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 K2 2001: Qgir - K2 Himalaya 8000 expedition 2001 

Qgir - K2 Himalaya 8000 expedition 2001

The Czech Expedition: HIMALAYA 8000 K2 (8612 meters) & Broad Peak (8047 meters) Updates are below.

HIMALAYA 8000 K2 (8612 meters) & Broad Peak (8047 meters) Himalaya 8000, is introducing the expedition to the Pakistan K2 & Broad Peak. The main goal of our expedition is to reach the summit of the second highest mountain in the world K2 (8.612 m) and BROAD PEAK (8.047 m) using expedition light style. K2 (Chogori) is the most difficult eight thousander in the world. It is considered to be a great achievement to reach both of these 8000 meter summits in a single expedition.

To the present time Himalaya 8000 has organized seven expeditions to the eight thousanders. On four of them members of Himalaya 8000 reached summits: Cho-Oyu 93, Dhaulagiri 94, Shishapangma 95, Manaslu 96, Makalu 98, Lhotse 99 and Kangchenjunga 2000. 

Members of the K2 and Broad Peak expedition will be experienced climbers, who have reached several summits over 8000 meters. Sona Vomackova is the best Czech female climber and she will be a member as well. Sona reached the summits of two eightthousanders: MAKALU (8463 m) and LHOTSE (8516 m). She holds the Czech female elevation record and she is the first female in the world to have reached the above mentioned summits without oxygen.

The goal of this expedition is to reach the second highest summit in the world in combination with the summit of Broad Peak without oxygen.

Members of the expedition

Also see the K2 2001 page for Updates...

Update: Czech K2 expedition led by Zdenek Hruby arrived back in Islamabad/Rawalpindi  unsuccessfully. Luck was not on our side said the leader we tried on July 22 but the whole team was not ready for this challenge and they need more time to acclimatized, we again tried August 4 but the days we need for the final attempt was not there due to bad weather.

We decided to descend down due to snow storm and poor weather. We are very happy we came back alive, though we manage to reached 8000 meters.

The team is heading back to home.....

Asghar Ali Porik JASMINE TOURS
Department of Tourist Services License #333  http://www.jasminetours.com

Update: Everyone is well, heading home !

BC under K2 has become one big goods station. We are packing.

The porters started to arrive in the afternoon. We mailed a request for 23 porters to take down the kitchen. On behalf of the expedition members Bouda estimated that we will have to take down 650 kg. It will take all together some 49-52 porters. The ones who arrived first informed us about the other 40 coming behind them. Oops! We will be short 10 porters. Then our experienced expedition chef called the agency and yell, so we will see. It is 15:40 and we have about ? half of them here.

During these last two days the climbers put themselves together. They eat and sleep well. They do not eat much on the mountain ( tea, instant soup and perhaps a chocolate bar ). So after everyone returned, our chef cooks a lot and we can once again see some table and card games on the table...

The program for the next three days is the same as in the beginning of this expedition: hard trek. Tomorrow crossing Concordia we are going to Aliacamp ( some 7-8 hours over a glacier and moraines). The next day we will get up at 2 am and ascend to the Gondogorola saddle. Originally they say it is at 5960 m, but the locals claim that it is 300 m less. In any case when the night is turning into day it is the only time to cross this safely, because during the day the sun warms up the ice and frees the stones. It is very dangerous walking under the fast falling rocks. The third day we will descend to the green areas, which we are looking forward to.

I cannot see any vexation in BC over the fact that nobody did reach the summit. Zdenek Hruby, leader of expedition says: It is true that high mountains are all about the summit. Everybody will ask you about that. We managed to climb up Cesen's route, which is held in high esteem by all climbers. It is a 3 km high bedrock pillar connecting to a normal ascend route at 8000 m. It is definitely an extremely technical accomplishment. If I have to comment on attacking the summit, at least four of us were ready in C4 to go, but a quick change in the weather ( out of any normal weather forecast ) did not allow us. So in the end the most dramatic part of the expedition was the retreat. Based on the retreat conditions we can be happy that everyone made it down alive.

