August 08, 2011 – Update from base camp
We made it down to base camp late on the 6th – around 8pm, directly
from the shoulder. Another trip to the shoulder, many for me now. I
cannot say I did not see it coming. We really should have tried for
the summit on the 4th, both Kinga and Christian's forecast – both from
Meteoexploration.com which has been very very accurate this season
suggested it as the best summit day, a bit of rough seas at c2 and c3
the previous days, but would have been worth it as winds below 10km at
the summit here are hard to find. There was alot of discussion the
last days of July and the teams climbing with oxygen were just not
ready for the 4th, and thought that 30km winds were acceptable. We did
not take a bold enough step and leave with the intention of the 4th.
August 02 say all 14 people leave for C2, we loligaged a bit on the
way up as it was decided I had broken enough trail and should take it
easy. We arrived in sunny conditions and all was well.
August 03 others set off first again and finially we caught up with
the main group at the edge of the snowfield above the towers, and then
I sped up to pick up 200m of rope deposited last trip just below low
C3, to fix into C3, arriving just before 2:30pm in the real C3. I
again took another 200m rope, which another member carried from just
below low C3, and fixed another 100m of rope across the 100 meters of
steep ground above C3 while everyone else nestled into their sleeping
bags, returning to camp at 6:30pm. Enough work for one day for one
person – especially given we were now 14 people moving up.
August 04 Again others took off first and immediately after the steep
ground I had fixed the day before found very deep snow. In an amazing
display of tenacity and strength Luis Stizsinger – with skis on his
back and TLT5s on his feet – led a long traverse in very deep snow to
put us onto a better course. At this point we reached old rope fixed
last year by a Russian member of the Polish team. A quick rotation
started and Kinga and I deemed it too slow going – regardless of how
hard everyone was trying and trust me everyone was trying. Reaching
the shoulder after 6pm, with 30km winds forecasted seemed a bad idea
to us. A bit of radio time with some attemps to convince some to
return to C3 and continue the next day to C4 yielded nothing so we
descended. Some made it to the Shoulder, but just after 6pm. Others
slept at an very creative bivy 200m below and others at the low C4 –
75 m below the Shoulder.
August 05 We rebroke 75% of the trail to the shoulder, arriving at
6:05pm. Luckily those that had arrived on the shoulder had found our
tent from last year in a deposit, and very very very kindly set it up
for us. The winds had picked up considerably around 4:30pm, so we just
ducked into the tent. A bit of radio comms again and we decided to
start at 2:30am for the Bottleneck. At 1:30am we heard no talk, just
wind, wait another hour. At 3am people started talking about the wind.
Luis and I decided it was too windy, wait til 5am, at 5am it was just
too windy. Everybody went to sleep, By 7am people were leaving the
Shoulder for lower camps or BC. Around 8am – after depositing stuff
for another attempt we said Have Fun to Luis who put on his skis and
started to make turns. Amazingly he skied to close to C3 and then the
Lower half of the Kukuczka route – super effort and great fun to watch
someone who is a master at their sport! We arrived into BC around 9pm,
to the best chips and a most warm welcome from our two cooks MR. Ali
August 6th we slept, and slept and slept. In the afternoon Chris,
Sammi, Luis and Alix came over for coffee and cakes and we all chatted
away in a our dining tent while outside it snowed. It was nice to be
with close friends and warm and safe.
August 7th FTA and Christian and Bruno depart BC, sad to see friends
go, only one other team left in BC, they leave tomorrow. First in last
out. We will give it another go if the weather will give us a chance
in the next 10 days. K2 is a tough nut to crack.
Sorry for not updating more, hope you are having a great summer and
thanks for following along!!!!!