K2: Upward Progress

“Mystery is essential to mountaineering. What is unveiled to the individual when involved with creative mountaineering forms part of a new bond with the mountain experience…it is in forging true bonds rather than the collection of numbers or establishment of records that unveils a bit of mystery…

If there is such a thing as spiritual materialism, it is displayed in the urge to possess the mountains rather than to unravel and accept their mysteries” -Voytek Kurtyka, The Art of Suffering

K2’s summit looms two and a half Grand Canyons above my tent

After a few weeks of travel, a few years of planning, and a few decades of dreaming, I set foot on the world’s second highest mountain. Our first rotation was a relative success…some marginal snow conditions and weather made upward progress more challenging than it would otherwise be, but I spent a headache-free night at camp one and climbed halfway to camp two before descending back to base camp to outrun an approaching storm. Now, armed with an excellent weather forecast, I’m heading back up the mountain tomorrow for what I hope will be my final acclimatization rotation. My primary objective is to sleep in camp three and touch as high as K2’s “Shoulder.” Located at approximately 8000m and above most of the technical climbing on the route, this task is in certain respects one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried. I’m just ready to embrace the mysteries of K2’s higher slopes and to interact with such historic features as House’s Chimney and the Black Pyramid.

I’m feeling great after a few rest days in base camp: my sinus and throat issues have mostly cleared up, my acclimatization is excellent, and I’ve been walking 1-2 hours each day to keep the blood flowing. Follow along on the Where’s Hari tab to track progress….I’m anticipating 3-4 nights on the mountain before returning to this deliciously thick air!

L to R: Farman, Ang Nurbu, Faisal, Ali Reza and Nima. I’ll be climbing with Nima this season.

Kumaran and I at our puja

Kami

Purjung Lama, our Nepali cook

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, one of the most accomplished high altitude climbers of the modern era and our expedition leader

My home for the next month

Mesmerizing melt textures on the upper Godwin Austen Glacier

Chhiring and John exit the icefall below ABC

Nima en route to camp one

Camp one on the Abruzzi. We arrived in a storm and chopped tent platforms so small that we clipped our boots inside the tent so they wouldn’t be lost during the night

Broad Peak

About halfway to camp two in a nasty wind. Soon afterwards, we called it a day and zipped down to base camp.

K2 shrouded in lenticular clouds

One thought on “K2: Upward Progress

  1. Wayne Bader

    Hari,

    As usual, really compelling reading, and beautiful photos! Glad to hear how well your acclimatization is going.

    Hang in there!

    Reply

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