A real weird group arrived under K2. About 20-25 porters were accompanying a middle aged Rumanian couple. They claim, that they are a tracking group and will stay under Qgir for about 15-20 days. This is a very suspicious thing. K2's BC is in the end of the side glacier, just before the Pakistani -Chinese borders and it is the de facto last station for all trekkers. There is nowhere to go other than to turn around and go back. Our suspicion was especially raised when we noticed four ice-axes on their back packs: They must have found out when all of the expeditions will be leaving so they can count on the fixed ropes to be in place and usable. They only paid permission to trek and now can climb K2 stealthily after slipping some dollar bills into the liaison officer's pocket. If they will go up the normal Abruzzi's route, they can count on there being some camps still standing, because the Koreans did not bother at all to clean up after themselves.

By chance we found some remains of a climber in an avalanche field under the beginning of Cesen's route. All of the remains have the same type of clothing and there is a foot in the shoes. A small size of the shoes leads us to the assumption that it is likely a woman. There is a crampon close by as well. Jan Rydl

Update: Camp 4 ! Retreat instead of attack.

It was Fr
iday midnight and Zdenek, Radek, Miska a Mira were sitting in two tents (Alpinus and North Face) having crampons ready on their boots ready to go to the summit. They went out of the tents and they were standing in clouds with zero orientation. It was evident, they would have to wait. They went back to the tent to drink some more tea, but could not go to sleep. Every half an hour somebody put their head out from the tent to check the conditions. The weather forecast for our final days was completely wrong. Judging on the weather we experienced, the monsoon edge must have reached over here too. It doesnít happen too often, but if it does it is not good.

Zdenek said: We started our descent around 10 am during an enormous storm. It become obvious that this descent is the most dangerous thing we did on this mountain. There was fresh snow, fog and thumped snow by the wind on the rocks. We had no idea what this snow will do after you step on it. We could not find a lot of fixes in the snow and ice. Our hands were cold, because we manipulated our gear a lot you canít do it in mittens. It took us 5 ? hours to get from C4 to C3. There was Simon and Sona waiting in C3. We stayed for a while and continued to C2, where Radek, Miska, and Mira stopped. I went to C1, where Bouda was waiting uninformed and without a hand-set, just imagining what is going on. I had a radio hand-set, but I arrived to C1 around 8 pm and we could not reach BC that night. We connected in the morning when I was in the end of the fixes over the route accession. Chef Fida and Honza came to meet us from BC to carry our bag packs. We managed to carry some gear down (tent and cooking tools), but some things were left behind.

It is a fact that we had only one try for the summit and a completely fatal mistake in the weather forecast took us down the mountain. But we still climbed Cesenís route. Despite the fact that we failed to reach the summit this time, climbing Cesenís route has a tremendous amount of value.

Sona and Simon waited till Sunday morning to make a final decision whether to go up or down. They called us at 7 am on the radio: It is vicious up here, we are descending. Before 11 am Simon called again: It is really evil up here, somewhere we can not find fixes at all, we are searching for the route and we triggered 3 avalanches. (He was not BS-ing. Just as Bouda and Zdenek were descending down, one avalanche passed them. Bouda felt a bit of pressure wave and snow dust, so he had just enough time to put his hand in front his nose and mouth ).

We could see from BC Radek, Miska and Mira, who spent the night at C2, descending at 1 pm. We did not have contact with them, but based on Simons report when he and Sona arrived to C2, the boys managed to pack the tent, but left a fix behind. Simon decided to take that fix with him down.

I am sending this message on Sunday 2 pm and besides Simon and Sona, everyone is in BC. The weather has started to change at base camp at this moment. The sun has come out, and I could see the summit of K2.

Jan Rydl

Note two NEW Updates below

Update Base Camp: The final summit attack just started. 

Once again we have been blessed with good climbing conditions after a sharp change in the weather. The humidity is lower in all elevations, and there is no wind or clouds so we can see the summit of the mountain. After receiving the weather forecast we called a meeting. The weather is going to last until 5th or 6th so the summit attack has to start immediately.

We decided the following: Zdenek, Radek, Mira and Miska will leave on Wednesday before four in the morning. They will go directly to C2 and then they will progress each day to each elevation camp. This group should attack the summit on 4.8. Simon and Sona will leave BC with a one day delay behind the first group. They will go from BC to C1 and the day after continue from C1 to C2. Their turn to attack the summit comes on 5.8. Based on our hydro-meteorological weather forecast, the conditions are supposed to be even a bit better than for the first group.

All elevation camps are built and are mostly completely supplied. Climbers will have to carry only their stuff needed for the summit and perhaps here and there move a sleeping bag or so from one camp to another.

Based on doctor Lukas Svobodaís report, all climbers are doing well and all have ambitions of reaching the summit.

Simon mentioned that compared to the amount of oxygen in say Prague for example, there is about 50% less oxygen in BC and about 70% less on the summit. He also remembered one of his previous expeditions where he was so well acclimatized that he took a bottle with oxygen in BC, put in on and without any heavy breathing briskly ran up 50 elevation meters on moraine.

Doctor Lukas Sovoboda says: It is difficult for our bodies to deal with an insufficient amount of oxygen. I have with me in BC an oxymeter and I measure everyoneís saturation of the oxygen in the blood. It is Czech saturation. In our country the correct amount is 98-99%. Those whom I measure here at 85% are in great condition. If I would measure 85% oxygen saturation in a patientís blood in Prague, I would have to immediately give him oxygen and do anything to save him.

Besides the low amount of oxygen, low pressure is also a big risk in high mountains. The result of low pressure can be high mountain illness the so called (AMI). This is nothing else but the incapability of the organism to adapt to low pressure conditions. A deadly complication of this might be brain or lung edema. It is important to note that this illness actually attacks to a certain extent every human being.

When an expedition is planned, everyone is talking only about AMI, but there are many other risks during climbing! For example on every expedition people experience diarrhea and digesting problems. That means extra loss of minerals and liquids, which is happening in high elevation naturally anyway. There are often big difficulties with breathing. Freezing temperatures dry out the mucous membrane. This can advance to pneumonia or bronchitis. Due to higher blood density and a higher red cell count there is a danger of different types of thrombosis and embolisms. Than we have to worry about eyes. The danger of snow blindness is very high for everyone who donít use precautions.

We did not talk about injuries yet. Every limb joint is in danger. And in the end there is very specific risk: If I get to the wounded after a long time after an accident, due to transport to BC, I have to be ready to deal with the patients shock. So I have to give him analgesic and infusion against dehydration and anti-shock prevention. I have with me here also an intubation set, treatment for pneumothorax, teeth pulling and stiching tools...

I was also solving an ethical question: In the case of need, will I go to the wounded to the elevation camps or will I wait for him in BC? One thing applies: give first aid and bring the wounded immediately down to BC. Even in BC I am to keep patient until the life-helicopter arrives. I must say that I donít have a lot confidence in the Pakistani health service, so I would have to fly with the patient to see if he is well taken care of... Jan Rydl and Lukas Svoboda

Update: Camp 4 Going for the summit.

At the midnight from Friday to Saturday we are leaving C4 ( 7900 m ) in the following formation: Hruby, Jaros, Masek, Caban. They are departing from two tents positioned on Qgirís shoulder. Unfortunately our assumption that the huge avalanche on Wednesday was triggered by the super dangerous cornice wasnítí true. Several tens of meters high and a brutally tilted snow-ice cornice still menaces all on the final ascent phase.

K2 is the toughest eight thousander in the world affirmed Radek at five in the morning just before beginning of summit attack: Mt. Everest compared to K2 is a walk- over a rose garden. I need new feet and lungs. To get my backpack as light as possible, I even left my sleeping bag in C3.

Zdenek talked to us from C4 on the hand-set about our summit chances: Our chances will also depend on how well preserved the route that was set by the Koreans, Spanish and two climbers from International team is. If the track is still there we will not fall into snow up to the waist which is what happened on our way from C3 to C4. The fact is if the track is still there our chances are much better. After that he warn Simon and Sona that the ascent is really difficult and they are acclimatized only to 6800 m.

