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 need little introduction. 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.
K2 Expedition | Live on Sound cloud | 2015
“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”.
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”.
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.
There 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
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:
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|
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.
“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”