It’s the calm before that fierce storm and I’m ready! I’ve never been so ready to dance. Its been a life time of training, hard work, dedication, and commitment from all quarters personally but more importantly from family and a positive community to bring it all to this critical point on the greatest mountain on Earth; the mighty and beautiful K2! So sitting in base camp, I can’t but be humbled on the eve of a summit push reflecting on the last rotation of 6 days of incredible tough, yet exhilarating climbing that sucked dry the life blood of my adrenaline filled veins. We left Basecamp on the 6th of July with heavily loaded packs filled with critical high altitude equipment needed to survive, my jaw still dragging along the glacier floor looking up in awe, knowing the statistics of the challenge ahead..it was frighteningly magical. What a day to day dream of what could be, knowing I didn’t need a reason but just wishing the day to go on and on..I was free like a wild child. Several hours later, after negotiating the huge head wall arriving at Advanced Base Camp (ABC), I could only remember the shivering emotions of 2015; digging for days to salvage any remanence of my equipment after a ferocious avalanche struck and ended our climb even before our summit push got going. At ABC, staying here for the night “was I off my head”… I slept like a log.
Climb up to camp 1:
It’s the 7th July and 5am with a reasonable weather forecast giving the team a head start with a crisp underfoot up that 40% grade wall leading to camp 1. It’s a serious approach and your pretty committed but you’re also surrounded by the most beautiful range of mountains with Broad Peak to the fore. However, just after 4 hrs of climbing, sadly, K2 took its first life, living up to its title as the Savage Mountain. A comrade mountaineer and a guy I was eating butterscotch sweets with just two days prior, tumbled passed us, falling 1000 meters to his death….I was shook to my core, looking down seeing his lifeless body below…RIP Serge.
Checking and double checking my safety clippings in and out, we arrived at Camp One at 19.800ft and began kicking in platforms and lashing down storm proofing tents filled with oxygen bottles … not the most comfortable lay but then it’s K2. Boiling up snow for tea and adding the hot water to freeze dried Pad Thai mountain food was the evenings highlight. Two days at 19.800ft, my sleep was great & it was off to the next altitude, 21.500ft, however this route posed a whole new level of skill with huge vertical sections at this extreme altitude. It was savage but exciting climbing with higher and higher veins pumping with a rollercoaster of emotions.
Basecamp below was now a mere dot on the glacier.
Finally, there it was! A huge obstacle stood between me and my next camp, Famously known as “House Chimney,” a 60 meter vertical, three sided, knee knocking section filled with old ropes and a small flexible steel ladder that for some assists but for me was just an nuisance.. fuelled on a visual thumping heart rate at 20.790 ft it was a final 200 meter stagger into a welcomed Camp Two perched on the knife edge of the Abruzzi ridge.
Although tired and hungry, I was really strong and feeling very much in control of my physical & mental condition, even with the limited 50% oxygen available compared to 100% normally at sea level. This high camp was so exposed clipped in mandatory as a simple slip and your a gone, with only a large rock structure to the rear of the camp as avalanche protection it was just you at the mercy of Mother Nature and home for the next two nights.
Setting up the tent for the night:
Sleep was just alright with broken patterns brought on with symptoms of sleep apnea. Although these side effects are quite normal, my adoption to the higher altitude has been very positive after days of eating everything from dried eggs, dried chicken casserole & dried noodle soup.
Boiling up some water on K2:
What a great result there’s no science to back this up but I don’t believe that the body’s muscle memory recognises a return to altitude from previous expeditions. Setting off at 6am I returned back to basecamp retreating down that technical ridge line with enriched red blood cells of haemoglobin after 6 quality days on the k2.
Heavy load carrying:
Stashing my high altitude gear while depending allowed for a welcoming lightened load that added to a speedy rappelled return to what seemed like a 5* hotel at Basecamp.. and best of all i got a splash and dash needy wash on arrival … which is made up of a pan I got water and a bar of soap standing butt naked glacier style “it’s bad when you can smell yourself,” no joke! So for now it’s all about rest, eating & repeat as we await a weather window that will allow for that elusive Summit in which we need 5 days of relatively clear days and nights for what Buzz Light Year calls “Infinity and Beyond!”
Basecamp looking up K2:
The attraction of this very different world gives you the power to be yourself. See…part of knowing where I’m going is knowing where I’m coming from. I don’t want to be anything other than what I’ve been trying to be lately. All I have to do is believe in myself and that’s peace of mind for me. I’m tired of looking around wondering what others think I need to do and who I’m supposed to be because finally I don’t want to be anything other than just me!
The perfect pose!!
