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  Just 20 meters away from the summit


07/21/2010
10 Years of Brazil on K2 Expedition.

20 meters away from the summit of Hidden Peak.

Dear friends,

We were two times above 8 thousand meters in three days, but sadly we could not reach the 8,068m of Hidden Peak; we were very close, only 20 meters away.

Our first attack to the summit of this difficult 8-thousand called
“mountain of light” was on July 17.  We left from our camp 3 at
7,100m, right at midnight, thinking that the most difficult part was
left behind, on the Japanese Corridor between camp 2 (6,500m) and camp 3 (7,100m) that we had found partially treated with old fixed lines.

In fact, we then left camp 3 and the climb was nothing but a simple
walk.  The snow was 20 meters deep and the night was calm with no wind and a temperature of -14° Celsius.

Around 7,300 m we entered another corridor, with no fixed lines, that was leaning increasingly with parts of more than 60 degrees of
inclination.  It was around 4 hours in the morning when dawn began, we were already at 7,600m and the coveted summit seemed very close.  When we exit that steep corridor, Lucho, Hernan and Monica ended up on the left, followed by Canadian Donald Bowie and Russian Alexey Bolotoov, who had reached us.  That was a big mistake, I was yelling and gesturing below, urging them to continue to the right side of the mountain.  They did not listen to me at that altitude, they turned left disappearing, going on the rocks, avoiding the deep snow.  I had no choice but to follow them, hoping that we could get to the summit by that route.

It was around 8 hours in the morning when Hernan and Monica decided to quit because of the deep snow.  The sequence of stones had finished, Donald and Alexey were insisting on the left.  Lucho was bravely opening the trail on the right, but when he was waist deep in the snow he also desisted.  At that moment Irivan reached me and I yelled to Donald saying that the summit was on the right and not on the left. He went down to us and told us that he was not climbing any more.  I tried to cheer him up, telling him that it was early and that the day was beautiful, but Donald said it was very dangerous and that he was going to descend.  Luckily Alexey went on the trail that Lucho had attempted, walking waist deep in the snow and Irivan and I followed him and we could luckily reach the rock spur, avoiding the treacherous snow.  Soon, we will go to the summit this way, I thought, because we were very close to the summit and certainly above 8 thousand meters, until the rock ended and a stretch of deep snow appeared in front of us, that could transform into an avalanche, we tried to pass everywhere and we went waist deep in the snow until Alexey turned to say that he was scared; well, we were scared too, so we decided to
descend.

It was difficult and tired to climb down all we had ascended, we
arrived late to our camp 3, much later than our colleagues, with that
feeling of “we were almost there”.

On the next day the weather was good, but even so Donald and Alexey decided to descend, thinking that with all that snow it would be impossible to reach the summit.  We decided to stay and try again. Our second attack started at 23h.

On the morning of the 19th we were marching on the corridor toward the right side of the mountain.  After we stepped on a pinnacle of rock we traced a route to the summit that was exactly 300 meters above our heads.  The weather had changed and the sky was blue, but the wind was very strong.  Lucho and Hernan would go in front, through a horrible snow, very loose.  Monica, Gore (a Spanish friend), then me and Irivan were following.

As we went higher, the wind blew pieces of snow of 20 to 30
centimeters of diameter as if it was sheets of paper.  Monica, Lucho,
Gore and Hernan jumped on top of a cornice and faced a real hurricane just 20 meters above.  I was 30 meters below and Irivan some 80 meters below, until we saw each one of them dangerously descending. We gave it all, nature imposed its force, we descended frustrated once more, more conscious that we had to respect nature.

On the 20th we returned to base camp, all good, in one piece and
healthy, satisfied with our experience on Hidden Peak or Gasherbrum I, the mountain of light.

Lucho and Maria, Darwin, Hernan and Monica will attempt Gasherbrum II now.  Irivan and I will go to Broad Peak base camp on the 24th and we plan to climb on July 29, right on the date of the 10 years of the conquest of K2.

Hugs,

Waldemar Niclevicz

Translated from Portuguese by Jorge Rivera

07/13/2010
10 Years of Brazil on K2 Expedition

Ready for the final attack.

