Monday, July 28, 2008

Waiting for the Weather

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

The team is still in base camp waiting for the weather to clear. The satellite phone connection was short and the info brief. The high-altitude porter has been dismissed as he needs to leave base camp to seek a remedy for some health ailments. He has been unable to climb or carry loads, so Andy, Dave, and Chuck have been carrying their own loads up the mountain to establish Camp 2.

Chuck described the river crossing that they need to do every time they go from base camp to the mountain or vise versa. When it’s frozen in the morning, they can walk across it, but later in the day, it’s a raging river - Class 5 whitewater conditions. The Austrian/Slovenian team has rigged up a Tyrolean traverse to enable the return crossing, but they are not going to be there for much longer, so the team doesn’t’t know what will happen when they leave. A Tyrolean Traverse is a mountaineering technique originally used to access isolated rock spires, that is also used to cross rivers. A rope or cable is fixed under tension high enough above the water to stay safe and dry, and the expedition members attach themselves to a pulley and a back-up carabiner and either pull themselves and their equipment across, or they can be pulled across by their team mates with a second rope, once the first climber has made it to the other side.

The team has been unable to get their laptop battery charged with the solar chargers so far. They’ve enlisted help from some electrical-savvy guys from other expeditions, but haven’t been able to store enough energy to fuel the computers. They have been able to recharge their iPods and small devices, though.

The plan is to hang out and rest for a day or two until the weather clears again. Then they will continue the acclimatization process.

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

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