where they will spend the night. Tomorrow, they will descend to our Everest base camp.
Furthermore, our second team of Kenton, Ben, and Mark decided to rest today at the South Col high camp (Camp 4) with their Sherpas. They are planning to start their climb tonight! Fingers crossed for good weather!
Our team of Ed & Ant along with our Sherpas Dawa & Sangbu have reached South Col and staying there tonight! They have good conditions and are planning to come down tomorrow to Everest Basecamp.
Additionally, Our second team of Kenton, Ben, & Mark are planning to move up from Camp 3 to Camp 4 today in preparation for their summit attempt!
Also, Our main team members of Garrett, Conan, Sid, Matt, Tym, David, Josh, & Randy are resting in Camp 2 . They are evaluating the weather conditions and preparing to head up to Camp 3 for the summit push tomorrow.