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International Peace & Friendship expedition to Broad Peak 2003

 Current Pakistan Time

Dispatch 13: **** NEWS FLASH! ****

First team members summits broad peak!

on July 15 at 1 pm Alex Chicong stood for a few moments atop a small crest at 8047 meters.

We congratulate our team mate for an immense achievement at the young age of 21.

Alex becomes the youngest Basque (?) to reach the summit of an 8000 meter peak he sets the standard for endurance and tenacity for his ............. I can attest to his effort as Alex, Walter, Fred and I all left camp 3 together with summit aspirations at 12-30 am .

The intense cold and sheer altitude caused each of us to turn back at some point. Having expended great effort keeping my feet warm and having braced myself against harsh winds for nearly 6 hours I turned back at 7400 meters . Where Alex found the inner strength and resolve to do the same for another 6 and a half hours is still hard for me to grasp.

It is certainly worth noting that the few of us able to reach the top were accomplished 8000 meter climbers with long resumes.

Grand company for Alex indeed. We await his safe return to base camp this afternoon and the beginning of a well deserved rest!

Stay tuned for a full update to follow. Stuart from base camp.

Second update is below

Stuart calling from broad peak base camp dispatch on July 16th.

With the successful summit attempts of Alex Chigong and a small group of accomplished and international mountaineers the rest of the team is feeling highly motivated and optimistic about the final round of attempts before we depart base camp on July 23.

Mike Hill has now spent 6 nights at camp 2 ...Mike loves reading a letter from home from his girlfriend and his spirits are higher than ever.

A slice of home in the hand is a marvelous remedy for high altitude ... All of us appreciate the letters that were sent whether they made their way to our remote locale or not. Mike and Walt will head to camp 3 tomorrow and attempt the summit on the 18 and or the 19th. Taki and julian are already in bed and preparing for an early start to camp 2 and their summit attempts on the 19th and or 20th. They will add a new and interesting challenge finding their way across the crevace which blocks the start of the route. Sometime during the day today the tenuous snow ridge which has seen dramatically increased traffic and wear and tear, collapsed. It still seems possible to repel down but how to go up is unclear. We look forward to a call tomorrow morning at 5. 30 am with their solution. Fred and I now back from our first summit attempt are resting up and will return to the hill on the 18th to camp 2 and give our last try to the summit from camp 3 on the 20th and 21st. At first I thought a great deal about how demanding the conditions are above 7000 metres on broad peak in what must be called good weather. and that is, very cold and. stiff biting wind. We did not have however gale force winds knocking us over in a blinding white out of snow.

We will return with improved clothing, knowledge and attitude. Walter just returned from 2 nights at camp 3 and John are measuring their respective energies and in the process of deciding what or whether to go up one more time on the hill. are in excellent spirits and are in fact playing cards and telling jokes as I write the blinding ....? light. The combination of strong sun and healthy exercise has left these single young men tanned and fit.........(they made me write that) Alex is resting up in a kerosene heated cook tent warming up wondering what to do with all of his free time. With no cafes and cinemas he will have to contend with camp 2 base camp drinking tea and listening to his cd's. We wish that we all had his problems. It has been a great amount of fun mingling with and learning from the well known new arrivals.

I believe it is important however to thank the unsung heroes who have made it possible for the newer groups to move easily and safely to the launching points of camp 2 and camp 3. Between the bass group and the Korean group the Greek porters Taki and mike Hill and perhaps countless others there are many thousands of feet of fixed line on the mountain.

The hard work is digging out frozen rope, carrying heavy rows of rope spools and snow stakes and retaining those ropes that are relatively unrecognized. Once more none of these people have mentioned anything of this but I hope to do so on the air and last years groups and years before groups ......? I certainly appreciated the fun of repelling and sliding down fixed lines rather than tenuously working my way down increasingly icy and difficult slopes.

On a final note at camp 3 now a one ounce pre wrapped wedge of cheese is traded for either one roll of toilet paper or a 10 kg load taken back down to base camp. Till next time Stu



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