I’m back down after a three-night all-inclusive vacation to about 7200m (~23,600 ft) on K2. It’s pretty hard! But I handled it quite well and am busy eating fried eggs and paratha, guzzling Coke and Mountain Dew, and slathering aloe vera on my face here in base camp. Maybe tomorrow will be my laundry day. Now we wait for the next stretch of good weather to go back up into the ethereal world of complete detatchment that comes with extreme altitude. Here are some photos from the acclimatization trip:

Bluebird sky coming back down to camp one

Big avalanches routinely rip down the Chinese side of Broad Peak

Chiiring Pemba and John chopping our tent platform in camp two. Arriving an hour before anyone else, I spent about three hours shoveling snow and chopping ice for tents.

Nima Lama topping out on House’s Chimney

Camps on K2 are basically tents on top of the shredded carcasses of tents and trash from decades of prior attempts. Oh and poop! Even with modern expeditions following stricter environmental protocols, disgusting evidence from a past era of egregious littering will linger for many years on the world’s big mountains.

Masherbrum dominates the Karakoram skyline to the south

Base camp disappears into the moraine from camp two

The Black Pyramid

Nima Lama and Tashi climb the Black Pyramid. I didn’t find it much more challenging than the rest of the route, which is moderately steep mixed climbing with terrible snow!

Climbing above camp three, here Mingma (out of sight) fixes while Tashi and Nima Lama belay and carry immense amounts of Korean polyurethane static line

Upon returning alone to camp three, I was a bit tired and ready to hydrate. I made some ramen and tea for the Sherpas and tried to rest. In the morning, I puked up my coffee, wolfed down some porridge and descended to base camp in 4.5 hours.

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