Dear Friends,

We returned to base camp yesterday, after mounting camp 2 at 6,500m of altitude, fixing 200 meters of new ropes and recovering other 200 meters of old lines from previous years on the Japanese Corridor, where we reached the mark of 7,000m of altitude.

The South American team is happy because of having done this work
alone, calling the attention of other expeditions that start to head to Hidden Peak because of our progress.

It was difficult to get to the location of camp 2 because of gigantic crevasses and large blocks of ice, on the final part of this route we had to fix a line to pass a vertical wall of 30 meters.

We spent three nights on camp 2 where we made two incursions to cover the Japanese Corridor, the more technical part of the whole climb. Fixing ropes in these 600 meters is extremely important, especially for the descent, which can happen in a situation of extreme bad weather.

While we were working on the Japanese Corridor on July 11, we were
excited to see our colleagues reach the summit of Gasherbrum II of
8,035m.  A total of 11 climbers (5 French, 4 Polish and 2 Spanish),
made me remember the emotion I felt when I conquered that beautiful mountain in 1999.

Of course we are urged to attack the summit of Hidden Peak, but
because of the force of the wind and also respecting our bodies, that were not perfectly adapted to the thin air, we went down to base camp, knowing that after a well deserved rest, we need just a truce from nature to achieve this great dream.

Take a look at the pictures I shot with a little of the beauty of
these mountains and the result of the effort of our competent team.

We are counting with all your prayers for our final attack.

Hugs,

Waldemar Niclevicz

Translated from Portuguese by Jorge Rivera

On the way to camp 2.

 

Dear friends,

 

We are resting at base camp after our first incursion to Hidden Peak, when we installed camp 1 at 5,950m and when we almost reached the location of camp 2 (6,500m).  We could not continue around 6,350m because of freezing wind and snow that made us impossible to find our way among the gigantic blocks of ice and deep crevasses.

 

We wanted to climb again today, but it started to snow a lot in the early morning and our base camp was covered by more than 20cm of snow by the morning.  No one from the other expeditions climbed today.  We are here listening to the avalanches, discharging the excess of snow from the mountain slopes, hoping that we can continue next morning to higher altitudes.  It is important to leave at most at 4 in the morning from base camp, because the path to camp 1 has a lot of crevasses, and the cold temperature of the early morning around minus 12 degrees Celsius, freeze the layers of ice and they can hold our weight.  There is another part where we worry because of the crevasses just before we get to camp 2.  We found fixed lines from previous years, but we have not been able to find a safe path among those crevasses yet.

 

On our next incursion we hope to install our camp 2 at 6,500m, but we also want to fix lines on the Japanese Corridor, 500m high, the main obstacle toward the summit of Hidden Peak.  If we have success, we hope to make our summit attempt, 8,068m, by July 19 or 20.

 

The high point of our expedition is the adaptation and the spirit of our team, something typical in South Americans.  We are probably the first South American expedition to face Karakorum with Brazilians, Argentineans and Colombians, and also 4 Guatemalans.  Our team is also technically strong, which makes us very self-sufficient to achieve our objectives.

 

Yesterday, after dinner, the whole team watched a DVD, “A dream called K2”, I cried with emotion several times when I remembered the gratifying experience in life that I had on that mountain.  The 10 Years of Brazil on K2 Expedition is taking place with no sponsorship.

 

As always, we count on your support.

 

Hugs,

 

Waldemar Niclevicz

 

Translated from Portuguese by Jorge Rivera

 

A lot of snow on camp 1.

 

Dear friends,

 

Irivan and I are at 5,950m of altitude stuck inside our tent, we can hardly go out.  We arrived here yesterday at noon and it was snowing a lot, visibility was no more than 50 meters and that still continues, so it has been snowing for more than 24 hours.  We only came out from our tent to clean the excess of snow or to go to the bathroom, two hard but necessary tasks.  We just saw nine climbers descending from Gasherbrum II, an exciting image in the middle of this delicate situation with so much snow and wind.

