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  Expedice HI-TEC V-LITE Nanga Parbat - K2 2005: 7100 meters and moving up!

Copyright© Billy Pierson: Murph goes to K2: The best K2 video on the planet: VHS or DVD

Update: Good morning, EverestNews:

Radek Jaros and Petr "Miska" Masek, aka HI-TEC V-LITE Czech Nanga Parbat-K2 Expedition, reached 7100m on the SSE/Basque/Scott/Cesen Ridge og K2 before 5PM local time on Tuesday, July 19. Radek sent a text message via a sat phone:

"We are at 7100m. With us are 5 guys of Sulovak's Expedition. Tomorrow we will try to make it to the Shoulder, perhaps all of us. But there are lots of snow and the weight of what we are dragging on our backs is killing us! Have difficulties brewing, the wind is strong..."  [Note: leopold Sulovsky's expedition to K2.]

Radek Jaros and Petr "Miska"Masek, aka the two-man double-header HI-TEC V-LITE Nanga Parbat-K2 Czech Expediton, reached the K2 BC last Wednesday, on July 13, after climbing Nanga (Radek summitted on June 28) and two days off in Skardu.  "We would have loved to have more days of rest in Skardu. But they don't serve beer, so what for ... and besides, our agency was not able to get us trekking permits for a day or two later... ", wrote Radek.

The trip from Skardu to Concordia and the K2 BC is very familiar to Radek and Petr, they had made it, back and forth, also in 2001 and 2003. This time, several things were new: for one, the facilities for trekker's, virtually non-existent in 2001, except for bare camping sites, were way improved over 2003. Latrinas, even running water! Second, there were many more trekkers thank in 2001 or 2003(no change in the military presence). Finally, as compared to the past, they did not get a single glimpse of K2 all the way to the BC! Even worse, they got not a single glimpse of K2 during their more than 4 days at the BC either!! The mountain remained hidden in clouds.

Not surprisingly, they found the various K2 expeditions in deep blues. K2 base camp is a very desolate place, once the weather gets bad. More than 2 weeks of heavy snowing and rain, deep fog, the omnipresent and immense noise of avalanches from Broad Peak and K2 "roaring" nonstop, 2 weeks in this place between the steep rock, masses of snow and the memorial of those who have never returned from the mountain, take a toll on the humour of even the most resilient climbers.

On Saturday the various expeditions met for general assemblies. "GRAND EXPECTATIONS!", wrote Radek in capital letters on Saturday, July 16. "This is how you could call what drives the camp. Nearly every expedition has some weather forecasts and most agree on one thing: there may be a 3-4-day window of better weather next week. Under certain circumstances it could mean a summit bid!!! For us, it sounds like a fairy tale!" No surprise, the pending battle with the K2 has been becoming an obsession for Radek and Petr. They climbed the SSE Ridge in 2001 and reached the Shoulder, but a change of weather forced them down minutes after they set for the final day of the summit bid back then! In 2003 they climbed Abruzzi Ridge, after having summitted Broad Peak. They relentlessly fought the very bad weather for a long time. All other expeditions had long been gone, but the then 3-man K2-Broad Peak Czech expedition (Radek, Petr, and Martin Minarik) joined forces with the Kazakh National Nanga Parbat-Broad Peak-K2 Team. Even this dreamy collaboration did not overwhelm the forces of nature. No one summitted K2 in 2003.    

Now Radek and Petr are back. "During the night of Friday [July 15], the rain finally stopped and there were even moments of sunshine. During the last night of our approach trek, at Concordia, it poured so much that we got wet down to skin and not a thing was left dry. Good news, even my passport has since turned dry!!  I hope that the authorities let me travel with it. I wouldn't like to spend the rest of my life in Pakistan making my living as a high-altitude porter...", wrote Radek on July 16.

"Unfortunately, Sulovsky's expedition is under a time pressure. They have decided not to extent their stay here and leave on Saturday, as planned. Before then, however, their second team would try to climb with us. They would like to give a try to the Basque (=SSE=Cesen=Scott) pillar up to the Shoulder. Which would help us a lot. In this weather, climbing alpine style is unthinkable -- besides, it would not be alpine style any more anyway." [There have been other expeditions on the SSE Ridge already and fixed some ropes along the way.]

"The general assembly of various expeditions met on Saturday and came to a conclusion that we would try to meet at the Shoulder and to climb the remaining 600m together. In this mass of snow, it would be impossible for any tiny expedition to climb alone." The agreement on meeting at the Shoulder was between the Czech Hi-TEC V-LITE Expedition, the Polish and the Irish expeditions. The Bulgarians will also try to join.  The SSE/Basgue/Scott/Cesen Ridge and the Abruzzi Ridge merge at 8000m, at the place called Shoulder, and there is just one way from there to the summit.

The ongoing summit bid: Radek and Petr launched their summit bid along the SSE Ridge on Monday, July 18, at 5AM. Some members of Polda Sulovsky's Czech expedition went with them. At about the same time, several other teams set to climb Abruzzi. A day later, at 5PM on Tuesday, July 19, the guys and 5 members of Sulovsky's expedition reached 7100m. The snow is very deep and the westerly wind (the worst direction for the SSE Ridge climb) is stronger than forecasted. 

They plan to reach the Shoulder on Wednesday.


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