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International Peace & Friendship expedition to Broad Peak 2003


 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 mountain.

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 comfortable here.  

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 have enjoyed.

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 40c.

Peace, friendship and magical moments to you all.

Stuart Remensyder, Concordia, Pakistan. 

Photo copyright Dave Hancock

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