K2

 

K2 Irish Expedition 2015

Standing 8611m  and the second highest yet the most difficult mountain in the world . K2 also known as CHOGORI  which is Balti language means the king of mountains. K2 has variously be described as “awesome”, ” Killer ” and ” The Savage”  mountain because of the massiveness of its size and unsuccessful attempts made on it by various expedition parties. This Summer of 2015 seen Irelands leading Mountaineer Jason Black from Co,Donegal  take on the biggest climb of his life. The mountain has not been attempted by any Irish mountaineer since 2008 when Ger mcDonnell was the first Irish person to reach the Summit of K2. Regrettably Ger McDonnell lost his life along with ten other mountaineers following an avalanche on the descent, in the worst single accident in the history of K2 mountaineering.

“summit success was the objective, however as true mountaineers we all know all to well, once you stand on top of these giants, it only marks the half way mark and success can not be fully realised until safe down”. Fifty of the worlds leading mountaineers were hoping for summit success in 2015 however mother nature had another plan and with extreme weather conditions the mountain allow no summit success for any mountaineer.

 image11
 
 K2 Expedition “Summit & Survive” 2015
 
8611m standing as the second highest yet the most difficult mountain in the world and highest peak in Pakistan. K2 also known as CHOGORI which is Balti language means the king of mountains. K2 has variously be described as “awesome”, ” Killer ” and ” The Savage”  mountain because of the massiveness of its size and unsuccessful attempts made on it by various expedition parties.
 
The mountain has not been attempted by any Irish mountaineer since 2008 when Ger mcDonnell was the first Irish person to reach the Summit of K2, the second-highest mountain on Earth. Regrettably Ger McDonnell lost his life along with ten other mountaineers following an avalanche on the descent, in the worst single accident in the history of K2 mountaineering.
“summit success is the objective, however as true mountaineers we all know all to well, once you stand on top of these giants, it only marks the half way mark and success can not be fully realised until safe down”.
 
K2 known as the mountaineers mountain is the holy grail and the hardest climb in the world. The sporting qualities required to survive K2 is enormous, the physical & mental effects without doubt is the hardest endurance test in the world. For 76 days Jason battled against the sheer ability to stay alive. Jason Blacks commitment to this climb has be seriously intense since 2013 summiting Mt Everest north-face & returning from the Arctic 2014, he has worked tirelessly training twice a day for the last year putting in four hours daily, placing endurance & strength to the fore.
Not common in other endurance sports is the sheer fact that if you generally stop you loose on K2 its very different yet very simple, you stop your dead. Earning its reputation “K2 The Savage”.
 
The second highest mountain in the world—just 237 meters shorter than Mt. Everest—has a reputation for being far more hazardous than Everest, and the statistics don’t lie: Historically, for every 100 climbers who have made it to the summit of Everest, four have died. For every 100 climbers who have summited K2, 29 have died. A scant 306 people have ever stood on the summit of K2, compared to more than 5,600 Everest summiters. The weather is worse on K2. The climbing is more difficult, with two technical sections, House’s Chimney and the Black Pyramid. Once safely past those, climbers must navigatethe narrow Bottleneck couloir, forcing themselves underneath a set of massive seracs.image17
 
 The Facts

K2 is known for extreme weather, avalanches and rock fall. It starts steep and never lets up. 2008 was a deadly year with 11 deaths in a single incident and 13 deaths during the 1986 season. 2012 was the most successful year with 30 summits, 28 on July 31st. There were no summits in the recent years of 2009, 2010 and 2013 primarily due to weather and snow conditions. Until recently, most climbers did not use supplemental oxygen on K2.

Jasons route was the Abruzzi Ridge. There are several technically difficult features requiring skilled climbing. These include Houses’ Chimney, the Black Pyramid and the Bottleneck Couloir. There are no easy routes on K2.

K2 mapThere are multiple camps depending on conditions.

  • Base Camp: 17,500ft/5334m
  • Advanced Base Camp: 18,650ft/5650m
  • Camp 1: 19,965’/6050m
  • Camp 2: 22,110’/6700m
  • Camp 3: 23,760’/7200m
  • Camp 4: 25,080’/7600m
  • Summit: 28,251”/8611m

TRIP ITINERARY:

Day 01  Arrive Islamabad. Transfer to hotel for overnight.

