Push to 7200 meters
Birthdays are not just another day in your life!!! it’s the day you can celebrate the gift of life, that feeling of existence and excitement when you do what makes you feel alive!, it’s as well a reminder that you running out of time to do the things that you still want to do before it’s too late!
Being here surrounded by these massif mountains is a gift and makes me feel alive, to be able to wake up with the ice cracking underneath your tent, the fresh unpolluted air, the deep blue sky we only find at above 5000m and the ice, rocks, snow and wind makes you happy to have a birthday because without a birthday you cannot be here!
These are not small things, but necessary ingredients that make all human beings understand that we exist and that life is to be lived to the fullest every day we open our eyes!
We are back in Base Camp after out last acclimatization climb to just above 7200masl. Kobi and Fred ran into very deep snow just before camp 3 and decided that the risk of avalanche was too high and to turn back down. In total we have spent 3 nights above 6600masl and we feel ready for the summit push. All we need now is a weather window that will allow us to get to 8611m.
K2 is n dangerous mountain. Why I say that is not to put any importance to what we as a team are trying to achieve, but to take you through the climb and try and explain the obstacles we have to overcome as climbers.
Leaving from BC we have to cross two avalanche zones where it is impossible to find shelter or hide if the mountain decides to rid itself from fresh fallen snow. We spend in general about an hour walking across these exposed zones.
When we arrive at advanced basecamp we start a very steep climb on a rocky snowy and icy ridge to about 7300masl. if you make one mistake on the ridge there is no way to stop yourself from a fall all the way down to the base of the mountain. We are equipped with crampons and ice axe to make it safe. This part of the climb takes about 2 days. Falling rocks are our biggest enemy and sometimes you feel like running down a tunnel with someone shooting blindly at you.
The only way we can minimize the risk is to climb early morning and be very careful when we look for hand and foot holds as we work our way up the ridge.
Strong wind is another important factor we have to take into consideration when we are on an exposed ridge. The gusts can blow you off your feet and make visibility very difficult.
Above 7500m we climb into the death zone with only 7% oxygen and I will explain in my next blog what challenges we have to overcome to survive the last push to the summit.
To make it safe, all the controllable factors have to be taken into consideration when we decide to climb. Can you control everything? The answer is ‘No’! But you can go very well prepared and make the right decision to turn back when the odds turn against you!
If so much can go wrong why do it? The answer starts the day you take your first breath, your birthday!