Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Boys at Base Camp

Continuing the K2 Tall Mountain updates from Karhu ambassador Dave Watson this week...

The team returned to base camp today after spending two days acclimatizing at altitudes over 20,000 feet. They ferried loads of equipment to establish Camp 2. They slept in the Slovenian tent the first night and then, per a previous agreement with the Slovenians, they took down one of the Slovenian tents and put up their tent on a platform for the second night. They weather didn’t look good in the morning, so they decided it was time to descend, make the weekly radio call, and take a couple days off.

The weather is really warm and the snow pack is a lot less than normal this year. What goes along with that is that they are encountering a lot of rock fall. The highest risk is when they are moving up with other people ahead of them. Every step they take can potentially dislodge a rock that falls and potentially dislodges other rocks. The risk is greater on the ascent since there are other people ahead of them, but on the descent, they can choose to be last and carefully follow other teams down.

The plan is to rest for a day or two, and if the weather is right, head back up on the mountain. They will head for Camp 2 with a plan to establish Camp 3. They want to spend a night at Camp 3 before the summit attempt. Without high-altitude porters, the team is carrying the gear and it’s taking a couple of trips for each stage. Their high-altitude porter has been under the weather.

The team is happy to be back in base camp with their cook preparing good and appetizing meals. Ishmael has cooked in high-end restaurants before and is very clean and creative (he’s even been carving vegetables into decorative shapes for them!). They had a meal centered around yak today. The cooks for the various expeditions have pooled resources to buy and share some fresh protein sources for the teams. They will be eating yak for a while, but there are plans for fresh lamb in the future!

For more dispatches and info, see all the K2 Tall Mountain posts here or visit the K2 Tall Mountain site.

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