Day 02         Free day at Islamabad

Day 03        Skardu / Chilas

  • Fly to Skardu PK-451 (10:35 – 11:35). (Flight is subject to weather). Upon arrival transfer to Hotel
  • In case of cancellation of flight then drive by coach to Chilas  on Karakoram Highway O/N Lodges

Day 04        Chilas / Skardu – free day  at Skardu

Day 05     Skardu – Briefing at Tourism Department of Gilgit Baltistan. Final preparation at Skardu O/N Hotel

Day 06        Drive by Jeep to Askole: (3000m)

Day 07        Trek to Jhola: (3200m)

Day 08        Trek to Paiyu: (3600m)

Day 09        Rest  Day Paiyu: (3600m)

Day 10        Trek to Urdukas: (4200m)

Day 11        Goro II: (4500m)

Day 12        Concordia (4700m) / K2 Base Camp (5100m)

Day 13-64   52 days for acclimatization and climbing K2.

Day 65        Trek back to Gore II (9-10 hrs) O/N Camp

Day 66        Trek to Khuburtze (8-9 hrs) O/N Camp

Day 67        Trek to Paiyu (5-6 hrs) O/N Camp

Day 69        Trek to Johla (7-8 hrs) O/N Camp

Day 70        Trek to Askole. (7-8 hrs) O/N Camp

Day 71        Drive by jeep to Skardu O/N Camp

Day 72        Farewell meeting (de-briefing) at Tourism Department of Gilgit Baltistan. O/N Hotel

Day 73        Islamabad / Chilas

  • Fly to Islamabad PK-452 (12:30 – 13:30). (Subject to weather). Upon arrival transfer to hotel.
  • In case of flight cancellation drive to Chilas. Overnight at hotel.

Day 75        Leisure day at Islamabad

  • In case of driving, complete road journey from Chilas to Islamabad. O/N Hotel

Day 76       Final Departure.

As for danger, this table summarizes it well:

8000m deaths and summits

The most significant danger on K2 comes from rock fall and avalanches. The huge ice serac looming near the summit is the clearest objective danger as it can release large parts with zero notice falling directly on the most popular route.

The rock fall is ever-present, sending large and small objects directly on top of climbers in the narrow gullies that cannot be avoided.  The best helmets cannot protect climbers from these meteors.

Also K2’s weather is notorious for its unpredictability and sudden development trapping climbers high on steep slopes.  High winds can develop sweeping climbers off the high ridges, heavy snowfall can destroy fixed lines and escape routes plus accelerate the avalanche danger.

Given the steep, icy and avalanche prone terrain, falls are prevalent. Some climbers fall even when attached to fixed rope but most are not clipped in, a mistake or perhaps unavoidable, slipping down steep icy slopes where self arrest is not an option.

As if all of this is not enough to make any sane person avoid K2, there is the fact that climbers are above 20,000 or 25,000 feet, struggling for oxygen, pushing their bodies to the physiological limit climbing steep and dangerous terrain with no relief. Many climbers die simply from exhaustion, for lack of a better term.

According to 8000ers. com, the 81 deaths can be broken down as follows:

Cause of Death  Number
Avalanche 24
Falls 23
Altitude Illness/Exhaustion 18
Disappearance 12
Illness 4
TOTAL  81

