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K2 Expedition – June 2019

By July 22, 2019Current Trips
Adventure Peaks K2 2019 Expedition

K2 Expedition departed 16th June 2019

Leader: Paul Noble

22nd July

Today the team will leave base camp heading out to Hushe, whcih they hope to reach in four days time. Despite being stopped by the crack on summit day the team are happy with how they performed on the mountain and are now looking forward to the comforts of civilisation and heading home. Initial thoughts about future ascents are that it may have to be approached through the rock buttress to the left of the bottleneck, rather than the bottleneck itself, which will make for a much more challenging summit day.


20th July 

Paul has now had time to email across how the summit bid went:

The climb to K2

Base camp to Camp 1,

Across the flat glacier again, ever mindful there is the possibility of Serac collapse and avalanche  high above you. Climbers the size of ants are also working on the Casen route which is an alternative to our chosen Abruzzi route.
We pay particular attention as we make our way through the icefall at the head of glacier. Everytime we come here it had changed and needed care on occasion. We had shortened our preferred rotation programme partly because of the increased exposure to risk in this area.
It is reasonably short though and soon we pop out to our solitarily ABC tent. We use this as a store or a place to have a break. Above this it’s snowfields pretty well all the way to camp 1. Initially we walk up slopes for around 40 mins or to the start of the ropes before clipping in and starting a long but steady ascent for around 3 hours to camp. Like most Camps on K2, it’s busy and cramped but a welcome place for tired bodies!

Camp 1 to Camp 2.

There are very few flat areas on this side of K2. Leaving Camp 1 is steep again, it’s all a bit early in the morning as you follow the fixed ropes up over snow, ice, and rock, breathing hard as crampons scrape around for grip. You can see where Camp 2 is but it’ll be a while before you arrive there. The terrain is more complex now, much more rock to cross and care is needed with potential rockfall. A steep tower is passed on the left, Camp 2 is close now but one obstacle remains, Houses Chimney.
A snow slope leads to some committing rope pulling alongside an old caving ladder, soon you’re breathing hard and at the top of the chimney. Another snow slope and a welcome arrival at Camp 2. Tea and bed most welcome.

Camp 2 to Camp 3.
Guess what? Its steep….again! Up the lines, a bit of new snow around makes it a little awkward over the rocks and heavy rucksacks don’t help. There’s quite a few of us, we’ve all got our eyes on the same summit day so there is a steady procession of people on the ropes. It’s quite common for people to start using oxygen on this section,  particularly as it steepens, some sections resembling Houses Chimney far below.
It’s a long way and after some hours pass we eventually  arrive at a snowy Camp 3. Not long after arrival new snowfall and strong winds remind us exactly where we are.

Camp 3 to Camp 4.
It’s a mere 3 hours to Camp 4..…. so they say! Perhaps the longest snow slope ever? Our O2 system in place, apart from superman Pete, one step in front of other, it doesn’t feel too bad. At camp we try help Sherpa’s dig tent’s into place, very hard at this altitude, 7800 metres! Eventually we”re in place. Although a camp, it’s normally just a stop for a few hours before a summit attempt. But…there is a problem. The rope fixing teams have encountered deep new snow in a sheltered area of our route. An initial attempt by two climbers caused a small avalanche with a second team also struggling. We would have to delay or descend. We decided to delay.

The following day is stunning with 2 more attempts to fix the way thwarted by conditions but there is some optimism as Mingma arrives. He is a Nepali on a mission to climb all the 8000 metre peaks within a year. He rounds up a team and heads up. It’s time for us to make a decision – up or down? Pete’s been here for a while without extra 02, his feet are cold so he’ll wait and find out what’s happening. We let camp empty and head up, we will see Mingma and his rope fixing team in action, if they come down we will know it’s over.
Climbing up the slopes above camp was hard work, including a steep short bergshurnd. A pleasant surprise at the top though- it was flat! No looking straight up and no objective dangers! We could clearly see the fixing team working way ahead of us.  Beyond that, the summit, another few hours and we could make it!! Paul E and Phuba set off and myself and the other Phurba behind. It was cold but beautiful, some teams were in tents, this area is sometimes used as Camp 4.5, a higher variation of where we were pitched. It’s not long before Phurba points upwards, the fixing team are descending, it’s over! They can’t find a safe way through the Bottleneck. We stand around, waiting for confirmation, we end up with a group of us, disappointed but pragmatic. Pictures taken but a realization that Paul E has been above 8000 metres! His altitude record!!!
It’s cold, time to head down, wrapped up in the shared  sleeping bag again it’s a short night now.

Descent.

The next day it was an early start, pitch after pitch of descending, 3 then 2 then 1 all gradually came and went. Eventually as ABC came into view a familiar face with a present, Paul T had skied up with bottles of Cola- pure nectar!
Again the icefall had changed but it wasn’t too long before we negotiated through it, the long walk across the glacier went quickly enough although not as fast as Paul on his ski’s! However we are all back safely,  time for food and drink!


18th July 

All the team are now back down safe at base camp.