I have to say, I’m so blown away by all the support and positive messages & prayers from all of you. It’s so uplifting! I am so proud to be Irish! So proud to be me!
It was a truly enlightening experience. We saw & learned so much. We were usually on the go but the pace was well measured with enough "down-time". Jason was great fun and so willing to help with any issues that arose, a real Irish gem. I would recommend Jason Black adventures to anyone, We travelled from canada and didn't know what we were letting ourselves in for, the trekk organisation was seamless! I will highly recommend.
"It is quite impressive to climb with jason black his experience and motivated from this very humble person is wonderful, he has such a calm effect on everyone your anxiety or feelings toward any challenge are at ease in his company. Jason is without doubt an outstanding mountaineer.
"We had Jason talk to our scout group in Dublin and to say he had everyone enthralled and on the edge of their seats is an understatement. His courage, honesty and openness are a joy in our current climate. His engagement with our youth members was fantastic and they honestly cant stop talking about him. It is an honest no holds barred talk from an ordinary guy who has reached for the stars starting from the depths of despair.
I highly recommend to everyone to listen to this remarkable man."
One of the best adventure climbs i've ever taken and to climb with Jason Black! Dream of a lifetime trip! The technical learning was exceptional! Can't wait to climb again with this guy.
"There are very few times in your life where you happen to go on adventure and listen to people that are able to touch your soul and bones with words and inspire you to become a better human being. This was one of these times for me. A truly superb inspirational human being." To go on adventure with Jason was empowering.
"I don’t think we have ever had such a reaction from being with Jason black adventure, Our team are still talking about him weeks later.
Jason's honesty and Mountain standard is outstanding.
Jason Black is an extraordinary person who believes he is an ordinary man.
Everest lodge was the most beautiful lodgings, fabulous food, inspiring hikes, thought provoking chats and incredible stories.
What a recipe!
I've moved Jason Black to the top of my list as the best in the business.
So amazing! I love Ireland, we did so much on this tour, Jason's insight and knowledge is on another level. His adventures rock!
We were over for a few weeks in Ireland and joined Donegal walking weekend in Ireland trekking with great people, loads of activities crammed in, it was super and Jason was so great, he went above and beyond to help us before and after the weekend with advice and tips. Highly recommend he's worthy of his title as one of the best i've been out hiking with.
We really enjoyed the Ireland walking weekend guided by Jason Black. it was a good balance of culture, trekking and wildlife. Everest lodge is so great. A group of Six of us booked and we all had our own rooms, ensuite, the walls are filled with adventure loved the food and expedition insights.
Out trip to Mont blanc in france was amazing. truly an amazing experience with Jason. He was patient, mindful and his skill level is impressive and make you feel so comfortable and safe at all times.He looked after all members dietary needs and other needs of gear on our trip. He made sure that we had the opportunity to experience the unique climb in a pure mountaineering form. We were a small group size of around 7 and all of us had a great time.
Ive just returned from attending a training weekend with Jason. This guys is a whole different gravy. I thought i knew about Mountaineering navigation and Camp life. I learned more in three days than i did in three years. His mountain craft is incredible, if your serious about outdoor adventure then you won't find better than Jason.
Eric Steel Uk Peak District
Spent a weekend with Jason and 4 others weekend 20th May to 22nd May 2022 staying at Everest Lodge Dunfanaghy. The weekend was spent Walking and Hiking across the beautiful Derryveagh Mountains. Evenings were filled with beautiful food motivational talks fun and laugher. We were 5 complete strangers on the Friday Evening but come Sunday it felt like we had made friends for life. An Amazing weekend and Experience.
Michael Doyle Ireland
I had a wonderful weekend with Jason and a number of walking enthusiasts at Everest Lodge - would recommend it to anyone, regardless of level of experience in the mountains. Whilst somewhat familiar with the main mountains in Donegal Jason showed us other areas which are kept "under wraps" and hence felt very special to a non-local. I found the guidance with navigation on the mountain particularly helpful and the food over the course of the weekend was amazing!
Some really amazing learning came out of the expedition training. Jason's expertise is different gravy. You can’t go and buy this experience off the shelf.
May 2022 - I had a fantastic weekend hiking with Jason and staying at the lovely Everest Lodge - with four others who were also there for the weekend. Despite Jason’s incredible achievements, his demeanour is so ‘down to earth’ and his focus during our stay was on ensuring we were appropriately challenged while hiking, we felt fully at home at Everest Lodge and we had a lot of fun along the way. The ‘Ireland Walking Weekend’ surpassed my expectations at every level and I’d highly recommend hiking with Jason whenever the opportunity arises.