8000 Meter Peaks

Cho Oyu
Nanga Parbat
Broad Peak

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Carstensz Pyramid
Mount Kosciusko

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 Broad Peak 2001-World Summits

For news on all the Broad Peak expeditions see here:

Mark Lewis Diary – Final Edition

The expedition is over.

8 weeks of continuous physical and mental exertion is finally over. Michael has pulled the plug on the expedition and we are going home.

The weather over the last few days had been increasingly worse. Michaels coughing had developed into body shaking fits that created pain in his chest and back. He was constantly drained.  He’s had enough and wants to stop the climb immediately.

I spoke to Manzu, our locally employed head porter, and said that we wanted to leave within 48 hours. Manzu was sad that we wanted to leave, but set off to Concordia to hire porters for us.  He came back the same day with 6 porters who were to carry our equipment back to Skardu.

The trek to Skardu normally involved a 6-day walk and an 8hr drive in 4x4 vehicles. Because Michael was in a bad state physically, I was concerned that trekking for 6 days would make his condition worse and that he may not have the energy to walk out under his own strength. Therefore I decided that we would trek out in only two days and use the third for the drive to Skardu. This would be hard work yet it would get us back to a town were we would be able to get some medical supplies (We had left all but a handful of the medical supplies at base camp for the French team) for Michael and have proper rest at a much lower altitude.

Our departure day dawned and we awoke early ready to leave. The initial trek followed the Baltaro glacier to Concordia (4,800mtr) for 4hrs, (the junction of four huge glaciers), and after spending two hours trying to find a path through the junction we reached our lunch stop. It was 2pm and hot. We ate some soup and drank water to rehydrate us and then set off for our next stop - Alli camp (5,000mtr).  It took nearly 6 hours to reach camp by which time we were tired and slightly dehydrated. The porters set camp (nice change) and food was prepared. My aim was to get us all rehydrated, since our head porter was also dehydrated, as tomorrow was to be our last big day.

We awoke at 4am and after a breakfast of green tea and biscuits we set off for the last great hurdle of the expedition – The Gondogora La - approximately 5,600mtr snow covered pass. We reached the base within an hour and started the climb. After two hours of plodding through ankle deep snow we finally reached the pass. Michael was tired and his cough was still bad. It was hard work, I was climbing with a 15kg rucksack, using ski poles to assist my knees and take some of the weight off my legs, yet I was still finding it hard with the lack of oxygen and the weight of my rucksack climbing up 40º snow slopes. I ensured that Michael carried nothing except his camera and water so as to help him in the climb. 

I felt concerned for the porters who were carrying 28kg (including 8kg of their own equipment) and were climbing in plastic shoes, some of them without socks – this is surely not right and maybe it offers us possibilities to do something for them in the future such as arranging to send out proper clothing, footwear etc for the porters. My concerns with this idea are who can we actually trust to distribute it to the Porters?  It also makes me question what the in country operator actually does for these guys considering what we pay them.

We made the top (5,600mtr approx.), Michael’s highest point of the expedition, and sat exhausted on the snow. We had a short break and carried on descending into the valley arriving at Hushe village after a 16hr day!  As we had descended into the valley Michael visibly improved. With the drop in altitude his strength was returning and his cough was noticeably losing it’s body retching violence. We were also able to buy cans of fizzy drinks as we got lower into the valley and passed through small villages, which helped us with our sugar intake and were quite a refreshing change.

We arrived just outside Hushe and camped our final night under the stars. The following morning we walked for an hour and reached our Jeep. We spent another torturous 8hrs hurtling along ‘vehicle width tracks’ with drops of 100mtr or more on our right. It was with relief that we reached Skardu and the comfort of our Hotel.

We had to spend a night here arranging transport back to Rawlpindi and having done so slipped into a much needed sleep.

We had been planning to fly to Rawlpindi but the plane was broken and mechanics were being driven to Skardu (22hr journey!) to fix it. We choose the road option and again put ourselves through the ‘pleasures’ of the Karakorum Highway (it actually didn’t seem half as bad on our return, probably due to our experiences on dirt tracks in speeding Jeeps) to arrive back in Rawlpindi the following day.

As I write this, news has just come through that a helicopter rescue was made yesterday from Base Camp for Nicolas Sieger, leader of French team, who can not walk due to some foot problem, more details are yet awaited.

