Current Pakistan Time
Dispatch # 5: working on the
route: We are comfortably ensconsed
in base-camp enjoying the culinary delights that our Pakistani cook has
managed to muster; dishes of lentils, fried rice, soups, meats and copious
quantities of chapattis. This avalanche of food has kept us feeling healthy
and is sustaining us as we get ready for increasingly higher forays onto the
For the past few days we have
ventured up to camp 1 several times, winding our way through the glacial
approach to the start of the route, and trying each time to better our times
by shaving metres and minutes off the meandering course through crevasses and
mini valleys formed by glacial meltwater.
The slopes of Broad Peak have
seen a great deal of activity in the past few days, all 9 members have managed
to cross the huge crevasse at 5000m at the base of our route and work on the
line up to camp 1 at 5800m.
In the past 24 hours 3
members have managed to reach 6300m and drop a cache of gear at the proposed
site of camp 2. It was windy, but the 3 Basques, who are forging ahead and
showing their experience and style, managed it comfortably and mostly without
the benefit of fixed lines.
As of today, we have 2 tents,
2 stoves, and 6 gaz canisters at camp 1, and a stash of tents at camp 2. Our
muster point, at camp 0.5, is a great little hidy hole, sitting on a rock
outcrop and protected by a buttress from falling stones and sliding blocks of
ice, it is our little haven and a place to take a breath before garnering the
effort needed for the steeper slopes above that lead to Camp 1. At 5300m it is
somewhere I could probably take up residence for the duration of summer.
Camp 1, conversely, has a
good deal of potential for wet slides, but it is close to a meltwater stream,
although uneven and rocky in places, it has been a real job getting
Under tuition from members of
our climbing team, we learnt today how to use snow stakes as a run off for
melt water, and effectively saved a can of gaz and a little bit of effort.
Tomorrow 8 members will head
up to c1 and c2 to send 2 nights sleeping high and acclimatizing before the
first summit attempts begin in earnest.
We have been fortunate to
find some fixed ropes from a Spanish group which attempted Broad Peak this
past winter, they are in good condition and only needed a reassuring reset of
their anchors before being loaded with 9 straining and gasping climbers.
It was the twisted and broken
remains of their tents at their C2 site which served as a timely reminder of
the conditions that can prevail up here even at this medium elevation.
Yesterday four high porters
were in fact turned back from just above C2, after having been belted and
thrown to the ground by very strong winds. We are very much at the beck and
call of the weather and after 2 glorious days of warm sun and starry nights,
we watched this morning as the low clouds and fresh snowfall returned. We are
hoping another 2 days brings the return of the glorious conditions that we
Things are moving fast and
going well, we have had no issues, save for Taquis insistence that he be given
a shot at the top, when we originally planned for him to hold back and save
strength in case he was needed to chaperone down tired or ill members. He has
enthused us enough with his quick wit and beaming smile to now put him in the
tail assault team. It is remarkable in fact, that if all goes according to
plan we may be down in just 4-5 days. The lesser experienced team members (3
of our guys have never been on an 8000m peak before) are wondering what all
the fuss is with this “8000m climbing stuff”. Maybe there will be some
changed tunes if we get a night out above 7000m in 100km/hr winds at minus
Peace, friendship and magical
moments to you all.
Stuart Remensyder, Concordia,
Photo copyright Dave Hancock