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International Peace & Friendship expedition to Broad Peak 2003

 Current Pakistan Time

Dispatch Preparing for the first summit bids

On an expedition by basque standards you are more likely to gain weight than to lose weight, they have been filling us up with bacon strips and cheddar cheese, washed down with capuccinos and latte. Our Pakistani cook has been watching on bemused, and a little taken aback by our lack of enthusiasm for the nightly chapatti and soup supper.

The big news today was the arrival of a large Korean expedition, including a Korean climber whom will complete the grand slam of all 14 8000m peaks with a successful ascent of Broad Peak.  They have enough sherpas and rope, and have made the agreement to, fix the upper half of the mountain above camp 2. We have been successful in stretching several hundred metres of line through the steepest sections up to camp 2, and are now comfortable with the route we have laid through. It will be a welcome relief to hand over the onerous task.  Mike and I spent yesterday digging out and re-aligning an extra 200 metres of rope up to the buttress below C2, gaining a considerable amount of appreciation for the efforts of Taqui Mohammed, our Pakistani high altitude porter (HAP).

We finished this task after 7pm, with numb hands and tired legs. For the first time in 4 days we are all sitting together back at basecamp, with the welcome return of Jon McBirinie and Walt Koller from camp 1. In the past few days all members have broached 6300m, having spent at least 2 nights at Camp 1 or 2. We have also managed to get 200m of line in above camp2, covering an area of steep and slippery ice, which was causing us some concern, and are now happy and satisfied our work, at least for this area right above c2, has been done.

We are all feeling well, but tired from the recent efforts, but nowhere near lethargic (yet), and are acclimatized to 6300m, and getting ready to sleep higher on our next push.

Patxi, Julen, and Alex, will make the first push up tomorrow as they head for camp 2 fully acclimatized and set for a major effort. On the 3rd they will head up to c3 and place a campsite at just over 7000m and on the 4th of July (take note Americanís) they are going to make a summit bid. They are hoping that by the 6th they will be back in basecamp celebrating, or resting and preparing for another summit bid. If they pull this off, it will be quite an effort. Swift, lightweight, and with a minimum of fuss. It is remarkable in that we only landed in Islamabad just over 3 weeks ago.

We are going a little slower, which is more a reflection of our group experience, and the fact this is an organized commercial climb, as well as our need to be assured of complete acclimatization.

The second wave will include Australian Malte Hagge, Belgium Fred Muylaert, and Taqui, with Mike Hale, Walter Koller and John McBirnie  and myself on the following day. Not-withstanding storms, bacterial infections, unexpected evacuations or the like, we hope to be up and down by the 8th.

If you donít hear anything from us for the next 4 days, it means its crunch time and we are going for it, although we will try to get our BC manager to send an update within 56 hours if BC is devoid of climbers. We are using handheld radios which are lightweight and really only effective in relay between camps.

Mike has planned in advance for a celebratory drink, and has ordered for a runner to bring 2 cases of beer up to BC from Skardu, along with some extra food stuffs we are getting low on and that may be needed if we need to dig down on the hill.

One thing is for sure, the last few days have shown the significant, indeed, enormous effort, that is required to climb an 8000m hill. While we seemed to have had it easy in the first few days going up and down, our bodies are now paying for that early effort. It seems if we started out on a full tank of gas, we are now running low and in need of a top up. Our challenge is to keep enough in reserve to get up and down, in the shortest time possible. Despite all the readings, research, and everything else, most of us are a little surprised with the consistency of angle of the slopes up to C3. It is steep, and in places very slippery and broken. A slip in any of many places would lead to dire consequences without a rapidly engaged self arrest.

We are doing nicely as a group and thoroughly enjoying each others company, the one thing that is missing is the warm touch and embrace of our family and friends.

Wish us well, and cast your love, thoughts and support across the oceans and over the great mountains,  here we goÖ.

Stuart Remensnyder

Deputy expedition Manager

Photo copyright Dave Hancock



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