K2 Gear list 

Ice Axe: General mountaineering tool (65cm)
Crampons: General mountaineering crampons
Climbing Helmet: Must be able to fit over your ski hat
Ascender: 1 right or left hand ascender (Petzel brand is best)
Alpine Climbing Harness: A mountaineering harness, with adjustable leg loops. Not a rock climbing “sport” harness.
Carabiners: 3 locking and 3 regular
Rappel device: ATC or figure 8
Mountaineering boots: Olympus Mons, Millet, ect.
Hiking shoes: comfortable boots or shoes for the trek to base camp.
Camp boots: comfortable boots for wearing in camp.
Booties: Optional, down is best.
Wool or synthetic socks: 6 pair
Liner socks: 3 pair
Synthetic Short underwear: A non cotton style underwear.
Lightweight Long Underwear: 2-3 pair longsleve shirt and long pants
Heavyweight long underwear: 1 pair
Short Sleeve Synthetic Shirt: 1-2 pair
Lightweight Nylon Pants: 1-2 pair
Soft Shell jacket: To be worn over other layers
Soft Shell Pants: Very breathable and water repellant
Hard Shell Jacket with hood: A waterproof and breathable shell jacket
Hard Shell Pants: Waterproof and breathable shell pants
Insulated Down Jacket with hood: We primarily wear this when climbing below Camp 2.
Insulated synthetic Pants: Worn primarily when climbing below Camp 2.
Down Suit: Feathered Friends, Sherpa, North Face, Mountain Hardwear, etc. We wear this climbing above Camp 2.
Warm Hat: Synthetic or wool hat (ski hat).
Balaclava: to protect your neck and face in high winds.
Baseball Camp or other sun hat: To shade your face / neck from the sun on a hot day.
Bandana or Buff: To protect your neck / face from the sun.
Glacier glasses: Full protection with side covers or wrap around.
Ski goggles: To be worn on summit day in the event of high winds.
Lightweight synthetic liner gloves: For wearing on a hot day.
Soft shell gloves: To wear for moderate cold / wind.
Shell glove with insulated liner: To wear for severe cold / strong wind.
Expedition Mitts: Large enough to fit a liner glove inside.
Expedition Backpack: 65L pack should be large enough.
Trekking Backpack: To carry on the trek to base camp. Simple and light.
Sleeping Bag (for high camps): Rated to at least -40°F. Goose down or synthetic.
Sleeping Bag (for base camp): rated to at least -20°F.
Compression stuff sacks: For reducing volume of the sleeping bag, down parka, etc., in your pack.
Self inflating sleeping pad (1 for base camp and 1 for high camps): Full length is preferred.
Closed cell foam pad: To be used in conjunction with the inflating pad for warmth and comfort when sleeping.
Trekking poles with snow baskets: Adjustable poles
Cup: A plastic 16 oz. minimum cup or mug
Bowl: A plastic bowl for eating dinner or breakfast out of
Spoon: Plastic spoon (lexan)
Headlamp: With 2 extra sets of new batteries
Sunscreen: SPF 50 or better
Lipscreen: SPF 30 or better (2 sticks).
Water bottles: 2 or 3 wide mouth bottles with 1 liter capacity.
Water bottle parkas (2): fully insulated with zip opening.
Thermos: 1 liter
Pee bottle: 1 liter minimum bottle for convenience at night in the tent.
Toiletry bag: Include toilet paper and hand sanitizer and small towel
Hand warmers & toe warmers: 3 sets of each. Or use Hot Tronics for food warmer system.
Knife or multi tool (optional).
Trash compactor bags: to line back pack and stuff sacks as well as for separating gear.
Camera: bring extra batteries and memory cards.
Travel Clothes: For days in Islamabad.
Duffel bags (2) with locks: To transport equipment.
Base Camp Items: Kindle, Ipad, smart phone, etc.
Snack food: Please bring a few days of your favorite climbing snack food such as bars, gels, nuts, beef jerky, etc. A variety of salty and sweet is good.
Small personal first aid kit: Include athletic tape, band aids, Ibuprofin, blister care, personal medications, etc.
Medications and Prescriptions: Bring antibiotics (Azithromycin, etc.), and altitude medicine such as Diamox and dexamethasone.

Why ! Why Not……..

“It is not the critic who counts;
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly;
who errs and comes short again and again;
who knows great enthusiasms,
the great devotions;
who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly
so that his place shall never be with those timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

“No mountain too high No problem too big to conquer in life”

Jason Black

 

Comments: 2

  • Pat Falvey
    01/07/2015 11:07 am

    Best of luck, stay safe and well done on your upcoming attempt. ” Success is about following your dreams, achieving them is the bonus.” You have already succeed and I hope you collect the bonus. I’ll be following you with the pride of the Irish.

    Pat

    Pat Falvey (adventurer)

  • bob
    01/11/2016 7:52 am

    Nice summary.

    Read it but did not see if Jason ever made the summit.

    How much did this trip set you back in terms of money? If you added up the flight, food, gear etc and time.

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