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  Mike and Don: Broad Peak 2005: Finally on the Hill


Camp 2 (6100m), West Ridge of Broad Peak ©Mike Farris

 

Dispatch #4: Before the latest news, a follow-up to the porter with HAPE that I reported on earlier. He's alive, but only because our note reached Urdokas quickly. The NatGeo docs dashed up the hill and treated him.

They didn't think he would have lived all the way to Urdokas without

treatment. Whew!

 

The Karakoram weather is up to its usual tricks. July 2 we arrived in Base Camp and sat through bad weather until July 9. The sun finally came out and the avalanches were spectacular. On July 10 there was a mass migration up the hill, pent-up testosterone finally going to good use. The initial approach gully seemed somewhat easier than last year, but that may have been due to my foresight in bringing a second ice tool. There was actually less snow and more water ice than I expected.

 

After climbing the initial gully I exited onto some avalanche debris and looked down to see my left crampon dangling from my boot. It didn't just fall off, the heel and toe sections had separated completely. I had re-installed a device that allows rapid size adjustment for the crampons and apparently this wasn't holding properly. I taped it together and climbed more slowly than I wanted. Luckily, the other crampon waited until after the final water ice section to fall apart. Rodrigo (MEX) helped me reassemble the thing and reshod me like a mule while we were on some 40 degree snow.

 

I spent a night at 'half camp' (5300m) and at Camp I (5700m), while Don stayed two nights at CI. Don carried a load of rope to CII and sat for hours, waiting for the avalanche risk to subside. He had a sporty downclimb on rotten ice, in the dark. Eventually fixed ropes will run all the way to CII.

 

We both decided to go down and pick up another load. Also the weather was moving in, so descent looked like a good option. Well, it's July 13 and it's rained and snowed continuously at Base Camp for the last 24 hours. The good conditions on the hill have been replaced by avalanches and rockfall. We're stuck for at least a couple of days.

 

Impressions: Climbers (well, European climbers anyway) seem very nationalistic about their weather forecasts. I don't care--give me a good one!

 

The number of climbers carrying hypertechnical ice tools is, well,

perplexing. I've even seen tools that are made solely for

competition. Watching these guys bend over double with a big pack,

planting their short, curved tools in low-angle snow is good for a

chuckle. Newsflash: there are no WI6/M6 pitches on Broad Peak, guys.

Or, people bring ultralight axes and then ask to borrow your heavier

axe to dig out the rocks in their tent site. Hmmmm...

<P>

A climber on another expedition noted, "I'd forgotten how selfish

people are on 8000m peaks." I've seen many instances of selfishness

(amongst other climbers) already on the three days we've been able to

climb. Selfishness is a natural part of the process, but only (in my

opinion) during the summit push. You never know when you'll need help

up here, so both Don and I are cooperating with other teams, building

relationships that will pay off in the future.

<P>

It's noon, raining/snowing hard again. It's warm, damp, Pacific

Northwest weather. I left Don playing euchre in a neighboring mess

tent. This afternoon I want to scout the approach yet again to learn

the way through the maze of ice pinnacles. Two climbers reached 7500m

yesterday and another one had a nasty fall through a bridge over one

of the glacial rivers. Gotta quit writing--not enough sun for a

battery charge.

 Mike

 

Updates

 

Millet One Sport Everest Boot  has made some minor changes by adding more Kevlar. USES Expeditions / High altitude / Mountaineering in extremely cold conditions / Isothermal to -75°F Gore-Tex® Top dry / Evazote Reinforcements with aramid threads. Avg. Weight: 5 lbs 13 oz Sizes: 5 - 14 DESCRIPTION Boot with semi-rigid shell and built-in Gore-Tex® gaiter reinforced by aramid threads, and removable inner slipper Automatic crampon attachment Non-compressive fastening Double zip, so easier to put on Microcellular midsole to increase insulation Removable inner slipper in aluminized alveolate Fiberglass and carbon footbed Cordura + Evazote upper Elasticated collar.

Expedition footwear for mountaineering in conditions of extreme cold.  NOTE US SIZES LISTED. See more here.

A cold weather, high altitude double boot for extreme conditions The Olympus Mons is the perfect choice for 8000-meter peaks. This super lightweight double boot has a PE thermal insulating inner boot that is coupled with a thermo-reflective outer boot with an integrated gaiter. We used a super insulating lightweight PE outsole to keep the weight down and the TPU midsole is excellent for crampon compatibility and stability on steep terrain. WEIGHT: 39.86 oz • 1130 g LAST: Olympus Mons CONSTRUCTION: Inner: Slip lasted Outer: Board Lasted OUTER BOOT: Cordura® upper lined with dual-density PE micro-cellular thermal insulating closed cell foam and thermo-reflective aluminium facing/ Insulated removable footbed/ Vibram® rubber rand See more here.

 






 

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