K2 Advance Bacecamp

Today Thursday 9th July … First night at basecamp proved a great success with a full nights sleep 7pm to 7.30am. No effects from increased altitude proving that while the trek in was long and arduous it was successful allowing the body to positively adjust to the now height of 5000mts above sea level. Last nights sleep was very cold but with a soon filled pee bottle my sleeping bag quickly heated up. Suns up at 7.30am and as it blisters through your tent at 5000mts sucking all the oxygen out it soon forces you up and out. Breakfast was at 8.30am made of fried spam “fried tinned ham” boiled egg & toasted flat bread with copious amounts of lemon tea. After breakfast and in keeping with Nepali climbing culture we set about building the Pudja alter ,” for those first time followers” a Pudja alter is a square rock build from around the ground it must face the mountain k2 in this case. In the centre of it stands a flag pole with all the prayer flags drape the camp sight in the four directions ” North, South, East & west” each pray flag resembles five quality so in life – green blue yellow red white. Google them and see. Once the alter is built the Sherpa offer up tokens of food & drinks rice & butter along with a small money donation. There after we the climbing team place important mountaineering equipment at the foot of the alter, so I place my ice axe crampons ice screws rope & IRL helmet & boots, then we all gather around as a united team and the head Sherpa prays allowed to Buddha asking for a safe passage to the summit protecting each member on a successful journey. After Pudja prayers he marks each climbers face with the offered flour placing a blessed ” by a Nepali lama” cord around your neck. It’s a very serious process and understandably it’s another religion and while I have a wonderful relationship from my maker above, I’m sure he wouldn’t dismiss a helping hand, and who am I to judge because when in Rome you do as the Romans do. After a quick bite of lunch noodle soup , lovely again it was off to advance base camp at 5300mts approx 4km climb to the head wall at the top of the glacier. Navigation was difficult as it was dangerous with deep cracked ice with deadly drops of 200 meters which we call crevasses. The objective today was to move up in altitude & while looking on from the outside it appears to be only 300mts at this height it’s enough to cause serious health damage to the brain swelling or the lungs filling with fluid, so slowly slowly is the correct approach. Three hours later and from advance basecamp the views below us were just incredible with Broadpeak mountain 8050mts on our right and K2 8611mts on our left and beyond the surrounding mountain range created this remarkable theatre. On returning to camp two of the climbing team still ramained sick from altitude and it was decided the the four strongest climbers push early Am “5am” to camp one at 6000mts ,carrying tents sleeping great all climbing technical equipment “ice axes harness helmets crampons etc” food stoves and fuel where we will spend an over night sleep which will really accelerate the gains in altitude or possibly the opposite. Anyhow it great news as i depart on the next stage of the expedition setting foot on that mighty mountain K2. Leaving early in the morning ensures the ice is at its coldest & firmest helping safety under foot. It’s time for an early night , I’ll post on my return on Saturday night. Jason