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K2/Chogori Winter 2003

Dispatch 2/12/03: More sunshine

A beautiful, sunny day has finally come around in Karakorum. Thanks to the weather improvement, Piotr Morawski, Marcin Kaczkan and Denis Urubko have established another 400 m of fixed ropes above camp III (7150 m). On Wednesday, camp IV might be ready.

After arriving at the base, the alpinists had first of all time for a decent wash. After taking off their jackets, down trousers and suits, they presented a pitiful sight. At high altitudes, the body hardly absorbs any food. It most willingly draws energy from its own reserves ? muscle protein. As they were kidding around, posing for photographs in their underwear, they looked like dancing skeletons. Their legs resembled sticks, their arms have lost their sturdiness. These are not strong alpinists, but horrible bags of bones.

Jacek Jawień has shown off his beautiful ride, breaking his personal best altitude record. The young mountaineer from the ?forwarding? group spent two windy and sleepless nights at camp I (6030 m) by himself. As soon as the weather allowed him to climb up, he ascended to camp II (6780 m), where he spent another night, during which he did not sleep a wink due to the altitude, the headache resulting from it and the penetrating chill. On Tuesday morning, despite his discomfort, he set out early to camp III in order to bring the ropes for which his friends were waiting. After fulfilling the task, he very quickly returned to the base.

Piotr Morawski and Denis Urubko have established another 250 m of ropes, reaching the camp of a former, probably Japanese expedition at 7550 m. Clouds have blocked out the terrain, however, and the alpinists were not sure of where to go next. Since it was late, they returned to camp III. They intend to continue their ascent the following day, as high as possible, to pitch a tent and stay there for the night. Piotr, Marcin and Denis will then return to the base.

Nobody speaks about it, but if the weather is good and the alpinists' strength and the condition of their injuries and frostbites permits it, the possibility of reaching the summit of K2 in winter is getting closer day by day.

Monika Rogozińska from the base under K2

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