18th July 

The team made the decision to set off at 9:30pm local time last night for their summit push. Upon getting out of the tents Pete felt his feet were far too cold to carry on, so made the decision to stay at camp. The rest of the team made their way up to the bottleneck. There was another team ahead and some Sherpas rope fixing at the front. However when the team arrived at the bottleneck, they found the other team and rope fixing sherpas were heading down. Apparently a large crack in the ice has opened up on the traverse above the bottleneck and they are not able to bridge the gap. So with heavy hearts they returned back to camp. They arrived back at around 1am local time where they reported the news. Today they are making their way back down to base camp. Hoepfully they will push it out and get down today, but may have to stay one more night on the hill depnding on how long it takes them to clear down. Well done to all for a great effort.


17th July 

Paul T  and Fatima are back at base camp.

Paul N has called in to say that Pete B, Paul N and Paul E and the sherpas  have delayed their summit night and will head for the summit tonight.


16th July

Fatima and Paul T are on their way back to Camp 2 and then to Base Camp after being at Camp 3.  Paul N, Paul E and Pete and the Sherpas are on their way to Camp 4 and hope to go for the summit tomorrow.


12th July

The team have spent a night at Camp 2 at 6700m and are back down at BC. They are planning to head up for the next rotation tomorrow and see how things progress. If the weather holds the team are considering the possibility of an early summit attempt, but they are not rushing to commit to that decision just yet. Apparently the route to ABC from base camp is proving difficult with reports of some other teams climbers falling into waste deep water while trying to cross the glacier.


2nd July

Well BC life is definitely up and running now. We are camping on the Godwin Austin glacier and surrounded by stunning mountain scenery. Of course camping on a glacier is tough,  to give you an idea just how rough it is- Our main mess tent is double skinned and heated. A tarp has also been placed over it as there has been quite a bit of snow fall recently.
An office tent has been placed next to the mess tent. This is for charging our toys with the generator and emailing etc. Behind this there is a shower tent then the toilet tent. That leaves the kitchen tent and finally the equipment store tent. And to finish it off, our personal tents are loaded with mattresses and pillows! Of course we are very grateful to out team for putting this together while we were out on acclimatisation walks!

Currently it doesn’t feel too busy but we are expecting a lot of people from Broad Peak Basecamp after they summit. So far we’ve had generally good weather with occasional snow and clouds. Our walks so far are to the memorial, most K2 mountaineers will visit at some point but currently it is an awkward scramble and possible swim! The main walk is up to ABC through a fantastic easy icefall. Both Pete and Paul E have wandered up the ropes towards Camp 1. Paul T was delighted to be reunited with his ski’s and celebrated by skining up to join the team for a mass ascent to ABC today.  While we flogged back down the softening snow Paul was back at base in minutes! We also took our Laison Officer with us and he was delighted to break his altitude record!

It was red hot today and the mountains were shedding all the recent snow. This posed no danger to any of us, just gave us a bit of entertainment! Emma, who trekked in with the team left today and will be back in Askole in 3-4 days.

Tomorrow, 3rd July is our puja day. Our 3 man Nepalese Sherpa team will lead this and bless our climbing gear with prayers brought from Kathmandu.  After this we will start our rotations on the mountain.


27th of June

The team arrived at K2 base camp yesterday. All is good with the group and enjoying the spectacular views. All 95 porters have been tipped and will be on their way back down the valley in the morning. The team eneded up not staying at Concordia, but a bit further up the Godwin Austen, this was due to changes in the glacier making it difficult for porters to cross further up the valley.

Paul reported that a Japanese team that came in early and have been attempting the Cessen route are now heading home after losing equipment at one of their camps on the mountain.

It’s looking like the weather over the next few days is set to clear, so hoepfully the team will be able to start venturing out above BC.


23rd of June

Paul called to say the team are doing well and are resting at Paju camp 3400m. Tomorrow they will heading towards to Urdukas camp.

team lunch   porters on way in

18th June

Paul has sent his latest updated.

The team all arrived in Islamabad, and took the flight to Skardu. It wasn’t long before we boarded and headed off towards the mountains and a slightly cooler Skardu.

Not only does the airport have a stunning backdrop it also has the prettiest airport arrivals garden  I’ve seen! We were given a great welcome  by our agent and we headed off in the jeeps.

A short drive along roads lined with walls constructed from mud bricks  took us through a rural landscape passing  farms, livestock and orchards before entering the town itself and into our hotel which will be home for the next 2 nights.

Wasn’t long before lunch was demolished by a hungry team after which there seems to be a mix of power napping and shopping going on.

Tomorrow we will double check our equipment  and supplies although I suspect lots of eating will also be on the to do list.

k2 2019

17th June

The team are on their way. Most of the team will arrive into Islamabad today and the final clients arriving tomorrow.

Stu Peacock

About Stu Peacock

Stu Peacock is a very experienced high altitude mountaineer who has been to the Summit of Everest, Broad Peak, Cho Oyu and climbed on K2. His other expeditions include: Manaslu, Ama Dablam, Peak Lenin, Aconcagua, Khan Tengri, Tien Shan Unclimbed, Korzhenevskaya, Baruntse, Mera & Island Peak, Alpamayo, Bolivian Peaks, Spantik, Elbrus, Mt Kenya and Kilimanjaro. He was the first Brit to summit Everest via the North Ridge 3 times.

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