Broad Peak – summit attempt
1st summit attempt 28th June
Is the mountain ready or not? We will never know for sure if we stay in base camp, look up at the summit and speculate.
A lot of snow has fallen this 'year and Broad Peak is as white as it can be during winter. Kobi and Myself have been up there above 7000m twice and have opened the trail non-stop to just below camp 3 at 7'300m.
We have encountered old snow with layers of fresh powder snow on top. The old snow has not hardened from camp 1 up to above camp 2 so each step you make you break through the crust and slip down before you can make the next step. Imagine being on an escalator going down and you would like to go up.
On the steeper slopes it is very hard work to make progress, add to that the lack of oxygen, cold and the amount of hours we climb it can become somewhat interesting.
Yesterday we have been above our equipment depot and ran into very hard sheet glacier ice with a 6 cm layer of fresh snow on top of it. It sounds very nice but in fact it is a nightmare as the danger of avalanches increase as the slope becomes steeper. We decided to make a u-turn. Caroline told us there is more snow and stronger winds predicted and if we will be caught up above camp 3 on our way to the summit we might never get down in one piece.
We brought our tent down to just above camp 2 where we could find the first flat spot on the ridge to sleep. You look out of the door of your tent and you have 1'000 meters drop-of in front of your doorstep. This is certainly a “Non sleep-walking zone.” Kobi and myself spent a very, very cold and long night without sleeping bags in the tent. Luckily the temperature went down to only -25 C. Kobi had to massage his feet and toes in the middle of the night as he started losing feeling in them. He put his feet in a spare pair of down gloves rapped his light down jacket around his feet and slowly the blood started flowing to his toes again.
The wind increased during the night and it started snowing heavily. Our plan to do the final summit push was blown away like a snowflake in the wind. We returned to base camp for a short rest and as soon as the weather allows us, we will try again.
Was the mountain ready for us to climb? Did we make the right decision? We would never know! As long as we stay alive we can live the life we love.