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How did it go on Broad Peak July 16-18 2003

On July 14, 03 Broad Peak opened up. After two years, people reached the summit of this mountain again. There were 9 of them who made it to the top. Korean Hun with his army of Sherpas, Spanish, French, Italian as well as American. At that time we were resting in BC, waiting for our turn.

We left our BC at 5am on July 16, 03 knowing there is strong team of Kazachs ahead of us as well as people from Carlos (granpa from Madrid) group and mixed bag of climbers from all over (international expedition). Thanks to our mistake from previous attempt when we lost the tent with all belongings, we had to drag the heavy bags up the hill again. By noon, we reached Camp 2 and set up our tent a bit higher on little ledge.

On July 17, 03 We left late since the morning was windy with dusty snow. We met half of Kazach team returning from the summit, learned about the night rescue performed by Viesturs and Urubko, met Korean Hun retiring to his oxygen glory (he left only 2 empty oxygen bottles by Camp 4 this time !!!) and met with other people going up or down. It was busy day since may people expected good weather. This time, we made the Camp 3 a bit higher at the spot which is better protected from the wind.

On July 18, shortly after midnight, we had an interesting visit in out tent. Spanish girl showed up and cooked breakfast right by me (I did not speak with woman since I came to Pakistan almost two months ago). Cooking before summit attempt is extremely unpleasant and she sure made me company. She spent the night in the tent of Denis Urubko who badly needed some sleep after the previous night rescue. Catalena (her name) asked Americans first to let her cook in their tent - they refused and so she saw the light on in our tent. So she came. Unfortunately, on her summit attempt, she turned around after couple hours of climbing, I am sure that is because she did not have any coffein in her early morning capuccino (she badly complained about that:).

We left at 1:30am, full moon was gone and we needed light time to time. By 6am, we reached spot of Camp 4 and found another half of Kazachs. By this time, Denis Urubko passed everyone ( complaining of no sleep and being tired). About two thirds of the people who started from Camp 3, turned around. Unfortunately, Madrid grandpa Carlos turned around as well. He did not take along his down pants and it was a bit cold here at 7500m. I was very sorry to see this. From Camp 3, he sent down his porter and of course there is not even an option he would ever touch oxygen bottle. I know many old farts in his age who are just doing nothing and waiting for deatch to come, guy of his type has a good chance he will one day die with his boots on - he has my full respect !

By 7am, there are only six of us on the slope leading to the col between two summits of Broad Peak. Up ahead, there is Denis Urubko. This wild horse from Kazach prairies seems to have unlimited amount of energy. He is running and even we are not slow, we have no chance to keep up with him. Climbing in Himalaya in these days is like going to the same bar. One sees the same old faces all the time. Denis and me met 20 meters from the summit of Kangchenjunga last year in May. If everything goes well, we will climb K2 together in couple of weeks...and many more mountains in the future.

Spanish fellow Chorche, Radek, me Miska and another Spanish climber are slowly eating step by step. Up on the col, temperature is going up thanks to the sun. All of us are leaving the packs on the ridge and each of us by his own pace is climbing the long and jagged ridge towards the summit. I think everyone underestimates the lengths and difficulty of this final leg on Broad Peak. The main summit of Broad Peak is somewhere near the cease fire line with India - at least it looks like that. It is long, very long and next time I would not start the summit attempt from Camp 3. But every struggle is over once and so we are meeting at the summit of Broad Peak shortly before noon - all three of us. It is windy and cold and we are staying little more than half an hour. Since Josef Rakoncaj climbed Broad Peak in 1986, this mountain was bringing to Czech climbers just bad luck. Two dead and couple unsuccessful attempts. We broke the circle.

For Petr Masek, this is his first 8000m peak. For Radek and me, this is first time we are together at the summit even this is our third expedition together. And for me, after four expeditions, this is first time when everyone from the group made it to the top and we are all meeting up there. A very special moment !!!

For two hours we retracked our steps back to the col and after another two hours or so, we all met again in Camp 3. We spent another night over there and reached the safety of Bace Camp on July 19, 03 right before dinner. We were greeted by our staff as well as the staff of other teams. Locals seems to be very happy when climbers return happy and safely from the mountains.

We are in Bace Camp. Our technical equipment is falling apart, it is time to climb the other mountain and go home. Martin

Written on notebook ASUS - ATComputers


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