We’ve got flights booked for tomorrow and so hopefully we’ll be home soon and a couple of weeks early!

So how do you sum up an expedition to the one of the World’s Highest and hardest mountains.

You can’t. It’s a life changing, mind blowing experience that changes you from the inside out. You can go to the mountains, you can climb them and you can enjoy them, yet you can never conquer them or understand them.

When I think about what’s happened during this expedition I am slightly overwhelmed – a trekker died at base camp, a Korean mountaineer died on the Abruzzi Ridge of K2, our cook nearly died, three avalanches – caught in two, Blizzards, the French leader forgot his sleeping bag and got ill, he has now been evacuated by Helicopter, a porter had Kidney stones and the porter with the bad wrist who put mud in the wound had to have the hand removed – yet I have been to the mountain, I have climbed on it and I have returned mainly unscathed.

I know that there is a Being higher than me, somebody who must have created all of what we see and enjoy. I believe that He watched over me during this expedition and that He has kept me and brought me home safely. There is a purpose in life for each one of us, maybe mine is in the mountains, maybe not, yet what I do know is that if I put my life in the hands of the Creator then I have a higher purpose and He is protecting me.  I thank Him for bringing me home safely.

Broad Peak Diary Week 2 & 3: Mark Lewis of World Summits: He initially spent two weeks trekking around Nanga Parbat (9th highest mountain in the world), trekked into K2 base camp and have spent two weeks climbing the mountain, now they are in the final process of climbing the mountain.

We had been here for ten days when our cook got ill and had to be taken down. Michael gave up his chance of summiting Broad Peak by choosing to take Cher to Skardu Hospital. The choice he made is the tougher one and I can only give him respect for it. With all the incidents going on at the same time, I don’t know if I could have made the same choice if I’d had to.

I stayed to help with the problems, medical or otherwise, which were happening at base camp. 

There are four French members still on the mountain and we are increasingly worried about them. Whilst Michael was gone I spoke on the radio to them and they found it incredible that a climber would give up his chance to summit an 8000mtr peak for the sake of a local ‘cook’.  It is amazing what peoples priorities are in life, to me I would always put somebody’s life, regardless of race, color or creed, before anything else especially a mountain.

The weather has kept them trapped at camp 1 (5,800mtr) for 3 days now and there bodies will only start to deteriorate at that altitude. I am concerned for their well-being and I ask them during each radio check if all is okay.

The four French climbers had decided to push to camp 2 (6,400mtr) and so I was slightly concerned for them. This was mainly due to the fact that visibility was 100mtr at our level,  -10ºC outside and the temperature drops 10ºC every 1000mtr you climb. With base camp at 4,900mtr and camp 1 at 5,800mtr it’s likely that the temperature there will be -20ºC in the daytime without even considering the night.

They reached camp 2 after spending 8hrs plodding and climbing through 18” of fresh snow (severe avalanche risk), Thierry Pollet (one of the French climbers) had frost nip in one of his fingers, also Fabian (another French climber) sustained cold damage to his left hand the day before and he had not bothered to warm it up thinking that being inside his sleeping bag would warm it for him. As a result he got bad frost nip in his left hand – for three hours he had to put his hand inside a down glove and Thierry’s sleeping bag in order to try and restore feeling. It is bizarre how younger climbers, with little or no experience, think they can deal with issues like frost nip which in serious circumstances can turn into frost bite and need amputation. Therefore Thierry was a little annoyed at the prospect of finding his tent partner not saying anything about his hand until he could not feel it. 

As a result Thierry and Fabian descended on their fifth day of being above 5,800mtr due to frost nip. Happily they both recovered well enough to go back up later. Jean-Claude and Alain (the other two French climbers) continued from camp 2 to camp 3 and established our camp there. The route crosses avalanche slopes and glaciers. It’s useful having fixed line yet when it’s not reliable, it is sometimes easier to ignore it all together.

Michael had been gone for four days and we hadn’t heard from him at all. However there had been a string of trekkers calling into base camp saying they had met Michael along the way and that they had been told to call in for some traditional green tea! Cheers Michael. 

On day five a very weary but content Michael walks into camp. After helping him out of his rucksack and getting him some tea he tells us what the trek was like.  

They had left us for Payu and Skardu hospital. During the trek Cher would sometimes collapse and ask for his pain killers early than when they were due. He never complained yet it was obvious form his face that he was in agony. At times Cher had to be carried, normally this was when the pain was two much and he had passed out. When he was able, he walked himself whilst having the support of Michaels trekking poles. 

Normally trekkers would sleep in tents and the porters would disappear into circular stone shelters and place tarpaulins over them to keep the wind and rain out. During this rescue trek Michael lived, ate and slept within the porters shelters.  Michael said that it was surreal to be part of the porter’s culture. The porters  found it equally as strange as Michael did to be sharing western food and Pakistani food together whilst each man was equal to the other in the attempt to save Cher.

At Urdukas it felt as though he was part of a tribe, the porters all sang and chanted and beat plastic tubs to rhythms centuries old. Other porters who walked past or who came to join the group were pleasantly surprised to see a western climber living hand in hand with the other porters. (The reason this was so surprising for the porters is that normally they are treated like servants with the trekker / climber lording over them – it is not known for the climber to share such intimate friendships and responsibilities). 

The priority all the time however was Cher. As soon as they reached a campsite the tent would be erected for him, he would climb inside and take his medicines and attempt to eat some food. He would then sleep. When Michael finally left Cher they cried and through broken English Cher told Michael that he was like a brother. Cher went onto Skardu Hospital via military escort and Michael left him at the road head before returning alone to base camp in two days.

Michael arrived back and after a day’s rest we had set off straight away for the mountain. We crossed the glacier and again it had taken 4hrs to cross. Michael was struggling with the altitude and with tiredness. At the base of the gully I had left my climbing harness with a bag of supplies hidden behind some rocks. (normal practice to save weight and time on big Himalayan peaks). I went to retrieve my harness and kit and couldn’t find it. We searched for about 30minutes checking everywhere but it wasn’t to be found. I made a makeshift harness from a sling and I borrowed one of Michaels Jumar’s, yet it wasn’t comfortable and in reality wasn’t the best option.  We started to ascend the gully, it was Michaels first experience of Jumaring so I was demonstrating as we climbed. 

The gully with the fixed ropes was difficult and it took us two hours to ascend the first 100mtrs. This was too slow and I knew we were not going to get much higher at this rate and if the sun came up it would start to affect the safety on the ice and start more rock fall from above. We had already experienced football size chunks of rock falling past us and with the sun it would only get worse.

I was ahead of Michael and as I waited for him to catch up with me I heard him coughing. He reached me and said that he was spitting blood, it is a worrying sign, one that would only get worse if we continued ascending. I decided that the safest option, due to the coughing and the stone fall, was to descend.

We reached base camp without any incident and went straight to our beds. The following day I got up and went to the mess tent for a coffee and some breakfast. I found out that a Bulgarian expedition who were on the mountain ahead of us, on leaving, had stripped the mountain of all their equipment and had picked up my Harness and kit assuming that it was one of their teams. They still had it!

Michael wasn’t up so I called across to see him. He was ill, he looked pale and had had a restless night. I spoke with him and he said he felt bad and had no motivation to go back up the mountain. I asked what he wanted to do, he felt that he wanted to give up his chance on the mountain and return home. I felt concerned by this comment yet I was also aware that we had 10 days of bad weather forecasted and that Michaels health wasn’t worth putting at risk for the mountain. I was employed by Michael to be here and therefore he was my main responsibility and he called the shots.

I’ll let you know in my next article if we decide to continue or quit but as for now this expedition has been a great experience. I feel such incredibly humility that we have come to the mountains, seen and felt the beauty of the region and come away alive so far, yet changed. There is a place in my heart for the mountainous areas of this world, there is unmatched beauty and splendor that can only be found there. Yet, when you see what people give up to climb, like their lives, I realize that maybe the mountains are there for our pleasure and enjoyment as long as we never forget to respect and fear them.

Update 8/5/2001: Climbing the 12th highest peak in the world - Broad Peak

Mark Lewis of World Summits and Michael Jackson went to Pakistan at the end of June to promote their businesses. They initially spent two weeks trekking around Nanga Parbat (9th highest mountain in the world), trekked into K2 base camp and now are in the process of climbing Broad Peak. 

We arrived at base camp (4900 meters) and found ourselves in the middle of a constantly changing glacier, surrounded by other international teams all attempting Broad Peak and K2. There were Alaskan, Argentinean, Bulgarian, Chinese, Estonian, Korean, Czech Republic, and just behind us was an Italian team.

The first day's were for familiarization, 2 of the Argentineans had just returned to base camp having reached the summit [rocky Summit] 2 days ago, 4 of the Alaskans followed within a day and finally 2 Estonians with a Bulgarian and a Pakistani climber reached the summit the day we arrived. [See broad Peak page

Our team consisted of 5 French climbers, 1 base camp manager, Michael
Jackson and myself.  One of the French team, Thierry Pollet, and myself
set out to find a way across the glacier from our camp to the start of the actual climbing route. We followed the Argentinean route and re-marked the way with our flags, yellow and pink, so as we could find our way easily.

The route was simple, through the Argentinean camp, down the moraine, a leap across a 2 meter gap with a river flowing beneath, onto the glacier. It then meandered through hillocks and ravines surrounded by overhanging ice. It took about 45 minutes over ice and then led onto more moraine that was marked with Cairns. Eventually we reached a scree slope marking the start of the climbing route and the fixed line.

Michael had been suffering from food poisoning since our arrival here and is weak. Against advice he refused to eat therefore he got increasingly weaker. Because we are on a tight schedule I decided to carry a load to camp 1, so I packed my rucksack with 3 tents and set off at 5am. I went through the glacier very quickly and slowed down on the scree. The scree seemed to take forever. It was steep and every step up slid back half a step.

I was 50 meters from the start of the fixed line and the gully. There was an option to continue along the path, this included a 20mtr drop into crevasses if the scree slipped, or to descend into the crevasses and weave my way through several ice bridges. I chose the latter. As I scrambled out the other side the scree path collapsed in the middle leaving a 3mtr wide gouge where the path would have gone. I quickly sorted out my equipment and thanked God I had chosen the lower route. 

The Alaskan and Argentinean teams had fixed line so I was able to use it. I didn't intend to put my full weight on the lines, just to use them for balance. The first 100mtr was on good quality 9mm static rope. I didn't trust each section until I reached its anchor and checked visually and physically how the ropes were attached. Mainly I was free climbing 30 snow and ice using the fixed line for balance on the steeper more exposed areas. 

My progress was painfully slow due to the altitude and the weight of my
rucksack. As I moved onto the second stretch of 100mtr rope, I was on a 5mm line, which had been aptly nicknamed the 'fishing line' by all teams except the Estonians who had installed it. I wearily clipped into the line wondering if I should or shouldn't.

As it turned out I am glad that I did. I had moved up the line about 40mtr when I heard a loud crack and the ground beneath me opened up. I had fallen into a crevasse up to my waist. I shifted slightly to try and see my feet and see if there were any footholds. All I could see was darkness as the fissure disappeared below me. My rucksack was resting on the lip of the crevasse and my arms were spanned to support me. I rolled sideways to spread my weight and in doing so the rest of the ice cover collapsed and left me suspended on the 'fishing line'.

I took a deep breath so as to not panic and flipped myself out backwards onto the slope. I had had enough. I clambered to my feet and moved slowly two foot to my left onto a rock buttress. Feeling isolated and slightly shook up I quickly descended until I found a crevasse to dump the tents in, anchored them and descended. As I made my way back to base camp my thoughts were running around my head like crazy. Safely back at base camp it didn't seem so bad.

The following day the five French climbers set off for their first load carry for camp 1. Thierry Pollet, had already been across the glacier with me to locate the route, so it was with some surprise when two hours later we looked out from Base camp and saw three climbers climbing up through an ice field below one of the major avalanche areas on the mountain and the other two wandering aimlessly through a high crevasse field that was notorious for collapsing.

We radioed through and managed to contact the group of three. They decided to withdraw immediately admitting they were lost. We could not however contact the remaining two. We had flares and radios for communication, the flares were for emergency and as far as we could see the two were heading straight for trouble. We fired a flare and there was no obvious response through the binoculars.

Some of the Alaskan team had arrived, having been attracted by the flare, and they were advising that we get the two French out of there immediately as what we couldn't see, yet they knew from having climbed there, that directly above the two was a serac band (ice cliffs) that most afternoons threw off a pile of rubble directly down the route they were on.

We fired a second flare and as it died away we heard a crackle from the
mess tent then a French voice. Michael looked in the tent and underneath a fleece was another radio, on it's own frequency, linked to the group of two. This was good news in one sense yet the problem with this is that nobody was told about the additional radios and nobody had bothered to check compatibility prior to the expedition.

Eventually, reunited in base camp, it didn't seem such a big deal to the French. To us it was a pretty major deal. Communications on the mountain is very important. The French leader had a pair of radios that had 10 frequency bands. I had a pair of radios that has 250 frequency bands that were compatible with the French radios. However another of the French climbers had brought some radios that were not compatible with any of the other radios. This will probably cause problems later on, yet it helped us get them out of a tricky situation which would of undoubtedly been made worse without them.

The weather closed in and visibility dropped to 100mtrs. This put an end
to all our excursions up the mountain for the time being. 

Michael and I had planned to go up as soon as the weather cleared, so we had packed our kit and prepared to leave as soon as we could. Mike had been ill for a while and as such was weakened. I had advised him to rest a few more days but he insisted and said he would go with or without me. I was faced with no choice since I am here to keep Michael safe and to assist him in climbing the mountain, so we set off for camp 1 as soon as the weather allowed.

He had felt okay and had said he felt strong yet we managed about three hundred meters in two hours. Believing that we were not going to get any further and that to allow us to continue would put ourselves in danger, we dumped our kit and headed back to base camp. It took an agonizing hour to cover the 300mtrs back to base camp. I ensured Michael changed into warm dry clothes and he was in bed at 2am full of medicine.

The French team had awoken at 4am, eaten breakfast and set off for camp 1. After watching their progress up the mountain they had arrived at camp 1 at 2pm. I spoke to them on the radio and found them to be in good spirits and happy, they did mention that there had been a lot of stone fall during the day because of the sun on the route. 

Having rested all day, I had left base camp at 11pm in order to get to camp 1 by daybreak in an aim to miss out on the stone fall, with just my 
sleeping bag and roll mat. It was a cold, clear night and I felt strong as I set off. Within 20mins I had reached the place where Michael and I had dumped our kit, picking up 10 days rations and fuel I continued on my way. At the base of the fixed line I fixed on my crampons (spikes for my boots to walk and climb on ice), harness and helmet and clipped into the fixed line with my jumar (a device for ascending rope safely which is
attached to the rope and to my harness).

The climb seemed to take forever as I weaved in and out of crevasses and over ice coated rock. I stopped and picked up my tents and then continued onto two rock steps that I was unprepared for. The first was relatively straightforward and I had clambered up it with no style or attempt at style.

The fixed lines were dubious so I didn't rely on them too much. After the
first rock step, the route continued over mixed ground with a precipice to my left down which water was flowing. Eventually the rock was overcome and I had found myself staring up a snow slope of 40. As quickly as the slope had appeared so it disappeared as thick cloud enveloped me and it started snowing so thick that visibility was reduced to approximately 2mtr. 

I was still attached to the fixed line so I continued up for another 50mtr
until the rope ended. I searched around the anchor for more rope to continue but failed to find any.  I stayed on the end of the rope for about 20mins, sitting in snow on a 40 slope, when a break in the cloud revealed ABC (Advanced Base Camp) 10mtrs away. I unclipped and climbed up the slope to what turned out to be a platform 5mtr by 3mtr with 2 Bulgarian tents on it. I climbed inside the first tent after dumping all my kit 10mtr away in what seemed to be a sheltered tent ledge above me.

The snow continued to fall and was getting increasingly heavier along with huge buffeting winds against the tent. Once inside I had stripped off my wet clothes, climbed into my down sleeping bag and lit my stove to boil some ice to enable me to make some soup and a drink.

It was obvious that the weather was in for the night so as it was about 4am I decided the safest option for me was to rest at ABC (5,500mtr), so turning on the radio, knowing that it would wake me at 0800hrs for our radio check, I lay down and promptly fell asleep.

I awoke to Michaels voice saying "hello mark, this is base camp over". I sat up, slightly unaware of where I was and picking up the radio I answered. I found out that the French team were stuck in a snowstorm at camp 1, 5,800mtr and that one of their 3 tents was buried. Nicolas, the French leader, had forgotten his sleeping bag! He spent an uncomfortable and miserable night in his down jacket and his feet, still in his boots, he placed inside his rucksack to keep warm. He intended to descend yet the avalanche risk was too high and it was safer for him to stay at camp 1. 

I looked out of my tent and my vision was limited to 5mtr or so. I couldn't go beyond my tent ledge for fear of slipping or walking in totally the wrong direction. I spoke to Michael, advising him to tell the team above to stay high and that I was intending to stay put. We agreed to have another chat at 9am and see how things were going then. I lay back down and tried to sleep, I suddenly heard a loud crack and a rumble. By now I knew what the sound of an avalanche was like, I felt a
cold shiver down my spine as the hairs on my neck stood on end and I opened the tent and looked out. A blast of freezing wind hit me in the face and my tent buckled, 15mtr away a wall of snow and ice was roaring past my tent onto the snow slope I had climbed 5hrs earlier. As quick as it came it was gone and I was left in a shocked, relative calmness. 

As I looked up the slope form where the avalanche had come I noticed my equipment was strewn all around the camp. I climbed out and gathered my things only to notice that two tents were missing. My heart sank as I realized the implications of losing two tents. I quickly scanned the area from my perch and noticed that 25mtrs down the snow slope was one of my tents. I also realized that I was getting cold so I pulled on some protective clothing and my boots and climbed down to the tent. I brought it back and buried all my kit and knew then that I had to start to get ready to descend.

I was faced with three options, the first was to climb higher to join the rest of the team, this was highly dangerous as the snow was still falling above me and the route followed a snow slope that was prone to avalanche. The second option was to stay put, yet seeing the size of the avalanche that had just past the camp I wasn't convinced of the safety of the location, especially since above me were four gullies all spewing their contents into my region. Therefore there was only one realistic option left and that was to descend. The reality of it was that all three choices were dangerous, yet the most sensible option was to descend back to base camp and sit out the bad weather.

I choice the latter, and by talking with the Alaskan team by radio they were able to guide me back to the start of the fixed line. It is quite worrying staring down a 1500ft slope of ice, snow and rock, knowing that one false slip could be the end. I reached the fixed line without any
incident and attached myself to it. I felt a wave of relief flow over me. 

I descended relatively quickly, 45mins in total, however there were two scary moments, the first was a spindrift avalanche that swept me off my feet leaving me face in the snow. The second was a powder avalanche mixed with a few rocks. This one hurt. It hit my chest and swept me backwards so that I was facing down the slope with my feet facing up the slope. I spat snow and blood as I had taken a mouthful of stone and ice. On inspection there was no serious damage except a split lip and a gashed leg. 

I reached base camp relieved to have got off the mountain and also relieved that I was back to the warmth and relative comfort of my tent.

The following morning after a good rest Michael and I sat with a cup of coffee relaxing in the mess tent. We believe that this mountain doesn't like us because so far it has thrown everything at us to try to scare us. Michael has another bombshell for me. Cher, our cook and good friend, who was with us on Nanga Parbat, is ill. I went to see him and gave him a medical check. I located that from the back his right lung could not be
heard breathing. He also had and cloudy breathing. Not happy to make a diagnosis, but extremely concerned I radioed through to the Bulgarian Team who had a doctor with them.

The Bulgarian team is an international team and therefore have international status and support. Their doctor turns out to be the Deputy Minster of Health for Bulgaria! He arrived and diagnosed Cher as having pulmonary Oedema and the start of Pneumonia. As a side effect to this he diagnosed that Cher had Pneumothorax (collapsed lung) of the right lung. He basically stated that if Cher didn't descend he would probably die within 24hrs.

Cher protected us in Nanga Parbat and has been a good friend to us here. Michael got quite emotional and decided to descend with Cher while I stayed at base camp to assist with other medical or mountain related incidents. We hired four porters and they set off for Payu. It is a
four-day walk that they intend to do in one or two days. The plan is that two porters will carry Cher while two carry the equipment. It is quite emotional saying goodbye to them and I hug Cher as tears start to flow. Michael carries a radio to remain in touch, yet the distance is possibly too much to be able to communicate with them. Michael gives me a hug and says "take the mountain for me".

Sometimes I believe that my army career was a mistake, it has hardened me against situations where I genuinely feel I should be more emotionally involved. Yet at the same time it allows me to stay focused on the job at hand, such as keeping a clear head to deal with all the situations that being the expedition Medic forces upon you. It is difficult to make the right the decisions concerning somebody's life if you are emotionally involved and at the moment I had to remain objective and make the right decisions for Cher and the rest of the team.

Ten minutes later we received an urgent radio call from the Bulgarians. Nicolas the French leader has been found collapsed at ABC by two of their climbers, he is tired, cold and can't feel his fingers on his left hand. They make him a hot drink and give him some food. He is then taken into their tent and left to rest for a while. After a couple of hours he feels strong enough to descend the fixed lines. One of Bulgarians goes in front of him and one of the Bulgarians goes behind. They are very concerned for his safety and bring him down the ropes in 90mins. 

I get a radio call asking me to meet them in the glacier to assist with Nicolas. I grabbed my medical bag, water and some food and set off into the glacier. I am guided to them by radio. When I arrived Nicolas is lying on the floor having been sick and having no energy. I immediately went into mountain medic mode and checked his vitals. He has no sign of altitude sickness but he is very weak and being sick. His left hand is numb from the cold. We put him into some warm clothes and started to lead him off the glacier. He collapses again. The signs all show that he has Hyperglycemia and is dehydrated. We administer some 'glucagons' injection and put him on an IV for fluids. Between the three of us we carried him off the glacier. It is my belief that after a good rest and some hot food and drink he will recover as normal.

The following day Nicolas is walking around and is recovering well. We still have 4 French climbers on the mountain and they have established camp 1 and camp 2. They intend to descend within the next couple of days.

Mountaineering is a risk, it is a close line between life a death and it is so easy to cross the line through mistakes and incompetence. I find it remarkable how a professional mountaineer can forget a sleeping bag on an 8000mtr peak, it could have cost him his life. Any mountain is extreme, the weather can change so quickly and can cause a beautiful day to turn into a nightmare. As much as I want to succeed in climbing this peak, I also want to be home with Elizabeth my wife, this mountain isn't as important as my life and the happiness of my family. As beautiful and impressive as these mountains are, there is so much more to live for in life. Mark

Update: The K2 part of this expedition has been cancelled. However, wait until next year !

The World Summits Expedition to climb Broad Peak 

June 24th - September 4th 2001

Mark Lewis, Director of World Summits is teaming up with Michael Jackson, to go on an expedition to attempt Broad Peak.

This is a 2.5 month expedition, so we will still need to do some work! So, by carrying a lap top and satellite phone to the Base Camp we can keep in touch. 

Broad Peak received its name for its enormous breadth. The peak has four separate summits, the highest at 8047 m (26,401 ft). Located just south of K2, it is the twelfth highest mountain in the world. 

Over 8,000 meters is referred to as the "Death Zone". as at this altitude the human body begins to die and the simplest of movements and tasks become extremely difficult. The altitude and the resultant lack of oxygen is one of the major causes of fatalities on these mountains. To combat this many climbers climb with bottled oxygen to breath. We will be without oxygen. 

The Team:

Mark Lewis, Expedition Coordinator

Mark has been climbing for the past decade. He was introduced to climbing in the Alps in 1992 and in 1995 he first visited Nepal and summitted Mera Peak, the highest 'trekking peak' in the Himalayas. In 1996 he attempted the six North Faces in the Alps, succeeding on the Matterhorn, Eiger, Dru and the Grandes Jorasse. In 1996 he setup Intercontinental Expeditions, organizing and leading expeditions worldwide. He has led successful expeditions to the Andes, Tanzania, the Caucasus, the Himalayas, New Zealand, and Australia and in 1997 he was the first Welshman to climb Mount Vinson in Antarctica. In the same year he climbed to the South Col on Mount Everest and successfully led an ascent of Ama Dablam in the Himalayas. All these expeditions were filmed by Mark and a documentary about them was broadcast on ITV.

Michael Jackson: He has been involved in extreme sports for the last ten years. He is a qualified Rescue Diver and his adventures have ranged from scuba diving and shark hunting throughout the world to sky diving from 14,500 feet over the Australian Outback. 

His main passion, however is mountaineering. He climbs regularly, both summer and winter, in the Scottish Highlands and trains in the Alps.

Currently we are finalizing all of our equipment ready for departure and checking over everything.  We are looking forward to leaving the UK  and getting out to Pakistan and keeping you guys informed of what we are doing when we are doing it.

Mark Lewis Director World Summits Ltd

Everest 2001

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