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  K2 2008: Sunny Mountain Guides reports in on the status of K2 expeditions


Copyright© Billy Pierson

Sunny Mountain Guides Chogori 2008 Expedition reports from Base Camp exclusively for EverestNews.com
 
Thanks to the weather report sent from Everestnews.com, we are bound to wait out the expected bad weather for at least another 5-6 days. It is also reported that the weather will improve, and a window of one week of good weather will follow. Our team of five members is in good health and with high spirits. Mingma wanted to go up for a load carry but I advised him that we don't need any unnecessary risk. It is snowing on and off and the accumulation is more than an inch. Since the upper parts of Chogori (K2) are still hidden, we have no idea how much snow has fallen on its slopes. Broad Peak, although just five miles away from us, displays a quite different weather pattern and its peak is visible only from time to time. Looking down towards Concordia and Mt. Chogolisa we can easily estimate how long it will take for the clouds to reach us, and, of course, snow once again makes us feel it's Christmas time, a far cry from my daughter Sunny's swimming lesson back in Connecticut. As days drag on and we're unable to make much progress further up establishing the camps, I find the separation from my two children becomes harder and harder for me;  in fact I must confess this is the hardest part of any expedition I've  had since I became a father in 2002. Today base camp saw the early departure of a French expedition due timing and unfavorable weather conditions.  But after I found out the route they planned to climb on this great mountain, I realized that there is more to the story than what has been said. The Japanese route is nothing easy for any strong team, let alone for a three-member French team and, in my opinion, more like: Veni, vidi, run home. At least most climbers agreed it was a good decision for them to make; one day the French will come better prepared and not risk so much--the mountain will always be here. Our camp and the neighboring camp, both of which are supplied by Jasmine Tours, have become the entertainment center of K2 base camp. Every other night there are parties with a live band of Pakistanis pounding on empty kerosene drums loud enough to disturb the one Broad peak base camp--nothing to be worry about--this is Pakistan and alcohol is quite hard to get. At one of the previous parties more than 50 climbers showed up, with every nationality dancing their own dance (sorry, no girls here at the party, but the favorite of all seemed to be Gerard, who could sing old Irish songs with everybody clapping with approval). The Serbian Team exercized their own dancing skills but, according to Joselito, our Serbian independent climber, they would have a better time if the leader didn't show up. The sherpa will not let people down, singing their own "Sam Pi Ri Ri" song; everybody has a good time., Last night a miracle happened.  Some of the Korean climbers showed up for the party but as expected left after only one hour, and the Dutch decided to see a movie and didn't come. Dave Watson, my Everest buddy who is currently climbing Broad Peak, decided to stay overnight at our camp and party with us.  It was nice to have him around again; his team will soon make their way here at K2 Base Camp. With the weather so lousy our batteries are almost empty. No sun, no charging, no correspondence. Our three car batteries and the two Solar panels are hard at work keeping us barely connected. Yesterday I had the privilege of meeting some of the Pakistani, K2 summiters.  Even from my trek to BC I heard of a man named "Little Hussein" and wondered how little this man could be.  Well, he is quite small, but don't let the size fool you. With his great smile and clear-cut mustache, little Hussein looks almost like Apa Sherpa!  I sat down with him and asked him about his climbing career and, to my surprise, he was kind enough to spend almost two hours downloading his climbing career to my ear. As I'd never heard his name nor ever read about Pakistani K2 summiters, I thought people from the West might be interested to know that they are kind and gentle Balti climbers who make great mountaineering achievements without any headlines. To ignore them is a great injustice because they, like sherpa, are making sure that climbers who dare to challenge K2 are safe and get what they want, the summit. Even the only Italian team employed two high-altitude Pakistani climbers; the Serbians have three Pakistani K2 summiters; the list goes on and on. I will send a further report with details about "little Hussein" who wants to climb Mt. Everest, but due to the lack of funds Everest will remain, at least for now, just a dream. Embarking on a difficult task such is summiting K2 is indeed a challenge in itself, but meeting people is what I like most.  Arriving yesterday at K2 BC, Chris Stugll (apologize for misspelling his name), an Austrian climber who had been on Everest with me the previous year and went on to make an Oxygen-less and swift ascent, awaits yet another speedy ascent on this mountain. He recognized me right away, and we chatted, both wondering how small this world could be. It was nice to see him again. 
 
K2 remains elusive to all at least for now, but I feel will this will not be unlike our 2004 Everest summit, with climbers summiting en masse, with sherpa here to make it possible. Until next time, George Dijmarescu signing off from K2 Base camp from Sunny Mountain Guides Chogori 2008 Expedition, exclusively for Everestnews.com. 

Earlier: July 16th 2008.

Sunny Mountain Guides Chogori 2008 Expedition reports from Concordia.
Due to power problems I wasn't able to send any news about our group climbing K2.
Because of the Tibet issue this Spring I decided to climb K2 instead. Preparations were made quite late and, because Pakistan requires a 60-day waiting period for granting permits, our group was formed hastily. This K2 expedition marks the serious starting point for Sunny Mountain Guides, a company run by Lakpa Sherpa of Hartford Connecticut.  Because she is my wife and is home nursing our second child, I decided to take care of the entire trip on behalf of Sunny Mountain Guides.  Our group consists of two climbers from Romania, the star of the group being a  25-year-old woman, Thea.  She is a determined young woman who makes her living in Romania and Switzerland as a ski instructor and member of the ski patrol in Switzerland. With her is her partner, Mircea, who lives in Romania and, although he's a few years older than Thea, shares the same aspirations. Mircea initially wanted to climb Everest but unfortunately this Spring no foreign climbers were allowed.
 