In the evening we heard from C4 that the cooking goes very slowly. At the same time they are completely out of tea and sugar. Cooking gas is also low.

Everybody agreed that the last part of the route to C4 was more difficult than expected due to long sections over snow fields, which do not have fix ropes. Therefore the descent will be very risky as well. We can expect that everyone going down this way will go using every bit of their last strength.

Saturday night Simon and Sona will spend in C3. After giving them the weather forecast in the evening, they confirmed their intention to go to C4 and on Sunday attack the summit. The wind is 8-12 m/s, low humidity and the temperature is -20C. These conditions are favorable for summit ascent.

Everybody says thanks for phone calls and e-mails we received in BC. Jan Rydl

Update 7/30/2001: The bad weather should be over soon.

We are still waiting in BC in the snowstorm for better weather conditions. The only source of optimism is Simon's statistics from all of the successful climbs of K2. It points to a result that most of the successful climbers were standing on the summit of K2 between 27.7 - 8.8. So everyone believes that the clouds will disappear, the wind will calm down and this mountain will allow us to go up.

Our biggest concerns are about all of the high camps. We have no idea
which camps are standing and which camps have been destroyed by the snow and wind. Looking at the weather forecast, we should be able to find out what is going on up there around 1.8 - 2.8. The latest date for our departure (if we will not re-book our plane tickets) will be 9.8.

We are completely alone in BC. The Spanish, International, and Korean expeditions are gone. The Koreans were living through dramatic situations until the last moment under this mountain. They set the date for departure while they still had two men in C2 (one with snow blindness and one supposedly with swelling of the brain). There was also one exhausted Korean climber in advanced BC, which is at the beginning of Abruzzi's route. At the end they manage to bring all of the climbers down and left. There is a body of the dead Korean climber left behind near our C3. 

There are 7 expeditions leaving the area under 4 eight thousanders at the same time (K2, Broad Peak, G1 + G2). Based on the information from the porters, everybody stopped somewhere in the middle of the Baltoro glazier. This happened because big crowds of climbers, trekkers, and porters could not go over large earth slides. So everybody came back to Concordia and went for an escape road over Gondogoro - la saddle.

Radek Jaros, Petr Masek, and doctor Lukas Svoboda took advantage of their waiting under K2 by trekking to the base OF the Gasherbrums peaks. It is quite a distance and so Radek with Miska got lots of exercise. They planned this trip for two days only. They walked 10 hours daily , just so they could get a glimpse of the Hidden Peak in random openings of the clouds. Doctor Lukas had planned to spend three days on this trek. He was a bit luckier, but the sky was not azure. 

Supposedly the Bulgarians under Broad Peak had a strong exchange of opinions. [We will bring you this, when we have time. The Bulgarians have been talking to us. It is important...] One of their groups got to the summit and the other group (4 climbers) could not get there due to bad weather. It is as clear as daylight that the successful group was not keeping their plans to depart a secret. Nobody knew how long this bad weather will last so why stay in BC if the summit was successfully reached. This became a controversial point of their discussions. We do not know how they solved this problem. On the other hand, the French expedition arrived under Broad Peak about a week ago. Jan Rydl 

Update 7/25/2001: We are sitting in BC for the second time now and waiting for the weather to clear up. It is so bad that there is no way to go to the mountain face at all. The weather forecast which we have is predicting bad weather until 7/29. Around that date we will have to start to plan to leave this mountain. We are still very optimistic though. Especially after todayís arrival of the porters with new supplies: eggs, gas, and chili sauces. The only thing that they forgot was toilet paper.

The other expeditions that are here with us under K2 and which were successful are packing for departure. Members of the International expedition are leaving one by one. Hans Kammerlander has left already two days ago. Koreans: Out of six people standing on the summit of K2 this Sunday, today they have only TWO of them back down at BC ! One of their climbers died on the way down and lies somewhere near our C3. One is still in advanced BC on the end of the ice-fall just at the beginning of Abruzzi's route. And the other two are supposedly still in the Koreanís C2 (one suffering with snow blindness and the other with brain swelling). They may manage to get down their people down by then by the 27th, but they will definitely not manage to get their gear down.

