K2 Avalanche hit advance basecamp – down but never out

Friday 24th July and 4am marks the finally anticipated push for the summit of K2. Sleeping was light with a mind full of forget me knots for the days ahead. Equally the still night was full of Avalanche in the surrounding mountains with an alarming one at 1.40am lasting a full 90 seconds as it crashed to the glacier floor loaded with snow ice and rocks, so huge awaking most of camp as head torches peered out on fear of its location. With a quick breakfast made up of flat bread two boiled eggs and lemon tea it was off into the cold night. With rug sacks heavily loaded with survival provisions we headed up the glacier in the cold still night the only sound from the crackling ice beneath each footstep. The night was beautiful cold but semi lit with the half moon dancing of the surrounding Broadpeak mountain to my right standing at 8000mts plus and the might of K2 on my left crown and glory of them all. By now I’m entering the head wall ice fall at the top of the glacier with exposed opened crevasses carefully navigating a safe way through. To my amazement I could believe my eyes advance base camp had be disamated , gone, crushed. You see “remember that huge 1.40 am Avalanche” well here it was total destruction the complete side of K2 below camp one had collapsed in a slab Avalanche of snow ice and huge rock and despairingly somewhere beneath the 1000s of tons of debre was our tent with all our technical climbing equipment with in, helmet ,climbing harness, ropes , crampons , ice screws and axes everything needed for the climb….. It was devastating challenging every emotion and thought running deep in my mind….. Six supporting Sherpa continued to ascend to camp one struggling on the stripped mountain face deep in blue ice with ropes missing, anchors ripped out these hardened professionals challenged with every step. Stopping regularly reporting continued Avalanche and danger. It’s now 6.30am and the recovery of the equipment vital for success, from memory trying to place the tent we dug and gut in an organised fashion for seven non stop hours each time probing for some evidence of the text material or equipment ,but to to avail….this was desperate. Suddenly over the radio was a call for help an accident above one of the Sherpa struck by falling rock from above to the head cracking his helmet and breaking his left arm above and below the elbow ,leaving him in capacated , we were helpless as our equipment still lay buried. The five remaining Sherpa took five hours to get the injured man to advance basecamp in agony he received oxygen and pain killing drugs …. Can this day that started so brightly and ended so dramatically get any worse….. N reflection in camp few member and a few Sherpa were to stay over in the tent in advance basecamp this eve and surely would have been killed , every cloud has a silver lining. For now it’s reevaluate the suitation , return to the dig in the morning ,see how volatile the mountain is over the coming days…. Today tested the mind challenging it to look deep in the corners trying to redeem positives banked I there for days like this … Tonight battered and bruised ,here to tell the tail…down but never out. Jason