When the Shit hits the fan:
07/14/2003 15:53:40 (note date): I think the only positive news is that
Kazach team arrived to K2 BC and the climbing will start again because of
forecast of better weather.
We left our BC on July 10 at
6pm. Made it to Camp 2 on Broad Peak before midnight. Packed the tent and left
for Camp 3 at 9am on July 11 and made it to Camp 3 around 4pm. Slept for 2
hours, then made brew and left 10:45pm the same day. The night was clear and
our spirit was high. Koreans have established the Camp 4 the afternoon before
and we saw the lights and knew they were up for the summit. We met Greeks and
it looked like a nice social event climbing the mountain all together.
Radek and me went ahead and
soon we lost the Greeks along with Miska, they all returned to the tents. Then
we lost the trail. The wind covered Korean tracks and we were sinking up to
our buts in the dust snow. I decided to wait till dawn, just to sit in the
snow. It was about 2:30am and Radek followed me very soon as well. Thanks for
lack of the sleep from two previous nights, we felt asleep easily. It could be
about minus 25C but thanks to the excellent down jacket Sport Schwarzkopf, it
was not a problem (by the way, this down jacket serves as my sleeping bag, I
do no care to carry the regular sleeping bag into the high camps any more).
By 4am, Radek found he has
slightly frostbitten feet but still managed to make it with me to Korean Camp
4. Koreans were not in and we got in to get warm. We also saw Miska is
following our track from Camp 3. Koreans showed up within an hour, saying they
did not make it to the top because it is very, very cold higher up. This camp
is only about 600m below the summit, we were tired after two nights push and
it was windy and cold.
Radek decided to go down,
Miska followed him. I was so upset about all the work we have done so far so I
decided to try for the summit. Korean track was gone right away and I had to
break my own. But the sun was on and despite the wind, it was warm. Of course
this is relative speaking, we are talking about altitude 7600m, and a person
who is dressed in five pair of layers including bullet - proof down jacket,
down pants, down mittens, ski goggles etc. But the sun gives enough warmth
that one can slowly move up.
The route goes into the
little col with the passage not bigger than the outhouse door. The wind was
blowing into my back and as I was getting closer to the "door" it was blowing.
The col is about 7800m. Right before, I even changed my warming bags in my
boots - to be fully ready for tough last 2 hours which I estimated to be left
for the summit. To my sad surprise, it was not only windy and cold as I
reached the col, I was ready for that. But on the other side of the mountain,
hidden from west side, there was another cloud and it was snowing badly from
this one. And at the same time, all clouds went up and the mountain showed
only time to time. I continued on the snow ridge, hoping the weather will
settle. It did - to worse. After another 45 minutes, I decided to turn around.
It was noon and I was alone on the ridge almost 7900m high. Giving the
conditions, this would be my last climb.
was snowing the whole way down the mountain and on the top of this, Basque
team passed me the news from Radek and Miska. Our tent, apparently set up on
the wrong spot and poorly tight in, has been blown to the void ( back in BC,
the guys told me they saw it happen and they even know the crevasse - and we
might try to retrieve our gear from it). It does not make a sense to write
what all we lost, most important, we did not loose the spirit to climb even
Bruce Springsteen music and remains of brandy is giving us some uplift.
The weather is supposed to
settle shortly and we will be most likely back on the mountain in couple of
days. Martin Minarik
Written on notebook ASUS comp