Yesterday I went to visit the Bulgarian group in BC under Broad Peak. On Monday the climbers: Gospodin Dinev, Petco Totov, and Stanimir Gelvazcov reached the summit of Broad Peak [Note see the Broad Peak page for details, some of these did not reach the Main Summit according to the Bulgarian themselves...]. They were very quiet and told us only that they reached the summit after a 12 hour ascent on the hard snow directly from C3 (they completely skipped C4!). On the summit they were together with two Americans [Not sure which Summit !]. 4 other members are supposed to go the day after (means today). When we look at the top part of Broad Peak today from our BC here under K2, it looks to us like their plans to attack the summit isnít a good one. We do not even think itís a good idea for them to wait in C3. One of the Bulgarians told us: Next year we want to go to K2 Abruzziís route. Even though the beginning of Abruzziís route is a one day trek away from their BC under Broad Peak, they did not use this opportunity to take a look. Anyhow they still claim they are well informed.

Two Argentinean climbers were on top of Broad Peak a day before the Bulgarians, and there are Estonians just about to attack the summit.

We experienced a very embarrassing situation on Tuesday evening when Christian Trommsdorf from Chamonix entered our dinning tent. Until now he was a good friend from the international expedition. He was always very funny. Unfortunately he did not make the summit. Most likely he did not want to go under the overhanging snow-ice, which is over C4. This year it is leaning to the extreme. On his way down he met Radek and asked him to carry some stuff down for him. Radek was fully loaded at that time. Then Christian asked for help to break down the tent in his C1. Mira was there too and so the boys were going to help him. Christian put his full bag the on the small mountain ridge, half of meter from the fix, but he did not attach it! And so as they were working on the tent. Radek brushed against Christianís bag during the folding of the 4 m long pole. The bag fell about 800 meters down and mostly everything fell out from it. Some of the things the three of them were able to find on their way down, some stuff was kept by Oqir herself. In the evening Christian came to our BC asking Radek to pay for his lost stuff.

So we threw him out! In the end, on his way out he who does not fix his bag on the mountain face, tried to mask the manipulative side of his personality by pretending that he did not know, that Radek did it by mistake while helping him to break down his tentÖÖ This was simply embarrassing! Jan Rydl

Update 7/22/2001: Camp 3, 10 climbers on K2 summit

Today at 2:54 pm Simon called the news from C2 that there are 10 people on the summit of K2: 6 Koreans, 2 Spanish, and 2 members of the international team. [See the K2 page for details...]

The Koreans left their C4 at 1 am with the help of their elevation porters and with oxygen. Jose Carlos Pauner Gator (37) and Jose Antonio Garces (44), reached the summit for the Spanish team. Hans Kammerlander and Jean Christophe were the members of the international expedition. Hans plans to ski down most of the face back to BC. This would be the first attempt in the world on K2. Hans has plenty of experience in skiing.

We didn't announce a serious plan to attack the summit at this time, says Zdenek. We wanted to build C4. Of course subconsciously we thought after building C4, we want to go to the top. There is not a question about the summit at this moment, because we did not manage to get the tent for C4 in the proper place on the mountain shoulder.

Miska together with Radek and Zdenek worked very hard to get our equipment up. So this is how Miska feels about it:

I left BC to get to C1. The very next day (Friday) I went all the way to C3. Originally we were four on the way up, but C3 accommodates only three climbers. So Mira and I decided to flip a coin to see who stays in C2 and who will continue up to C3. In the end Mira was tiered before C2 anyway. So the three of us continued to C3. I must admit it was pretty hard and each of us carried a 20 kg bag. As we arrived to C3 we saw the tent was completely destroyed. We had to clean everything up and raise a new tent. It was almost 6 pm. Our new tent is Alpinus designed for two people. We got in with all our stuff and it was very crowded. We cooked in a sitting position. Normally when we cook, we lie down. We went to sleep around 10 pm and it was a difficult night. Everybody was bumping into each other. I was very tired in the morning.

