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K2/Chogori Winter 2003
K2 Winter Expedition It is going to be colder
They say that the winters are worst in Karakorum, then in Tibet, and that they are most pleasant in the Himalayas. This seems to be true. Icy snowstorm at the base under K2.

A camp like a fortress

The reinforced camp II has been finally established on the ridge of K2’s Northern Pillar. Weather permitting, Denis Urubko, Piotr Morawski and Marcin Kaczkan will start installing fixed ropes along the route towards camp III on Friday, which is to be established at 7300 m.

“Camp II looks like a fortress - reported Urubko through the radiotelephone. - We have pitched the tent on the platform formerly cut in the ice by Piotr and Marcin. Then we have encased it with a stone wall. It should stand the wind and become our sortie base to the higher mountain parts”.

The alpinists have taken their GPS along and established the exact altitudes at which the camps are located. Camp I is a bit higher than formerly assumed. The measurement indicated 6030 m. Camp II was established at 6780 m.

It is comforting to know that higher above, a large section of the terrain is less steep. The route is marked by old fixed ropes left by the five expeditions that were struggling with the pillar in the summer of 2000. Nobody has been here since.

K2 is enshrouded in mist. We are unable to watch the three mountaineers on the pillar. We know that a strong wind is blowing there. At the base, however, it is exceptionally quiet and it is snowing lightly. Due to the fact that it is getting warmer (minus 13 degrees during the day), the K2 glacier on which our tents are pitched, which until now has been motionless with frost, visibly comes to life. The cracks in the ice are widening. The base starts do divide itself into sectors designated by nature.

Jacek Teler and Michał Zieliński, walking on Thursday to camp I with the equipment, were in for a surprise. In the permanent road on the glacier, marked with tracer poles, there is a huge fissure they were not able to master without proper equipment. They had to return to the base.

The winter in Karakorum is considered to be more severe then in Tibet or in the Himalayas, and February is even colder than January, which we have already lived through here.

Monika Rogozińska from the base under K2

Written by Monika Rogozinska, "Rzeczpospolita"; translated by "Scrivanek".

Dispatches