Lakpa decided that in order to secure a better enviroment for a safe and succesful ascent she hired two of her family members. Our sirdar, Mingma Sherpa of Makalu, summited K2 last year with a Korean team and helped a Korean woman summit the great mountain. Mingma just returned from Lhotse where he summited without any problems. Mingma has  summited Everest four times.  The second sherpa is Rinjin of Makalu, whose wife is  Lakpa's sister (hence, my brother-in-law).  Rinjin has also summited Everest four times and helped Chuck Boyd in 2004 with his summit. They are eager to see each other here, and I, too, George Dijmarescu, am a first-time visitor to K2.
 
The mountain is indeed impressive but, although I seem to like it a lot, I hope not to visit it 10 times, as I have Everest. But, as the locals say: IshAlah or God willing.
Our Expedition provider is Jasmine Tours of Islamabad, Pakistan, and is run by Asghar Ali Porik.
 
Just got to Concordia today, tomorrow BC. First glimpse of K2, impressive, very impressive. A good summit day for K2 but no one is up now. All members are in good health, but I miss my daughters, Sunny and Shiny and thought about them all day today. I wish Sunny would talk with me on the phone when I call.  Also wondering how first grade school registration is going for her. Our weather is fine but a little too hot, so I hiked in shorts until today. Last night was cold with temperatures below freezing.
 
July 17th:
Sunny Mountain Guides Chogori 2008 reports from Base Camp.
Shortly before reaching BC I decided to visit Broad Peak BC where I knew two of my climbing partners form Everest 2004 and 2006 would be. Sure enough as I approached the camp I was greeted by their cook and Andy, one of their climbing partners, who decided to give his body a rest due to the heat. It was nice to meet this gentleman form California; he seemed to know a great deal about me from Dave Watson who climbed with Lakpa and me  in 2004 and 2006. According to his note to me, Dave knew I was supposed to be coming soon. Andy patched me on a radio call with them and Chuck Boyd was the first to answer the call.  Just like me he seemed to be excited to hear my voice. What a small world!  I spoke with Dave a little longer, and he assured me he would visit K2 BC as soon as they came back from C3 on Broad Peak. I said good buy and marched on to my own place on the mountain.
 
As we walked a large avalanche swept down the face of the mountain with huge clouds of
powder snow, engulfing most of BC. No one was hurt or inconvenienced so most people took video and photos of the event. Just as I walked in met another old friend, Joselito, from Serbia. We first met on Everest a few years back and he hasn't changed. He recognized me just as fast as I recognized him. The rest of the day we spent sorting out porters and we said good bye to those who had accompanied us for the last six days. We spent the chilly  evening being entertained by a band of Balti staff. I could never understand how anyone  could  have such a good time without a sip of acohol. We managed to break the rules in Islamabad and managed to get some 100 cans of beer. All except two had survived the trek to BC, and the singing lasted well into the early morning hours. Chogori AKA K2 welcomed us with a great view of its majesty with as blue a sky as any summiter wishes for. I was surprised to see all the climbers in BC; it was rumored that bad weather was coming and with such a miriad of weather forecasts, climbers make decisions on their own. Our Puja took place today; it seemed a little funny because, instead of a lama praying for us as was done on my ten previous Everest expeditions, the songs were played on an IPod with speakers. We were generous enough to share our supply of beer with all the people who were interested in joining our Puja. Mingma and Rinjin decided to make a trip to ABC because they thought Thursday would be a better day than Friday. I decided to catch up on the E-mails and news. The great mountain showed us the second perfect summit day, and I wished I were up there!   'Til next time, stay tuned. Signing off from K2 base camp on behalf of Sunny Mountain Guides.
George Dijmarescu.
PS Much love to my two children Sunny and Shiny Dijmarescu and to my wife, Lakpa, for empowering me with this great privilege to be at the base of this great mountain.
 
Today: 07/18/08
Sunny Mountain Guides Chogori 2008 reports from BC. Today Mircea and I made our first carry to ABC. Mingma and Rinjin decided to give themselves a well deserved rest after they carried five tents yesterday at ABC.  We had our back packs loaded with food, some gas and two shovels. It was surprising to see that the way to ABC is an intricate zig-zag between ice pinnacles marked with flags on top of bamboo sticks. We lost our way and wasted about 45 minutes but regained the route shortly after.  Looking up the Abruzzi Ridge it appeared to look quite easy, with Mingma encouraging us that K2 is much easier than the Tibetan side of Everest.  Oh well, his opinion, we will just have to see. The slope is quite gentle along a rock band. We were lucky to see a couple from Norway sliding down on their butts and having fun on the way down, oblivious to the well-advertised 'falling rock'.  Mircea and I spent about an hour at ABC when it started snowing. We went down all the way to BC with rice-like snow on our faces. At BC we had the best meal thus far so we congratulated Ali, our cook and kitchen boy. I have to announce that I made my way to ABC in blue jeans and Addidas sneakers; I fell in several puddles so my socks got saturated.  My next trip will be in different shoes. We spent the evening laughing along with our neighbor from Serbia. Tomorrow we'll make another carry to ABC and just watch for the weather as we hear it'll deteriorate on Sunday and two days after that. We want to make a trip to camp 2 as soon as the weather permits. Everybody is in good health, motivated and ready to go. 'Til next time, so long from K2 BC.  George Dijmarescu reports on behald of Sunny Mountain Guides Chogori 2008.

 

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