Friday, August 8, 2008

Continuing Rescue Operations on K2

Dave Watson and his K2 Tall Mountain teammates have made their way over to the K2 base camp and spent much of the week assisting with ongoing rescue operations for climbers stranded in the accident over the weekend. We’re awaiting word on how this and conditions on the mountain will affect continued climbing, but the loss of so many climbers was certainly weighing heavily on their minds:

Excerpt from the K2 Tall Mountain post:
The Tall Mountain team is at K2 base camp helping out however they can. Chuck led the effort to prepare the landing zone for the two helicopters that have taken climbers to Islamabad hospitals. A third helicopter was planned for the injured Italian climber on the mountain, but it was cancelled due to bad weather in the helicopter departure zone…

The recent accidents on K2 echo the tragic 1986 season when 27 climbers summitted the peak, but 13 mountaineers lost their lives on the mountain. It appears that weather, objective hazards, snow conditions and human judgments all played a part, and the incident will no doubt be super-analyzed in the months and years to come. Meanwhile, everyone is doing what they can to help those in distress.

Chuck reports that he is feeling good again and seems to be over the virus he had. It slowed him down, but he still managed to help shovel gravel to prepare the helicopter landing zone and help out around base camp. He just didn’t feel well enough to go to a higher altitude. Andy and Dave have been helping out where needed at base camp and talking to lots of different people and getting multiple angles on what has happened on the mountain. They also managed to set up a shower tent and get their first shower in over a week. Chuck said that by the time he got to shower, the sun was going down, it was getting cold, the water was lukewarm and he was standing on a block of ice – but it still felt great! It’s all relative…

Overall, K2 base camp is not a cheery place right now. Many teams are trying to get porters arranged so the expeditions can leave and head for home. The weather forecast is for changing weather, so the future plans are back in Mother Nature’s hands. The team is planning to get some rest while the weather is unsettled and then move on to the mountain when the opportunity presents itself.

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

Share on Facebook

No comments: