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 PROJECT K2

1999 K2 with Waldemar Niclevicz reporting

Updates are below...

For earlier reports and an introduction: 1999 K2:

Update 7/1/99:

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ VIA SATELLITE BY IRIDIUM

Pepe Garces and I rested at camp 2 today and fortunately Abele, Christian and Ralph  came from base-camp up and now  the team  is all together. Therefore, we intend to follow to camp 3 tomorrow. The weather is reasonable, winding a little  and quite cold at high altitudes. Here, at camp 2 it was (-) 18 degrees C  at night  . Let's cheer the   weather doesn't get worse and   then we can arrive at Camp 3 at  7,200m of altitude and on Saturday we can get the summit of Hidden Peak at 8,068m.

Exclusive. Don't miss this Sunday, at a   TV Program called  Fantαstico in Brazilian TV, Globo Network, images from the beginning of the expedition of the Project K2: the arrival in Pakistan, the approximation walking to   Hidden Peak  and Gasherbrum base-camp.

Update 7/2/99:

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ VIA SATELLITE BY IRIDIUM

Hidden Peak - Camp 2,  6,500m/7,100m   /   Camp 1 5,950m,         41st day of the expedition

Today was the longest and toughest day of the expedition. We started climbing at 7:00 am through the "Japanese Corridor" and at 2:00 pm we were at the end of the fixed ropes amidst a strong snowstorm. The wind was strong and the visibility was less than 40 meters.

Unfortunately the  difficulty in our path has surprised us. We went up to 7,100m of altitude, climbing on a breaking rock and sank in a  snow   up to 50 degrees inclination.

At that  moment we were all decided to return to camp 2. Pepe and I initiated our descending immediately. Before,  we left a warehouse with tent, food and fuel for our next lunge. To our surprise, our colleagues didn't come down, improvising a camp 3 at 7,100. Pepe and I came to camp 1, where we arrived at 8:00 pm very tired. I'll send further details tomorrow direct from base-camp. 

Update 7/3/99:

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ VIA SATELLITE BY IRIDIUM

Hidden Peak  -   Camp 1, 5,950 m /  Base 5,220 m,42nd day of the expedition

Fortunately we are at base-camp for resting after 6 work days in superior altitudes. And here, at base, I can explain better what we have been doing, because I update K2 on-line directly with my notebook. When I am climbing, I use the Iridium to update K2 on-line, calling my office in Brazil, but not always possible to publish what I want.

Well, Pepe and I descended from camp 1 today, amidst a thin snow. In fact, the weather has got worse and we took the right decision to return from 7,100 m yesterday, leaving there just some equipment and setting our camp 3. It was a hard decision, as with camp 3 set, we could reach the summit. Here's a part of the story that neither I nor Pepe can understand well.

Yesterday the day was very hard, we worked much to get the superior Glacier which would take us to camp 3. On Jun 30th Pepe and I fixed 600m ropes in the Japanese Corridor. On Jul. 1st, Abele Christian and Andrew (our colleagues who were at base-camp), arrived at camp 2 where we were resting (in that day the Koreans fixed more 200 m of ropes). then, all our team left early (6:00 am) yesterday trying to reach camp 2 definitively in order to prepare our final attack. But, while we were going up, the weather got worse, a cold wind started blowing and when we finished the fixed ropes the difficulties went on. We were climbing on a ground, half rock, half ice, from 45 to 55 degrees inclination. And we had no option unless continue fixing ropes.

Around  7,000 meters of altitudes, the rock wall   was replaced by an immense glacier, there we put the last stake in the snow and tied the rope end. At that point, we were climbing amidst a snowstorm with a short visibility. The wind became stronger, but sometimes it almost stopped. At that time we all had decided to return to camp 2, because with such weather conditions it would be hard to set camp 3 and, furthermore follow to the summit in the next day. I started the long descending followed by Pepe and asking myself if we could get the base, it would be better to rest. Unfortunately it was late when we arrived at camp 2 (5:00 pm), even tired we didn't rest and  went on to camp 1 (the lower altitude it is, the better you feel to rest, due to an increase of oxygen concentration). We always looked up, to see if  our friends were descending, but we couldn't see anything. I was surprised when I was near camp 1, I saw in the same place where we had finished the climb, 3 dots moving. Pepe and I can't understand why our colleagues didn't respect what we had agreed and decided to spend the night at 7,100m. We haven't had news of them so far, although we have insisted on a contact by radio, no success. Now, it is 5:15 pm at base-camp, it's snowing   a lot , we hope Abele, Christian and Andrew are OK.

Photo

(legenda da foto) The photo shows the beginning of the Japanese Corridor. 3 work-days to find a safe path among the rock towers.

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ

Update 7/4/99:

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ VIA SATELLITE BY IRIDIUM

Hidden Peak     Base-camp 5,220m, 43rd day of the expedition

Pepe and I have had some tense moments here at base-camp. The weather keeps unstable, it snowed a lot at night, and so far 3:10 pm we have no news of our friends. Well, it's sure that they set camp 3 at 7,100m, a day before yesterday, when Pepe and I came  to camp 1. Yesterday would be the day that they would attack the summit, but as the weather was very bad, they probably decided to wait one day else at 7,100 m. So, I believe that they are coming down today to camp 2, very frustrated by the bad weather, and tomorrow they must arrive at base-camp. I hope so, but I can't understand why they couldn't get in touch by radio, I don't believe that they haven't taken a radio with them.

Photo

Today I leave you one more photo in the Japanese Corridor, where my friend Pepe Garces appears in one of the most difficult parts, under a negative wall, fixing ropes. On the first workday  Pepe and I spent  seven hours to fix 600 m of ropes. These ropes are very important to ease our climb, and a possible exit in case of bad weather.

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ

Update 7/5/99:

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ VIA SATELLITE BY IRIDIUM

Hidden Peak   -   Base-camp 5,200m,   44th day of the expedition

Dear friends:

With pleasure I communicate that all our team is well. And the news is still better, Abele Blanc and Christian Kuntner are the first alpinists that arrived at the summit of Hidden Peak this year, although it has been very hard and they were very unruly.

In fact, they decided to set camp 3 at 7,100 m, just after Pepe and I had started descending to camp 2, as it was agreed among us (on Jul. 2nd). The Australian Andrew Lock had stayed with them, all of them intended to leave to the summit at 10:00 pm, but the wind was very strong. They waited all night for a wind stop and it stopped around 4:30 am. Then, they began the final attack by 5:00 am, quite late and with short visibility. After 30 minutes Andrew got late and couldn't see his companions anymore returning  to his tent at camp 3. Abele and Christian went on facing difficulties, threat of board avalanches, strong wind, short visibility. They got lost several times, but they went on up, arriving at the summit at 5:30 pm yesterday (Jul. 4th). The wind was very strong and Abele has confessed he was  afraid of being taken by the wind. The descending was nervous too, our friends couldn't find the descending path amidst a snowstorm and with the sunset they were already imagining to spend the night out. It was when they found several signals of old camps and finally their tent at camp 3. The arrival at the summit of Hidden Peak by Abele and Christian was, undoubtedly, a big demonstration of courage but also an unnecessary demonstration of imprudence. The life exposition to such extreme conditions isn't  worth. The rest of the team got very worried, because all of us had taken the decision to go to camp 2 and not  to continue up the summit. My friends, the mountains life is very beautiful and knowing how to live it and preserve it depends on each one. The nice living among  a good team is one of the biggest satisfaction I've already had. It's a pity that, sometimes, the man puts his   personal pride above the common aim. That's why, on one hand I'm very glad because they are Ok, but on the other hand, I'm very disappointed by our companion's individualism and by the lack of respect to their own lives.

Our Sunday (yesterday) was dark and cold. It snowed all day long.. Practically everybody descended from superior camps to base today. The weather got a little better today, but the snow kept falling, provoking big avalanches. Koreans and Spaniards have already set camp 3 at Gasherbrum II and wait at base-camp  for good weather conditions. Two new expeditions are among us, both Americans, one of them will climb Gasherbrum IV through via Bonatti and other commercial to Gasherbrum II. 

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ

Photo

(legenda da foto)  Christian Kuntner and Abele Blanc, the first alpinists to climb Hidden Peak this year, just after arriving at base this   morning.

Update 7/6/99:

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ VIA SATELLITE BY IRIDIUM

Hidden Peak -Base 5,220m,  45th day of the expedition

My friends, the weather is very bad unfortunately. The sky was full of dark clouds today, with an intermittent blizzard every hour. We receive the forecast today from Spain and this instability will go on till Friday at least. That forecast was done by the meteorologist Daniel Ramirez, with very high efficiency, and is sponsored by BARRABES (one of the best alpinism equipment shops in Spain, see www.barrabes.com. )

While we are waiting, we take advantage to rest and have a good food . Here at base-camp we have a cook, who offers us a great variety of   meals. His name is Baker and cooks very well. He's the same cook we had in our expedition to K2 last year. Baker works for Adventure Tours Pakistan (www.atp.com.pk), the agency which is supporting us. Each four days the agency gets the food  to our base-camp. Yesterday afternoon we had a surprise, which made Baker's eyes shine: a Goat!!! Our cook followed by Mohamed (his helper) hunted the animal today morning and prepared a lovely lunch. Here at base-camp we eat basically potatoes, rice, chapati (a kind of bread) and dhal (lentils). We are free of that type of menu thanks to food that we have brought from Italy (much pasta,  many olives, cheeses, hams, sweets, biscuits, etc...).

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ

Update 7/7/99:

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ VIA SATELLITE BY IRIDIUM

Gasherbrum Base,  5,220m / Camp 1, 5,950 m, 46th day of the expedition

The meteorology has forecasted unstable weather with   storms for yesterday and today, getting better tomorrow but with strong winds S-SW on the summits. Temperature  0 degrees C at 4,500m and minimum from -20/-25 degrees at 8,000 m. The weather must get worse on Friday. In this situation and taking in consideration that the days are going by so quickly, we have decided to change our plans once more. We believe that here is no enough time to end the climb to Hidden Peak, but we can make an attempt to climb Gasherbrum, a much less complicate mountain. It's a pity, but it will just be successful if the weather permits.

Also, it's an effort union, with the Spanish Oscar Cardiach's expedition and with the Korean Sang Bae Lee's expedition, who are at Gasherbrum camp 2. We are going to leave at 5:00 pm to camp 1 and early in the morning, around 5:00 am, we'll go on aiming to reach camp 3, at 7,000m and finally make the final attack together in the morning after. Let's cheer the weather helps us.

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ

Update 7/8/99:

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ VIA SATELLITE BY IRIDIUM

Gasherbrum - Camp 1 5,950m, 47th day of the expedition

Wind has blown a lot at  heights today on Gasherbrum. Koreans tried to get the summit, but they returned from 7,400m due to wind strength. Even though, Pepe and Andrew and the Spaniards followed to camp 3 (7,000 m). I've got a super coughing attack and sore throat. I preferred to be waiting for a weather improvement here at camp 1.  Tomorrow Abele and Andrew are arriving from base-camp and I intend to go up with them.

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ

Update 7/9/99:

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ VIA SATELLITE BY IRIDIUM

Gasherbrum   Camp I, 5,950m / Camp III,   7,000m, 48th day of the expedition

Abele, Christian and I have come to camp 3 today at 7,000m of altitude, while the Spaniards and Englishmen took advantage of the beautiful day to get the summit of Gasherbrum II, 8,035m. In a total 16 people have succeeded.

I expect  to go on  in my attempt today at midnight with Abele, Pepe and Christian. Let's cheer this year's first climb in  the Project K2 succeeds.

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ

Update 7/10/99:

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ VIA SATELLITE BY IRIDIUM

Gasherbrum, Attempt to Attack the Summit of Gasherbrum 8,035m   49th day of the expedition

It was a long and extremely tough day, but worthy.  We have succeeded to climb the 8,035m of the 14th highest mountain in the world.  Abele Blanc,  Christian Kuntner and I arrived today at 1:20 pm (Pakistan hour - 8 hours earlier than the  Brazilian hour) at the summit of Gasherbrum after an icy night ( -21 degrees C). We're exhausted, but happy!

The day was wonderful, but when we got the summit, the weather changed suddenly, strong winds and threatening  storm clouds took place. The great difficulty was the soft snow found on the way, mainly at the last 200m before getting the summit, where we sank up to the knees. So, unfortunately, it wasn't possible to be there for a long time, mainly due to strong winds. We are at Camp 3,   7,000m, where we have hydrated, melting snow. But, we've got it, that's the important!

Gasherbrum in Urdu means  "light mountain". This success, the conquest of the light mountain, I offer to Adriana Carioba, the woman of my life, with whom I expect to get married as soon as I arrive in Brazil.

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ

Update 7/11/99:

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ VIA SATELLITE BY IRIDIUM

Gasherbrum    Camp 3,   7,000m / Base-camp  5,200m, 50th day of the expedition

We are leaving Camp 3 today towards base-camp for resting. We are happy by  the team's conquest and by the  fact that I have been the first Brazilian to climb Gasherbrum with its 8,035m of altitude, the 14th highest mountain in the world. This is a unique victory to Brazilian Alpinism, and for me a good motivation to go on  the Project K2.

As soon as I get the base I'll send you the photos. Once more thank you for cheering!

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ

Update 7/12/99:

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ VIA SATELLITE BY IRIDIUM

Gasherbrum Base-camp, 5,220m, 51st day of the expedition

Dear friends

With great pleasure I send this message direct from base-camp, after climbing  Gasherbrum II successfully, with 8,035 of altitude, the   14th highest mountain in the world.

Abele and I had a nervous descending yesterday  from 7,000 meters, camp 3, as far as base-camp. The final attack, from  7,000 meters to the summit was long and tough, it seemed endless. And when we got  the summit, what   we were expecting,  happened.  The weather changed suddenly, a strong wind blew at 8,035m and the clouds started to fulfill all horizon.

During our descending it started to snow very strongly and it got colder as we went down. We arrived at camp 3 very tired and the blizzard went on all night long. We almost couldn't sleep, worried about going down to camp 1 and having the possibility of an avalanche  on our tent.  Around 4:00 am, when the sun was rising we tried to go out of the tent  for the first time but it was impossible. All camping was about 30 cm under the snow,  from 50  to 60 km/hour wind. The worst was the lack of visibility, we couldn't see further than 10 meters. So, we waited   the wind calm down. By 6:00 am Abele and I could go out of the tent and started to look for the rope end which would take us safe  down. I found the end of the fixed rope 40 cm under the snow, far about 20 cm from Abele I insisted on saying  " I'm sure it's here".

It was craziness to go down in that weather, but the storm was similar to days before (it's snowing till now),  and being hung in that tent at 7,000 meters of altitude could be fatal. Therefore   we needed to do something quickly. So, we started doing  a series of descents by fixed ropes, on a wall between 30 and 60 degrees inclination. The wind, furious,  almost blinded us. The snow that had just fallen, fell in great avalanches on our feet. We  started digging each meter of rope with difficulty and the most incredible, although we were in front of each other just some meters ahead,  the one who came behind couldn't  find any   other's footsteps.  The wind and the snow erased everything very quickly hiding the ropes again. As far as camp 2, at 6,500 m (place where we didn't use for camping, so we hadn't any  tent there)  it was  one of the greatest adventure I've ever had. After being sheltered by the wind,  thanks to the mountain geography, the descending was calmer to 6,000 meters, where the fixed ropes finished, because the inclination diminished and there was just 30 minutes walk to camp 1.  We arrived there at 11:00 am, when it stopped snowing. We ate and drank much, so we went on descending to base. At 1:00 pm it started snowing hardly again. The descending to base was nervous again, due to a great quantity of snow that was falling.  It hid    innumerable glacier cracks.

But, my friends, we arrived in our base-camp, where the first thing that called my attention was the Brazilian flag, trembling on a bamboo amidst a strong blizzard.   Our green  and yellow flag, trembling  for the first time in the history at the heights of 8,035 meters of Gasherbrum, 'the light mountain" the 14th highest in the world.

Photo

(legenda da foto) The accomplishment of a great dream, Waldemar Niclevicz with the Brazilian flag, that was received  by the Minister of Sports and Tourism of Brazil, Mr. Rafael Greca, on the heights of Gasherbrum, with 8,035m of altitude, the 14th highest mountain in the world.

PS.: During this week, each day a photo of a new climb.   Don't miss!

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ

Update 7/13/99:

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ VIA SATELLITE BY IRIDIUM

Gasherbrum, Base, 5,220m,52nd day of the expedition

It's incredible, but just a day resting here at base- camp makes the difference. I feel much better, but even thought very sure to go to K2, leaving Hidden Peak for another opportunity.

Unfortunately the days have  gone by so quickly and the weather hasn't helped much. I'd like to have already climbed those two mountains . Yesterday was the foreseen day that the porters would come to move to the base of K2. I have a good feeling, that we will have good weather in the next full moon, on the 28th, when I intend to do the final attack to K2.

A little good sense can solve everything. I'm very glad by my ascending to Gasherbrum, although I'd like to try Hidden Peak again. Nothing is more important in this expedition than K2. I feel perfectly acclimatized for this comfort, and a new attempt to Hidden Peak would bring us an useless and unnecessary waste. It's   my point of view. Unfortunately I couldn't convince my friend Pepe Garces to give up of Hidden Peak. So, he waits the weather gets better in the next days to go on to superior camps with the Australian Andrew Lock.

While I recover my energy, I  look after my throat that is getting better step by step. On the other hand, I take the necessary arrangements to climb K2. I've already got in touch with the agency in Islamabad, that will send 36 porters on Jul. 20th, when we intend to leave to K2, base-camp, just a two-day walk from here.

Photo

(legenda da foto)   As I have promised, I'll send a new photo of our climbing  to Gasherbrum each day. Today's photo I took when I was at 6,500m, where camp 2 is placed. On the photo appears Abele and Christian on the top of the called "banana", the first obstacle on our climb route, a  300-metre ram  . In the centre, in the back and below, the Glacier Gasherbrum joins the Glacier Duca de Abruzzi, where appears a narrow black spot, it's where  our base-camp is placed. The other big round mountain in the centre is "Golden Throne".

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ

Update 7/14/99:

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ VIA SATELLITE BY IRIDIUM

Gasherbrum Base, 5,220m, 53rd day of the expedition

If you have been following K2 on-line since the beginning, I remind you that we were the first expedition that arrived in base-camp. So, we prefer to put our tents as high as possible, avoiding being located in the midway of other expeditions. And if you think that all this concern is too much you are wrong, because there are 11 expeditions around here, an average of 120 alpinists and almost 200 people, counting the cooks and porters, that almost all expeditions take. That's why, we are at 5,200m and below there are other tents located around: Spaniards from Catalonia, Frenchmen, Englishman, Koreans, Spaniards from Valencia, Americans, more Koreans, etc. on a narrow moraine that is squeezed between the Glacier Gasherbrum and goes down by the Glacier Duca de Abruzzi.

For our surprise, there are a great number of military Pakistanis troops all around Karakorum, and the brave Pakistanis soldiers have their camps on the Glacier during all year long. About 500 meters from our tents there are an army base, where it's forbidden to get close or take pictures, and take a look,  we are talking about something around 5,350 m of altitude. But, it's not all, going the glacier Duca de Abruzzi up, you get the "control line", the called undefined frontier between Pakistan and India. It's up there at  6 thousand meters of altitude that's placed the last military base of Pakistan. Here from the base we can see some organized tents on the snow. When the weather is good, as it was today,   heavy helicopters bring  groceries for the soldiers, in big hanging nets. As the air is rarefied, it can't land, so it releases the groceries at a minimum altitude that it can get. Today I counted seven of them flying over our camping. But the worst of all, is to hear shootings at night, that go and come I don't know where they are from, but they make a big noise.

Photo

Well, let's return to our climbing to Gasherbrum, analyzing other photo. Don't forget to see yesterday's photo, to understand  it better. Today's photo was taken from a place around 7,600 m of altitude, so you can see the "banana"  from the height (the tower  over below ),  where there are some tents, is camp 2 at 6,500m, where we didn't stay at. Further  there is a big snow ramp that is interrupted by a  80 m serac (cracks and ice blocks).

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ

Update 7/15/99:

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ VIA SATELLITE BY IRIDIUM

Gasherbrum Base, 5,220m , 54th day of the expedition

A very hectic day here at base, due to a nice forecast, that says that there will be good weather until Sunday. Therefore, many people went up to superior camps to do the final attack to the summit in the next days. In our expedition, Pepe Garces and Andrew Lock went as far as camp 2 ( Hidden Peak), in order to try again.

I am , as you know, very calm, having some rest for K2. I had a consult with the Spaniard Xavier Botella, one of the greatest specialists in Medicine of altitudes in the world. I had the great pleasure to meet him in 1991 on Everest, and he has told me that I have a "sub clinic pulmonary oedema". What disturbs me a lot is coughing, probably due to a little liquid accumulation in one of the alveolus in one of my lungs, such coughing is called the " Everest coughing" or "mountain coughing " by Dr. Xavier. But it's not necessary to worry, because it's a sub clinic case and Dr. Xavier has guaranteed it's not very dangerous, it's just need some care and don't let it develop. So, take it easy, no hurry or panic, because each day resting I feel better.

The lively Spaniards led by Oscar Cadiach went away yesterday and also the Englishmen led by David Hamilton. Both of them very glad, because the success rate was high on Gasherbrum. Those, who stayed here, have been frightened by two avalanches, one yesterday and other today, that came down from Golden Throne (a mountain located on the other side of the glacier, where is the base-camp, the Abruzzi). An enormous ice mass has loosened and came down destroying everything ahead, forming an enormous smoke cloud that involved all base-camp. Everybody ran into their tents, holding its as firmly as possible the frame, while it was possible to feel the air moving outside and the noise of the ice crystal on the nylon. The heart, of course beating a lot, but not so serious, just some empty tents were taken by the air movement.

And the photo today is our camp 3 of Gasherbrum, at 7,000 m, from where we did our last attack to the summit. A nice landscape for one of the principal mountains in Karakorum, as Trango Towers, Masherbrum, and Chogolisa. On the photo Golden Throne appears on the left and Chogolisa on the right. On the photo appears Golden Throne on the left and Chogolisa (geometric) on the right.

Photo

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ

Update 7/16/99:

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ VIA SATELLITE BY IRIDIUM

Gasherbrum Base, 5,220m,55th day of the expedition

Fortunately, it's a very nice weather today, many people went up and must try to attack the summit this evening. Pepe Garces and Andrew Lock are at 7,100m, in our camp 3 at Hidden Peak, and must leave today at 10:00 pm trying to get the summit. I'm going to be here at base, following them in each step by radio, cheering for them to succeed. There are many alpinists in Gasherbrum, from several expeditions, that must take advantage of the good weather to get the summit of this great mountain.

I expect anxiously the porters' arrival, foreseen to next 19th, to go to K2 definitely. I wish to face the "mountains of the mountains" again. For a while, we don't have news from K2, the Koreans and Japanese have barely got camp 3, around 7,400m and the Italians have just started helping them, because they arrived later. It means that the situation is not easy there.

A great quantity of snow is disturbing the works. K2 is really a mountain with no comparison, and although it is around 15 km from Gasherbrum in direct line, the climbing conditions can be completely different. 

I leave you a photo of our last 300 m on Gasherbrum, that has taken more than 3 hours to overcome. Let's take as a reference the big rock tower on the superior part, almost in the centre of the photo. Over this rock tower, there is a small ice that raises towards the sky , the summit is just on the left side of this ice point. In fact it's a big "cornisa"). And just on the right side of that tower, it's possible to see two black spots, they are the two Koreans who spent the night at camp 4 and arrived at the summit ahead of us, one of them calls Sang Bae Lee stayed more than two hours at the summit, waiting for good weather conditions to fly on paraglider, but the wind didn't permit.

Photo

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ

Update 7/17/99:

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ VIA SATELLITE BY IRIDIUM

Gasherbrum    Base,  5,220m, 56th day of the expedition

We are anxious to get news from those who are trying to get the  summit of  Gasherbrum and Hidden Peak . I hope to update the news about it today here on K2 on-line.

I take advantage to leave another photo of Gasherbrum. The photo shows the view that we have from the summit towards China. Unfortunately, when we reached the peak it was winding a lot, we couldn't stand up, and this wind started bringing a lot of clouds. So, the landscape was covered and uncovered by  clouds all the time. The mountain I wanted most to see was K2, but its pyramid rarely appeared very far, amidst many clouds. Looking at the photo today, K2 should appear in  the back, just a little  right of the rock tower.

Latest News:  Pepe Garces and Andrew Lock  reached the summit of 8,068m of Altitude at  Hidden Peak, the 11th highest mountain in the world,  today at 3:45 pm. They left camp 3, at 7,100 m, at 2:00 am, because before the wind was blowing too strongly, and they found a lot of snow on the path. They are the second ones to reach the summit this year, Abele Blanc and Christian Kuntner were the first ones (they got the summit on Jul. 3).

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ

Update 7/18/99:

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ VIA SATELLITE BY IRIDIUM

Gasherbrum      Base, 5,220m, 57th day of the expedition

Unfortunately few people have succeeded to reach the summits of Gasherbrums this weekend. The expectancy was great, because the weather was good in fact, but there was  a lot of snow on the path and the wind blew strongly, principally this Sunday. So, the Spaniard Pepe Garces and the Australian Andrew Lock have succeeded yesterday at  Hidden Peak. And also, three Koreans led by Jong Seung Lee, reached the summit of Gasherbrum yesterday.

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ

Other K2 News:

Hans Kammerlander attempts the Summit of K2:

Hans Kammerlander best known in America for his speed ascent of Everest (standard North Col, to the standard North Col Ridge Route: 5/24/96, 16 hours 45 minutes from base camp), has attempted the summit of K2. The unconfirmed reports Everest News has received, said that Hans and Konrad Auer attempted the summit of K2 as a two man team. Everest News has received UNCONFIRMED information that Hans and Konrad turned around a few hundred meters from the summit due to bad weather conditions and huge amount of snow. The fresh snow was shoulder height and avalanches were occurring during their ascent. It is reported that Hans and Konrad are disappointed and they will not make any further attempts to summit K2 this year. We would hope they would stay and attempt with Waldemar, however, that seems unlikely as Hans usually does things without much support, "the hard way".

Hans Kammerlander is a "climber in another league". Clearly, one of the best H.A. climbers climbing in the world today. Hans, never does it the easy way, from his speed ascent of Everest, to the South West Wall of Cho Oyu (as his first 8000 meter peak), north west route on Makalu, to his many ski descents among his many difficult climbs to date. Hans it is believed only has K2 and Manaslu left to finish to obtain his goal of all 14 8000 Meter Peaks.  Assuming he finishes the 8000 meter peaks, he will place himself in the elite class of climbers, not only for the summits 14 summits, but because of the way he did them. Hans has a chance to be compared to Messner himself.

Last year, Hans plans were to attempted the summits of Kanchenjunga, Manaslu and K2. He was going to try Kanchenjunga with camps, then he was going to try to summit Manaslu without setting any camps -- no base camp or fixed camps along the way. After that, an attempt at K2 alone.  He made it to the summit of Kanchenjunga on the second attempt.  As reported on Everest News, he then realized after getting back to base camp that he had frostbite on his right foot. He went to the hospital in Kathmandu and then was shipped directly back to Innsbruck, Austria. He then called off the rest of expeditions for last year. This goes to show us all, that under the right conditions, these 8000 meter peaks can humble even the greatest climbers in the world.

  • There has been one death of a Romanian climber so far on K2 this year. No summit, yet to our knowledge.

Update 7/19/99:

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ VIA SATELLITE BY IRIDIUM

K2- Base of Gasherbrum - 5220 m/ Concσrdia 4.720m - 58th day of the  expedition

The porters surprised us yesterday, arriving a day before combined at Gasherbrum's Base. So, today we started our camp-base moving We are going to K2 at last. A short walk, only two days long, that will take us to our great challenge of the Project K2.

Pepe Garces and Andrew Lock arrived yesterday very late and tired. So, at the base, they preferred to rest one more day, before moving again. Andrew goes back home, because he has already climbed K2 (the same thing Christian Kuntner did a couple  of days before). Then to K2 rest just Abele Blanc, Pepe and I.

Today we left the Gasherbrum's base and many friends   we met last month. It was extremely gratifying to leave together with Koreans, Spaniards, Englishmen, Americans, Frenchmen, Austrians and Swiss. Fatally in K2 new friendships and new emotions will wait for us. May God permit a happy end!

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ

  • Hans Kammerlander Update: Hans' people (see below) confirm that Hans turned around and did not make the summit of K2.

We have read your letter and what you heard about Hans and Konrad is true. There is no chance to climb to the top of the K2.

Yours, Alpinschule Sόdtirol, Pircher Tanja

Update 7/20/99:

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ VIA SATELLITE BY IRIDIUM

K2- July 20th- Concσrdia 4,720m/ K2 Base-camp, 5,100m   -  59th day of  the expedition

Dear friends,

I'd like to start this message very enthusiastically. We arrived at base-camp of the mountain which does make sense to all project,  and gives the name to this page "K2 on-line" at Internet. But I sorry to say to you that I'm here, for the second time,  in front of K2, the mountain I've most wanted to climb in all my life, and my feeling blends between distress and a big disappointment.

The news from K2, my friends, are worse than  I could imagine. And I was walking full of will to get base-camp today, to talk with the alpinists, to see how the works are. The weather that we faced was the worst, much fog and rain, but my enthusiasm renewed recognizing the place where I had felt big emotions last year and more than two months of my life. After, we had  the so expected meeting with other expeditions that  are already trying or, have tried to climb K2 this year. And that atmosphere that had been grey, started to be black. Bad news, followed by bad news. We met everybody disappointed with bad weather and a lot of snow over seven thousand meters. Furthermore, in Abruzzos Ram, a week ago, a little below camp-1 (6,050m), a stone hit the Romanian's back Mihai Cioroiano, who died. This death has touched everybody and it has made alpinists many give up.

Here, among us, is Hans Kammerlander, a famous Italian alpinist who has already climbed twelve mountains of the fourteen mountains higher than eight thousand meters of altitude in the world (to complete the 14 ones its missing Manaslu and K2). Kammerlander arrived around 8,200 meters a couple of days ago and said it is impossible to go on, because the snow reached the waist or more. Tomorrow he and his team  will start going back home. And when a Hans Kammerlander speaks that it is impossible to climb K2 this year, many people believe, and other Italian expedition that is here  will take a ride and starts going back tomorrow.

Yesterday when Abele and I arrived in Concσrdia, it was funny to know that the famous German Peter Gegelnos, after climbing Nanga Parbat this year (also a very difficult mountain over 8 thousand) came to K2, but a day after decided to go away, because he understood that the conditions were not favorable. And my big surprise today, I'd  say disappointment, when Abele Blanc turned to me and simply said that he's going back tomorrow. It's almost unbelievable, but it's serious!

Someone must be asking: "And who will want to climb K2 this year? ". Well, one thing is to want, and other thing is to know if it is possible. But, let's answer this question first. There is still a Korean expedition, six members, who are trying to climb the route called Tomo Cesen, and have already arrived near 7 thousand.

Besides them , we have only two other alpinists, a Turkish called Ugur Uluocak, and a Canadian called Jay Sieger. And taking into consideration that Spaniard Pepe Garces must arrive within the next days, because he stayed at the base-camp resting after climbing Hidden Peak. He and I add more two.

Who said that alpinist's life is easy??? Tough my friends, very tough! 'I've I decided to stay here, for a  while. I hope  the weather gets better, take advantage to think a little, and take a decision within the next days.

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ

K2 - Base-camp, 5,100m, Jul. 21st- 60th day of the expedition

The weather has kept very bad today, snow all day long and a dense fog over the camp. Early in the morning, at 6:00 am, it was possible to hear the porters murmuring that  came to take those who have decided to go away, almost everybody. And  they began leaving, one by one, with a sad face sprinkled by snow, mountain down. Inside each one, surely, there must have a great relief because they were going back safe. The Italian Hans Kammerlander passed in front of my tent with some   Austrian friends, and the Swiss Aldo Verzaroli, the Italians Oskar Piazza, Angelo Giovanetti, Manuel Lugli and other alpinists, that I've barely had the opportunity to meet. Yeah, without forgetting my friend Abele Blanc, who took his backpack and disappear amidst the mist, as scaping from a giant that was frightening him. And I was alone at base-camp, waiting all day long for my friend Pepe Garces, and hasn't appeared yet (certainly he's still very tired of  climbing Hidden Peak, and as the weather is horrible, it makes no sense to get here so quickly)

The atmosphere here is silence, an immense silence, broken just by some snowflakes, where each one of us who have decided to be here, must ask "What to do?" - at least, I confess everybody who follow K2 on-line, that's the question that follows us all the time. But, as I said yesterday, let's wait for good weather, the sun heat our ideas  and then take a decision at the right time. 

I leave you a photo here, which was taken at 1:00 pm, so that you can feel what the weather is doing here, cold, wind, snow.

Photo

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ

K2 Base 5,100m July 22nd, 61st day of the expedition

Let's see if you guess the weather here at K2? If you say wind, snow, cold, you are right! The weather is terrible! As bad as yesterday. And confidentially, the enthusiasm here keeps horrible.

But what worries really, is the snow that doesn't stop falling. There is already a lot of snow over 7 thousand meters, and this snow must go away. For that, the weather needs to get better, it's necessary a lot of sun and wind. The sun to compact the snow and wind to send the snow excess far from the crests (our natural path towards the heights ). Who went away, believes that it will not happen this season, i.e., that the big amount of snow on the superior part of the mountain is an insurmountable barrier this year. It was said by Hans Kammerlander, and  everybody believe.  He showed a film about his attempt, here at base, where he appeared at 8.300 meters, at the end  of "Bottle neck" with snow over this waist, an image to frighten any mortal. According to him, it will take at least "ten" days for the snow to get the ideal conditions. It was said before these horrible days that we had, when more snow has been  falling  here. And "ten" days of good weather at K2, is almost impossible (last year we had only "four" successive days of good weather in two months).

