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  Mike Farris K2 2008: Our Gear Arrives (and hopefully Paul too)

Copyright© Billy Pierson

July 2nd, 2008 : July 2: Our long-awaited cargo arrived yesterday. We had spent the past three days scanning the moraine below our camp for porters, much like sailors used to search for land from the crowís nest of their ship. 4000m of rope, ice screws, snow stakes, pitons, and lots of other group food and equipment now crowd our mess tent. We expect Paul and Kirsty to arrive this afternoon, so our team will finally be complete. Yesterday saw Eric, Chhiring, Fred, and Chris K. getting halfway to Camp 1 after sleeping in Advance Base Camp (ABCĖget used to the acronyms!). Today, Fred and Chris K. are attempting to reach C1 and get a tent in place. Tim and Chris W. have carried gear to ABC in support of Fred and Chris K. and will stay the night in ABC. Tomorrow they will head up to C1. Mike will finally be able to organize his food etc. (much was in the cargo shipment) and will head up to ABC this afternoon and stay the night. Our short-term goal is to establish two tents at C1. The weather is predicted to be good for the next few days, after several days that saw alternating sun, clouds, and snow showers. We have hopefully worked out the political issues that occur when multiple teams attempt the same route. A fuller account of this is best left for post-expedition discussion. These issues are a normal part of climbing a big and crowded mountain these days.

Earlier: International K2 Expedition: Saturday, June 28. Today most team members carried loads to Advanced Base Camp through light snow and wind. We hope that our tardy air cargo arrives within the next two days, as we have no tents or rope for the mountain. Paul Walters is scheduled to arrive in a day or two, bringing the team to full strength.

We continue to meet the other occupants of K2 Base Camp and hope to develop good relationships with the other climbers on our route (Abruzzi Ridge). Most of us are also renewing old acquaintances forged on other mountains.

Our goal is to climb K2 without the use of supplemental oxygen and high-altitude porters. Since other teams have been in BC for a while,

they are already placing fixed ropes on the climb. Most of this work is being done by Sherpa and Pakistani high-altitude porters hired by the Korean and Serbian teams working on the Abruzzi. Mike

Earlier: Hi! I havenít won the technology battles, but Iím gaining an advantage. My phone will only acquire a satellite signal if itís heated to 100 degrees F or higher! This makes life difficult. Also, my iBook has no idea how to regulate its battery, so it will go from 100% charge to 0% within seconds. Argh.

Things are getting under control. We are still waiting on our air cargo with all of our mountain gear. Until we get it (2-3 days) weíre limited in what we can do. Nobody is in a big hurry (which is good) and Iím finally getting organized. I canít wait to get up on the hill, as it means Iím not doing organizational crap.

Aside from a terminally-runny nose, Iím feeling pretty good. Sleeping better, coughing very little. Administrative duties are decreasing, but we still have some issues to deal with. Today I might actually be able to get together my gear to visit ABC tomorrow! Cheers,

Earlier: Hi, Iím going to keep it short again. Iím fighting way too many technology battles. My brand new and expensive Thuraya 2520 sat phone now refuses to pick up the sat signal. Itís been nothing but trouble since arriving in Pakistan. You canít use it in the USA because there is no satellite coverage. Luckily Chris K. has the same phone (which works for calls but has other problems) so weíre covered for now. And, my computer battery has a very short lifespan (so Iím typing quickly).

Aside from a minor cough and some sniffles, all is well with me. Iím still in the middle of a three-ring circus, with our main group in Paiju, cargo in Skardu (tomorrow), and Paul coming to Islamabad in two days. The hike is the easy part!

Today is a rest day, which I need. The trip will get simpler for me the further we go, so Iím looking forward to simply climbing the mountain. I didnít realize how buried I was in logistics until most of it went away.

Time for another cup of tea.
P.S. Now my phone is working-at least for the moment!
P.P.S. Itís three days later. Weíre in BC tomorrow. More soon

Earlier: Greetings! If youíre reading this, our technology is working, at least in part. We are in Paiju, at 3300m just below the snout of the Baltoro Glacier. Today (Friday, June 20) is a rest day. This may seem silly since weíve only been walking two days, but in reality weíve been traveling for several days (first by plane, then jeep, then by foot).

The trek has been uneventful so far. The first days are always dusty- the valley is full of dust and sand that is formed as the glacier grinds up rock. Luckily it rained the first night on the trail, and yesterday the dust was minimal. The sun can be brutal, so an early start paid off yesterday.

Paiju is a campsite on a hillside with some trees. The tents are pitched on a series of terraces. This rest day is used to prepare for the trek up the glacier, and many goats have met their end as they are slaughtered to provide meet for the porters.

The team is in generally good health. We have the usual collection of sore throats, sniffles, and the occasional person with diarrhea. Hopefully today will allow us to rehydrate and rest.

All of our air cargo is in Pakistan and will arrive a couple of days after we get to Base Camp. This, along with various technology issues, have been the biggest headaches so far. Mikeís brand-new Thuraya satellite phone seems to have quit working, and his computer battery is also erratic.

We should arrive in Base Camp on June 23 or 24, and weíll post a new dispatch then. Mike

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