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K2/Chogori Winter 2003

Makeshift camp II is ready

Mirror-like slope

After twelve hours of climbing, Denis Urubko, Wasilij Piwcow and Ilias Tukwatullin have established the makeshift camp II at 6600 m.

They could not find a place for setting up the tent until dusk. They have cut a small platform in the steep ice under the ridge of K2’s Northern Pillar and established a bivouac there.

Hard times await the alpinists due to a weather change. It is a very frosty, windy, moonlit night. The two Kazakhs and the Uzbek have mattresses, one sleeping bag and a gas cartridge, which will last for about three hours of cooking, at their disposal. In order to reach that point, they have established fixed ropes. The fourth mountaineer, Gia Tortladze from Georgia, who was supposed to carry the ropes and the equipment necessary to set up the camp, has withdrawn due to a minor knee injury and has descended to the base.

From the base, we can see through the telescopes the remains of a tent, left by a former expedition. Some expeditions, who had attacked the Northern Pillar in the past, would build camp II there. The winter has caused utter changes in the terrain shape, however. Instead of a relatively gentle snowfield, the alpinists have found a steep, icy slope. At sunset, it looked like a mirror, reflecting the mountaineers’ dark silhouettes.

On Tuesday morning, Piotr Morawski and Marcin Kaczkan are leaving camp I with the necessary equipment and ropes.

Monika Rogozińska from the base under K2.

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