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 K2 2003: ANDALUCÍA K2 EXPEDITION

 


DESOLATION AT C2: I am excited to be on the route of the ascent, in this camp I of K2, "hanging" from this balcony that oversees the Broad and most part of the Goldwin Austen glacier.  Until now the sensation has been of being alone on the mountain, but the expeditions are arriving and we see that people have different plans, that the exhaustive work of opening and re-opening of the route, installing the lines that we have confirmed are our umbilical cord on the way down or in case of bad weather, that this is not a shared work.  We have checked and changed the old ropes and their fixing points, we have realized that our life depend on them, especially after the scare of Salazar and Fernando's accident.  The climb to camp II is technically the most complicated part, but it is also fun and spectacular, you go through snowy slopes, corridors, trails, vertical steps and little landings.  Once the black tower is passed, an orange band of rock can be seen where the famous House Chimney is.  Vertical rock, green ice and really a narrower chimney than what I expected from the pictures.  The backpack is heavy, a wind that blows and gets in your eyes and mouth, and the almost 6400 meters, make breath and progress difficult.  The arrival to the unfriendly camp II is very exciting: because of the arrival to camp II, because of the effort  done by all the team of mountaineers and above all because of the desolation that this camp transmits, full of debris from expeditions and previous illusions and tormented wind sweeps on this magnificent and impressive mountain.  AMPARO

BASE CAMP: OUR SECOND HOME

We won't discuss about the sanity of the statement made by the eight mountaineers that consider base camp as our second home.  Common sense would tell that living on a moving glacier and surrounded by cold day and night is not the most proper place to spend 54 hard days.  But it is the price we have to pay to have "a room with a view".  Those with nostalgia will understand us: we take a peak from the tent to see one of the gates of Chogolisa at the end of the valley and in the other way the skirts of our permanent chimera, K2, it is a bunch of sensations difficult to explain. As Shiller would say: "What a unique moment can offer, no eternity can give back".

This year the budget of the expedition was enough to acquire an impressive semi-spherical tent.  Without doubt, this is the point of reference from Baltoro, because of its spectacular structure, its undisguisable orange color, because of its Flamenco and Machacona music that once and again our chief of expedition give us, and because of the warmth of this human group that has its own and singular dynamic, the conviction to work for the same common objective, having as a premise to keep the friendship that binds us in this difficult common life.

When we are equipping the route with fixed lines, carrying material to the high altitude camps, spending the night with no acclimatization in camp II with altitude sickness, we always wish to go back to routine.  Our base camp, our meeting place, place of relation, of interchange.  It looks more like a retiring home in the rest hours.  We tell of previous battles, we invite trekkers to tea, and other expeditions, the bright stars of the climber's firmament, and we listen with great attention or with concealed irony.  It is the umbilical cord of the expedition, where we feed, have common dreams, tell different things in the face and we say goodnight.

Those of us, who are parents, talk constantly about our kids, with brilliant eyes, their progress, their virtues, with a wide and sincere smile.  Sometimes remembrance makes us sad; other times their pictures make us go ahead with our illusions.  In this base camp we have also celebrated our ancestral traditions, the night of Sant Joan.  We light our hearth, to unleash this magic night, of rituals and chimeras, jumping on the fire and asking for a secret and sincere wish far from our loved ones.

The two doctors of the expedition are a little worried these days at base camp.  The rise of the information society in our times has come with the other expeditions. The second largest tent at base is dedicated to technology.  Thus, after many days of problems with the portable computers and satellite phones, the doctors are studying the possibility of making an advanced master related with informatics, so that their ancient and important role in the expeditions is not pushed away, facing the progress of immediateness and the need of avid information for the sponsor.  Base camp is a place to make our rusty imagination run free, our ability to dream and covet what we left behind in our far routine.  Juanjo.  Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera \

THE ROAR OF THE WIND: After a few days installing lines between CI and CII, we are finally preparing to carry and go to sleep in CII.  The climb is great, with many variations, snowy slopes, very aerial ridge edges, parts of vertical rocks... there is no rest; all the time with spectacular views of the mountains that surround us just like the same path we are climbing.  At first the sun heats in excess but as we climb the wind not only prevents its effect but it even makes us cold and numb.  When we reach one of those decisive passes (House Chimney), the whirls of snow make progress and climbing difficult; at last we are in CII, its view makes an impact on us: debris of every kind, tents, stakes, ropes... desolation.  

We are about to setup a platform for the tent, we pick some ice and more debris appears, from other expeditions which probably abandoned this place in a hurry.  Once the tent is installed we find shelter inside, the wind gets stronger, the structure of the tent trembles, I can't get to sleep because of the violence of the blizzard.  By the morning the intensity of the wind really worries us.  Will the tent hold?  We plan to go down, but visibility is null and the gusts of wind can make us lose balance: it is dangerous.  A few hours later the weather forecast shows a grave worsening of the situation.  We have to go down!  After fixing the tents with climbing ropes we abandon this unfriendly place in the middle of harsh conditions.  K2 has showed us again its toughest face.  We arrive happily to C1 without problems and under a light snowfall until we reach base camp.  Tired but happy.  Jorge.

BREAKING NEWS - BREAKING NEWS - BREAKING NEWS - BREAKING NEWS - BC K2

TODAY SALAZAR MADE SOME LENTILS, FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO FOLLOW US THERE IS NOTHING ELSE TO SAY.  WE HALLUCINATED.

THE AVALANCHE OF UPDATES AND NEWS IS BECAUSE SOME SWISS FRIENDS LENT US THEIR COMPUTER AND BECAUSE OF THE INTENSE DAYS LIVED ON THE MOUNTAIN.  WE HOPE THEY CONTINUE...

IF ANDALUCIA ON THE SUMMIT OF K2, WE WILL ALL BE THERE.  Manuel González

Translated from Spanish by Jorge Rivera

Dispatches

Pictures and text copyright ANDALUCIA K2 expedition

Altitech2: 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 battery. See more here.







 

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