It took us too long to pack up in the morning. We also cooked a lot. I did not feel like eating, but despite that I managed to get down a little bit of chocolate and crackers. We left camp at 11 am. A bit late. We were ascending hard with Radek at the lead, then me and last was Zdenek. We wanted to bring up all of C4, so each of us carried about 20 kg. There was fresh snow over C3. While walking I was sinking in and I was walking really slow. After about 200 meters I knew that I will not get there with this load, so I called the guys. We got together and decided that they will go down to C3 with me.

I went directly to C2. Firstly to get good sleep and secondly to get a better appetite. Finally in the evening I ate without feeling sick. I was at 7000 m for the first time in my life and I think all these problems come from exhaustion than from elevation. I feel that everything will be OK, so I still have the summit on my mind. Next time I will be ascending, I will go from BC to C2 and then I will go up each day to each camp.

Simon and Sona left for C1 on Saturday afternoon. Bouda was supposed to go with them, but based on the weather it seems that they are in for a long stay (2 days) on the mountain face. So Bouda decided it is not worth it.

On Monday Radek and Mira tried to bring up at least the basics for C4. Later Radek called to BC to say that they did not make it, so they deposited camp somewhere around 200 m under mountain shoulder. Zdenek, who talked to them from BC was not to happy: If they would only take a tent and make it all the way, it would be just great. This way all four of us have to build C4 anyway.

Simon and Sona arrived to C2 with the load and were asking for the weather forecast. If the weather will really get worst on Monday, they will return.

Our chef went to BC under Broad Peak today. He said that 2 Bulgarians and maybe even Argentineans are going for the summit today. The Estonians are planning to reach the summit on Monday.

Update 7/22/2001: Hi, In accordance with last message [see below], 10 people get to the SUMMIT of K2 !!! 6 Koreans (with oxygen and porters) [the Koreans only reported five so far], 2 Spanish (Carlos Pauner and Pepe Garces), 2 members of the International expedition (Hans Kammerlander and Jean Christophe Lafaille) (Expedition leader is Peter Guggemos). Our Czech expeditions have not build C4 yet. We not try summit attack, at this time. 

best regards, YETI 

7/21/2001 Camp 3

Summit attack in groups.

Zdenek, Radek and Miska left C1 for C3 on Friday and Mira went to C2. They had to find out what the situation is in the elevation camps after a huge brutal avalanche which went down on Friday at about 5 am. They also planned to build C4 on the mountainís shoulder at 7800 - 7900 m. The weather was beautiful and the tent in C3 was completely destroyed. Zdenek decided to build another tent that evening, sleep over and in the morning go on to build C4 so Mira had to bring a new tent from C2.

We had conformed that the Koreans, Spanish, and international group with Kammerlander at the lead want to reach the summit on Sunday. Zdenek and Radek decided to join them, but on Saturday morning during their ascent where C4 was supposed to stand, they returned. None of them felt good. The weather forecast is beginning to be bad already for during the night from Sunday to Monday.

It is busy here in BC. An expected Czech group of trackers arrived. We were worried that the above-mentioned avalanche buried all the gear that Sona, Simon and Bouda had deposited on the mountain face just were Cesen route starts. So everybody in BC including our chef went to search for the lost gear. After a careful revision we found out that it is not that bad. In the end the only thing we were missing was Sonaís helmet. The problem was that this was the only one Sona has. A Chef from a neighboring expedition brought a helmet, but demanded $ 350 for it. In the evening he deducted $200, so he wanted $100 for it. Even that it is crazy extortion. In the morning our chef Peter went to the BC under Broad Peak and brought another helmet, this time for $25. So after all that Sona now has a helmet.

The next news will be right on Sunday to tell you how the groups are doing attacking the summit and also to tell you what our plans are.

Jan Rydl

Archived 2001 Dispatches.

History of the Czech K2 Expedition: Himalaya 8000

See here for K2 2000

K2 1999

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