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
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
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
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.
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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