Thursday, July 31, 2008

Trek to K2 Base Camp

Another dispatch from the K2 Tall Mountain trip with Karhu ambassador Dave Watson...

The “Rest Day” today was a trek to K2 base camp to visit some friends. The team hiked about an hour and one half across the glacier to get to K2 base camp. They had heard from the porters that an American was trekking in to base camp. It turned out to be fellow Everest summitter and former teammate, George Dijmarescu who had arrived at K2 base camp. When Dave called into the weekly radio show, they were hanging out and drinking coffee with George and two sherpas he had with him – all part of the team that summitted Mt. Everest with Chuck and Dave in 2004.

The radio show call-in was excellent today. The podcasts are usually available about a week after the show – go to the sponsor link, radio, Utah outdoors and pick the date you want to download.

Dan McCann was in the studio to tell the story of his fall. When asked what happened, Dan said that he was climbing amidst substantial rock fall and because of some moral issues, he was not attached to the fixed ropes. He is re-thinking those issues. Apparently there was a Korean team ahead of them and they were adding to the natural rock fall on the route. He moved off the fixed rope route thinking that it would be safer to be out of the “shooting gallery”. The route he moved onto was mostly hard ice, and he lost his footing.

Dan briefly described how he thought the injuries were more severe than they turned out to be and how the adrenaline of the situation clouded his perspective at that moment. He thought he had a broken arm, multiple breaks in the ankle, some broken ribs. The arm was not broken, but he has a torn ligament which is scheduled to be surgically fixed next week. In addition he had lost a lot of skin from his arm and experienced some blood loss from his face at the time. It was warm and he was climbing in a short sleeved shirt, so his arms were exposed and thus he lost a lot of skin. They asked him about getting out of the mountains and back to the USA including the hospital in Islamabad. He described how he got a Pakistani army helicopter ride back to Skardu, then a commercial flight to Islamabad and the hospital where he was checked out initially, before returning home to the USA.

Dave talked about the good skiing from Camp 2 and the on-air hosts relayed that Dan was really bummed to hear about that.

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

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