From stu in the usa office
August 5, 2010
I am just off the phone with Fabrizio who (between gulps of thin air!) shared all the days news at 8pm from 8000m on K2!
Fabrizio said this was a very hard day with snow and wind in the morning accompanied by constant rockfall all day. The good news is that all of the Cesen climbers are safe and sound. Meagan is back in BC and fine (despite taking a rock in the helmet during her descent) and Ralf (who was climbing with Gerlinde) has turned back and also reached BC. All the other climbers are in their tents at C4 and brewing up! At this time they are about 100m higher than the last time up on the shoulder at near 8000m and all doing well.
With the loss of snow and the steep sections, the climbers themselves have been dislodging the loose rocks on K2 and knocking them onto climbers below. For this reason they climbed very slowly and carefully to minimize the rockfall. The climbers were additionally slowed as they replaced a number anchors which pulled out along the way. As such they needed a good 4 hours more than they expected to reach C4. This has left them less time for resting and hydrating than they had hoped, but enough to get them ready.
They will get a catnap of 3-4 hours and then get moving at 11:30 with the arduous process of dressing, putting on crampons and exiting the relative warmth and comfort of the tents. They hope to be in the move by 1am along with 500m of rope, 25 wands, anchors and hopes of topping out on K2 tomorrow!
With a route already fixed to the shoulder and the expected clearer weather to be later day 5th into the 6th we were confident that the window was the good one and the climbers and weather gods have done their part so far! We were well aware that much of this push would be made with poor visibility and accompanied by modest snowfall so the climbers mental state was ready for this. The winds this am had been seen as a possibility and fortunately they abated as the day progressed. Fabrizio said by the afternoon that the winds had dropped as expected and that they were having good visibility. We’ll hope this holds for them all the way to the summit and back to C4.
If everything comes together we’ll expect a call from the top of the world’s 2nd highest peak tomorrow – wish the climbers good luck and good weather!
Fabrizio has left an audio dispatch from the Shoulder and you can hear in his voice just how hard the day was and how hard it is to even lie in your tent and talk at 8000m! Enjoy!
Field Touring Alpine Audio Dispatches #104 - K2 2010 second summit bid in C4! Summit bid tonight!