That's why, my friends, I don't leave to say my prayers, burn my incenses, sing  my mantras. My faith in God, is above all those difficulties that have  tried to touch me. I'm not sure if everything will get better and I will climb K2, but I know that God will protect my way, or going to the summit of this big mountain or going back to my beloved Brazil.

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ

K2 - Base K2, 5,100m Jul. 23rd 62nd day of the expedition

The weather is better today than yesterday, but only a little bit. Once more I resisted to awake, hearing the snow flakes falling continuously all morning long, what had happened all night long. But at sunrise shy blue windows appeared on the sky, and a little before getting dark, K2 disclosed in a whole, perfectly beautiful, but full of snow.

Today some of the reliable weather forecast arrived from Spain, sponsored by Barrabes Shop. Such forecast has surprised us a lot, because they are very efficient, and quite sharp. And for the next 5 days we have: Strong monsoon in India, what involves strong storms in the centre of Pakistan. Many clouds above all Karakorum with many precipitation. Strong winds from South to Southeast. On the weekend the rain and snow may diminish but without disappearing completely. The improvement is partial, the clouds will go on. Stable temperatures, with isotherm of 0 degrees at 4,700m. And our efficient meteorologist Daniel Ramirez sends us each days' profile, and until the 27th we'll have snow daily.

Thus, we go on waiting, my friends, I confess a little worried. But, let's wait some more days to see what will happen. In fact, I'd bet everything to know the forecast for 28th on, but as I don't have a crystal ball, I beg God Patience.

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ

K2 - Base K2, 5,100m Jul. 24th 63rd day of expedition

We had a meeting with the Koreans today, in order to join our forces. Maybe that's the only way to climb K2 this year. Six Koreans alpinists, Pepe Garces (that arrived at base yesterday, very tired), I and the American Jay Sieger and the Turkish Ugur Uluoack were there too. And that's all!!! i.e., there are just 10 alpinists rest having the hope to climb K2 this year. I confess you that we are not a very expressive number, and moreover if we take into consideration someone's experience.

The Koreans are climbing a route called "Tomo Cesen", shorter and quicker, and it's not more difficult than "Abruzzos", the same route that we intended to do. But to do "Abruzzos", Pepe and I counted on Abele . And counting on other expedition members' help, who unfortunately have gone away. It would be necessary to fix ropes (we fixed 2,500 m last year), besides spending much energy to open the path. I.e., a tough work, for a good team. And this team for Abruzzos, unfortunately there isn't anymore. So, the solution is to work with the Koreans.

The Koreans have been here since Jun 7th. They have fixed more than 3,000 meters of ropes at "Tomo Cesen", setting camp 1 at 6,300m and camp 2 at 7,100m. Well, if we follow that route we'll be benefited by all the work they've already done. On the other side hand, the idea is to do an attack together, and so we can help them to open path over 7,500m, from where there is a great amount of snow on . But to use the ropes already fixed, the Koreans are asking 1,000 dollars each one. Of course I agree in paying some money but not a thousand dollars. Well, at that point the meeting was over, without drawing a conclusion. But, I'm sure that we'll make a deal in the next days.

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ

 

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ VIA SATELLITE BY IRIDIUM

K2    Base - K2, 5,100 m- Jul. 25th, 64th day of the expedition

Nothing is better than a good Sunday for a rest. And the weather has helped with a little sun. Thus, I took advantage to take a good bath and wash some dirty clothes.

Pepe and I are calm, without false expectancies, but   avoiding  that some unfavorable conditions touch us. And, it's very difficult to keep the balance, but we get it." Take it easy" is all we need, this patience, day by day re-evaluating our situation, and trying to make our enthusiasm increase.

Photo

(legenda da foto)  The Brazilian Waldemar Niclevicz and the Spaniard Pepe Garces, at k2's base-camp, at 5,100 m.

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ

 

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ VIA SATELLITE BY IRIDIUM

K2   -    Base  Jul. 26th, 65th day of the expedition

We got closer to the Koreans'  expedition last weekend, I'd say,  it was a reciprocal approximation , because we need each other to conclude the climb of K2. And our talking was very productive, we don't need to pay "a   thousand dollars anymore" to use the fixed ropes that they had already fixed, the turnpike has diminished to "500 dollars". Pepe and I have no definitive answer yet, if we go through Tomo Cesen (the Koreans' route) or by Abruzzos (our initial route).

The weather will really decide our staying in K2. If   it doesn't  stop snowing in the next days, I believe that it 's not   worth to be here. So, let's cheer   the full moon brings a blue sky,   strong sun and   much cold. They're the necessary conditions so that the snow becomes a firm layer, turning our climbing  safe and giving us a chance for success.

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ VIA SATELLITE BY IRIDIUM

Hopes appeared on the sky of K2, today. We were granted by a beautiful sunrise and the sun shone all day long  and just lost its purity at sunset, when some bad meaning clouds, turned to appear. The wind, hasn't stopped yet, and blew violently on the heights, forming a typical clouds tail on the high summits.

Pepe and I decided to stretch our legs. We went to the base of both routes that interest us, Abruzzos and Tomo Cesen in order to have an idea about the conditions they are. And our impressions weren't good. First we were almost caught by a big avalanche,  just at Tomo Cesen's  base, that is a sharp  ram that rises about one hour walking from base-camp. On the left side of that ram, where  the biggest avalanche corridor is placed, about 7 thousand meters of altitude, there is an enormous serac (an icy wall about to fall) in front.

