Queen of the Mountains - Friday, June 13, 03
This morning, for the first
time in my life, I have seen K2 live. No doubt this is the most beautiful
mountain of the world, Her Majesty The Queen.
This is also the first day of
true rest as we made it to Base Camp at about 5000m yesterday late afternoon.
Last three days were not easy, long walks on Baltoro Glacier in changing
weather. It got cold and snowing, porters went on short strike below
Concordia, then to another one yesterday morning. It was snowing heavily and
they were cold. The shoes they are provided by the company might be good
enough to walk on the beach but not on the glacier above 4000m. Most of the
porters are from Baltistan, some of them are from Hunza valley. They are not
allowed to drink any alcohol, but they do smoke interesting stuff :)
Eventually sun showed up and
all of them except five or six made it in 5 hours to the Base Camp. On the way
up, I stopped at Base Camp under Broad Peak for cup of tea with the group of 3
Swiss. They plan to climb North Face of Broad Peak and traverse to the main
summit. There is no one else under Broad Peak so far. Further up, we met
Canadian fellow along with two Austrians dragging their cook - assistant to
lower altitude. He got sick and this is the only way to save his life.
Here, in the Base Camp under
K2, there are two other groups. There are 8 Spanish, the group of already
mentioned Austrians, one French and one French - Canadian, all together 4 of
them. It makes 15 with us. Other expeditions are coming later which is good
for us, the mountain will not be crowded right away and when we get
acclimatized we will be able to move fast and choose between K2 and Broad
I have heard there were 48
expeditions on south side of Mt. Everest this spring. I am very glad K2 is the
mountain which is left for climbers. Unlike Mt. Everest, this mountain is way
too hard for mountain tourists. I wonder what Fritz Wiessner would say about
the circus around Everest. He climbed K2 in 1939 with hand full of Sherpas, he
was chopping the steps into the ice for them ! He did not make the summit by a
couple hundred meters and only because he did not want to leave his Sherpa by
himself. He did not use oxygen nor the radios. What a difference in style
comparing to armies of Sherpas and unlimited amount of oxygen bottles on
Everest in these days !
There are no high altitude
porters under K2 this year and I have not seen any oxygen bottle by the tents
of the other expeditions. We are looking forward to great climb !
From K2 base camp Martin
Digital Altimeter, Barometer, Compass and Thermometer. Time/Date/Alarms.
Chronograph with 24 hour working range. Timer with stop, repeat and up
function. Rotating Bezel. Leveling bubble. Carabiner latch. E.L. 3 second
backlight. Water resistant. 4" x 2-1/4" x 3/4" 2 oz. Requires 1 CR2032
See more here.