 

Those who are trying to climb Gasherbrum II are already with the expectation of the summit, so it is so bad that bad weather came to frustrate this great dream.  We are camping very close to them, facing the big wall that goes to the summit of Gasherbrum II.  Our route is a little more direct, so our camp is a little higher than everyone else’s.  We came with a delay of one day, Hernan and Monica, Lucho and Maria and Darwin climbed a day earlier and descended yesterday.  We spent a night here together with Rodrigo and Duncan, who invited us for dinner.  Real team spirit that helps to deal with these difficulties.

 

The weather is bad now and we hope that it improves tomorrow and that we can open the path to camp 2, we need perseverance and faith to achieve this great dream of putting the Brazilian flag on the top of big mountains.  We count on your support!

 

We are also supporting Brazil from here, hoping for the Hexa!!

 

Hugs,

 

Waldemar Niclevicz

 

Translated from Portuguese by Jorge Rivera

At Hidden Peak (8,068m) base.

Dear friends:

It is a great pleasure to send news directly from base camp, we are already installed at 5,050m of altitude, at the foot of the majestic group of mountains called Gasherbrum.  They are 6 impressive peaks, two of them taller than 8 thousand meters, Gasherbrum I or Hidden Peak (8,068m) and Gasherbrum II (8,035m).

There are a total of 8 expeditions here, a relatively small number compared to the previous years, because of the political instability and the war that hit this part of Asia.

Almost all the teams have as their main objective to climb Gasherbrum II, which is easier; I climbed it in 1999.  A French team and an English team installed all the superior camps and are ready to make an attempt to reach the summit.

The path to camp 1 (5,950m) is the same for both mountains, but nobody invested any effort above that altitude on Hidden Peak, the main objective of our team.

We are waiting for the arrival of the rest of our equipment, which was delayed because of the excess of snow.  In total, there are twelve plastic barrels with everything we need for our climb.  They should be here tomorrow, and we will immediately start our attack on Hidden Peak.

The weather is still unstable, the sun shines on a blue sky during the morning, but around noon the clouds come and it snows a little at the end of the afternoon.  The excess of snow of the season worries me, but it is not stopping the development of our work. 

Today, we had the visit of Donald Bowie (Canadian) and Alexey Bolotoov (Russian), a pleasant surprise, they are well known climbers and very strong, they will decide to join us on the attack on Hidden Peak.

Hugs, Waldemar Niclewicz

 

Translated from Portuguese by Jorge Rivera

Toward base camp

 

Dear friends,

 

We are happy in the most impressive and majestic mountains of the Earth, Karakorum.  Despite the distance we visited the Baltoro Cathedral, the big Trango, Broad Peak and even K2.

 

After 40 km of trekking, in two days, we are now resting in Paiju at 3350m of altitude, a real oasis in the middle of the arid mountains.  Our barracks protect us from the strong heat of the sun under the shadow of the trees and we have crystal clear water, something rare here.

 

The stress of almost 30 hours in the plane, the difficult trip from Islamabad to Skardu and the very dangerous trip by jeep from Skardu to Askole (where we had an accident in 1998 with the death of our cook and his son), gives way to an incredible feeling of satisfaction.

 

Being in front of K2 again, after 10 years, gives me certainty that all the effort I did to make the so long waited dream true is all worth.  No other mountain has given me so much fascination, no other mountain has demanded me so much in exchange.

 

We still have 80 km ahead that we have to cover them in four days, and it is the most difficult part of the approach trek, because we are going to walk over the Baltoro glacier, but the beginning will be covered with a lot of lose pebbles and then there are hidden crevasses because of the excess of snow this season.  In compensation, each day will be more impressive because of the grandness of the mountains.

 

The weather improved, we have strong sun in the morning, but there have been some showers during the afternoon.

 

We are traveling with the people of Máximo Kausch from Argentina, he lived in Brasil for nine years and he is facing Hidden Peak and Gasherbrum 2 with an English team that is now at base camp.

 

I hope to send the next update directly from base camp; Insha Alá!

 

Hugs,

 

Waldemar Niclevicz

 

Translated from Portuguese by Jorge Rivera

 

 

 

 

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