Well, the first 300 meters climbing  Tomo Cesen, are completely exposed to avalanches of that big serac, it means about one hour and half climbing there is  risk of  life. And Pepe Garces, who has already climbed Tomo Cesen in 1995 up to 8300 meters, didn't like the enormous quantity of snow over 7 thousand meters.

After the avalanche frightening, we went on more one hour and half by Glacial Godwin Austen, up to 5250 meters, of the called advanced base-camp where the Abruzzos ram starts. The impression was very different, but also negative, it's incredible how Abruzzos, in its inferior part, is practically without snow, having a  fragile rock ramp . And  in the few  minutes that  we stayed    there, we saw a big sliding and various stones were projected down as   missiles. It wasn't difficult  to imagine how  the Romanian lost his   life weeks ago.

Therefore,  we got a logical conclusion: the most suitable route for our climb is Tomo Cesen, as the Koreans and their fixed ropes are already there, but, it's necessary to wait the snow excess falls mountain down. Let's cheer the good weather goes on some days more. The most important is that it stops snowing.

Photo

(legenda da foto)  Waldemar Niclevicz at  K2's base-camp, today morning.

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ

 

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ VIA SATELLITE BY IRIDIUM

K2 -  Base, 5,100m       Jul. 28th -  67th day of the expedition

At last the day that I most expected all long the month has arrived, we have full moon today, and it is also the day to receive the weather forecast. The weather seems to help us.

The forecast for the next 5 days: a big monsoon in India, but no in Pakistan. Almost no changes all week long, with reduction in last week's rains and snow. The weather tendency is  to keep stable or variable, but not unstable. A long fog continues in the centre east of Pakistan. A new instability  appears in the west of China, that will have no interference in Karakorum.  South and South-west moderate winds and temperatures stable going up, step by step. Isotherm of 0 degrees at 4,900 meters. Minimum of 18 degrees on the peaks and + 2 degrees at 4,800 meters. The temperature goes up from 3 for 4 degrees on 30th, Friday, when the clouds may come back.

Well, the forecast isn't bad. But it is good to remind you   that we need to wait until the enormous quantity of snow gets harder, that is over 8 thousand meters.  The only  negative  point is that  there will be a hot week . On the contrary we need cold, much cold, because with minimum of 18 negative on the peaks, the snow neither melt  nor freeze.

Other point important, there is no sense  Pepe and I climb alone, now it is necessary to climb all together so that we have more chances to open path on the snow, towards the peak. And the Koreans have decide to climb only from Aug. 6th on. Patience, that's what I beg God. But a thing we've already decided, if the weather gets worse next week, we'll desist of our climbing.

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ

 

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ VIA SATELLITE BY IRIDIUM

K2 - 29th July -    K2 Base-camp, 5,100 meters  - 68th day of the expedition

It is amazing the quantity of e-mails that I have been receiving  these days, many of them even asking us to giving up climbing. I am very happy and thank everybody for sending those e-mails, I'm trying to answer all of them. And you can be sure that giving  up climbing at this moment isn't a so bad idea. It's an enormous relief because, we are going mad with the uncertainty principally regarding the weather, that keeps undecided. What  worries  us too, and much, it the expectations  for a propitious moment, when we can accomplish our final attack, hoping to reach the summit. Now, unfortunately, there is no sense to set camp 1 or 2. Our idea is to attack in a alpine style, setting up and untying a small tent every days, always gaining altitudes, that's why the weather can't be so it must be terrific!

This consciousness we need and we expect to keep having it. Much calm, much patience, because we know exactly what to do.  Here we don't make believe games, our life is and will always be the most important thing.

Don't miss next Sunday, The Project K2 at the program "Fantαstico" in the Brazilian Network TV, Rede Glob - unpublished images of the climbing to Gasherbrum and the attempt to Hidden Peak.

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ

K2-  Base K2,  5,100m  Jul 30th,  69th day of the expedition

A beautiful shooting team from National Geographic is here at base-camp, what makes us feel truly a  movie character everyday. They've already interviewed each one of us at least ten times, and each one of the smart interviews leads us to think about the expedition aim, about this immense desire to overcome a real dangerous challenge, but fascinating.

And then, I draw a conclusion the bigger the wish, the nearer we get close of the reality of this dream. And it isn't craziness! Everybody has dreams, but really few ones search the   this dream accomplishment. This is, for me, escape from reality. Because these dreams will never come true. What we do here is exactly the inverse, we face  the reality of this dream, we give direction to our existence, we give direction to these wishes that tie us to life itself, and no to hypothetical delusions. Here we live intensively each second, here our life depends on the consciousness of our acts, here the life is the pure reality, where each of us is here because we feel the blood vibrates powerfully, because a tear heats our face, because our smile brings always hopes. Here we don't wear masks and we aren't actors, here we are just the character of our own existence. And the mountain isn't our stage simply and nor a false scenery where we play our adventure. The mountains raises  our feelings, reveals the true human being in each one of us, with its magnificence reduces us to nothing.

And inside this insignificance we understand the human being's value,  the importance of a friend, and  our weakness in front of nature. In fact, we don't step forward if  that big mountain doesn't permit. In fact we don't go anywhere if we don't believe in ourselves, no dream will come true if we don't search its accomplishment.

Today, I was doing some photos for my sponsor and the National Geographic team shot everything and so they asked me what I was doing "Photos for those who  trust in the  Project K2, it is the minimum  I can do for those whom deposited so much confidence on me".

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ

K2,  Base - K2,   5,100m   Jul. 31st   70th day of the expedition

Brazil, Brazil,  I miss you a lot!!!

It has been 70 days since I left home, far from my country, my family and the person I most love. But the distance makes feel well, makes me want more what I have  and I can be sure of my feelings and my return day will be very nice.

These mountains fascinate me, and I discover that I'm not else than a pilgrim here, full of faith!

WALDEMAR NICLEVICZ

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