• 19
    Mar
    , by Alex

Everything is ready for the last attack on K2 (8611m), not the last attack because I
want but because after a long time of deliberation and consulting new possibilities
the time to return home has come. After so much work I am very sorry to leave. We
are collecting and dismantling our home in these three months and did not fail to
remember this last ascent in this beautiful mountain that I have in front of me.
Day 14, 10:00 a.m. We left Base Camp and at a slow pace, so as not to wear ourselves
out, we arrived at Camp 1 in just under 7 hours. We are going to have to try it camp
by camp, step by step. In the month of February the wind hasn't stopped and we
haven't been able to prepare the ascent as we would have liked. As I said a couple of
years ago, K2 has to be tried for at least 3 consecutive years, for me that's really
attempting K2.

We got to C1 at 6100 meters. Cheppal, Walung, Geljen, Pasang and me with a perfect
coordination with Felix and Ignacio who have supplied us the C1 in case something
had gone flying; they helped to mount the tents, and returned to the Base Camp,
because the next days they would have to help us to withdraw and to gather
everything from Camp 2 down.

The day is much worse than expected as far as weather is concerned, but we
managed and separated into teams of two to sleep. The morning of day 15 is stable
but the atmosphere was getting complicated at times, and we suffered the first
casualty of one of our members, Geljen had had a bad night and noticed discomfort on the side. The base camp mates climbed up to meet Geljen and help him down.

The rest of us went on and at a slow pace we reached camp 2 in only 3 hours. Our
intention was to continue, but the weather did not allow it, so we rested at 6500
meters. The next morning, Wallung had spent mornings, vomiting and vomiting, and I
told him to go back to Base Camp, that I was not going to let him go up like this. Felix
and Ignacio went out for him again, to help him go down, as he was going down in a
very bad state. They get the maximum point of power and resistance in an
expedition, long before us, but in the end they end up suffering something more than
us.

Day 16. I have been awake since 05:30 and I'm amazed at the spectacular sunrise in
front of me. We dismantled a tent and Cheppal, Pasang and me continued the
adventure. We climb with a lot of weight since we are equipping, there are only fixed
ropes frayed every 20 meters, and if you trust that you can kill yourself or the second
option, you eternalize doing maneuvers of ascent and descent tired. So, the two
options are each more dangerous.

In the Chimney House we only find 30 meters of new Korean. We continue through
Camp 2 high and see many remains of mountaineers who have remained in the
mountain ... the cold wind from the south component begins to blow us fully. We
continue equipping easily ascending by three lines of old rope and equipping a new
line until reaching the 7020 meters. We set up a tent as the Jet Stream looks out over
the balcony. We protected ourselves from the strong wind and enjoyed the
wonderful unique views of the winter Karakorum. I take out my camera and I can'tt
stop photographing and recording this beautiful landscape without equal. Cheppal
stays in the store as he has a slightly injured finger, although it's nothing to worry
about, and Pasang and I go out to equip the next few meters. We surpassed 7150
meters arriving at a location of stores. We know that from now on, there is only the
option of using old ropes and that we will only be able to climb if the weather gives
us a window. We descend and I realize that unfortunately I have left the Inreach in
the backpack and that therefore, it does not mark that last exit of Pasang and mine
very enjoyable and productive.

We take shelter in the tent and spend the whole night without sleeping waiting for
the wind to slow down and give us a window, we know that reaching the summit will
be difficult but from where we are, in less than 5 hours, we can reach C4 and in 4
hours more at the foot of the Bottle Neck.

It would be very positive to be able to reach that level in order to better understand
this beautiful mountain, and transmit to the rest of the companions what can be lived
up there to learn how to really ascend it. But, the hours pass and the constant wind
exceeds 50 km per hour. I don't want to risk our lives just to be able to say that we have reached higher than anyone but to get nothing. I want me and all my team to continue living and dreaming about these adventures. Determined, we get off. It's a hard time dismantling Camp 3 but we managed to dismantle it. Between the three of
us we took 200 meters of semiestatica, 4 piolets quark, 8 ice screws, 5 epigas primus special for winter that melt the ice at less than 40º, 3 sacks, 3 mats, a mr reactor, a tent, a little food and a lot of drink.

We began to abseil passing a carabiner by our line and we abseiled down very fast
until the Field 2. There we continued collecting 15 kg of garbage to take it down to
Base Camp. We continue descending to Camp 1 and there we dismantle the last tent
and lower the mold to make the igloos. It's a pity we couldn't build it there like at
Base Camp and Advanced Base Camp. But learning is always a new opportunity. We
started abseiling down along our line as Felix and Ignacio had cleared from Camp 1 to
Advanced Base Camp, good work on their part. We arrived at Base Camp and the
good thing is that of the 3,000 meters we have equipped, we have lowered about
1,200 meters of rope throughout the expedition time, about 200 meters from the
glacier and the rest from above. We have managed to collect all the garbage
generated and bring it down to Base Camp plus some of the garbage we have found
in the mountain, among which, 200 meters of Korean, 4 yellow sacks and 30 kg of
recent remains. For this, the help of Felix and Ignacio has been fundamental.

On the other hand, at Base Camp, the companions have packed and recycled
approximately 200 kg in 25kg sacks, differentiating by type of garbage including 5
cans of faeces. We have only left 1,800 meters of fixed rope in the mountain, the rest
is in Base Camp. I think it is very important to raise awareness of the impact on the
mountain. We have to take care of this if we really are mountain lovers.

In winter K2 I think it's 100% effective to throw what you can't get down with you
from 6700 down, even from something higher. So, throw the hundreds of kilos of
rope that we found in the next high camp until we lower them to Base Camp. In
summer some, I reiterate, will remember us for the rest of fixed ropes we have left
and the deposit with everything usable for friends of 7 summits.

Finally, I would like to clarify a number of important points:

- Along with the importance of collecting garbage and material from the mountain, I
would like to add that in the evacuation of Nuri in the helicopter, due to the freezing
of the index finger, we took the opportunity to put 3 bags of recycled garbage in the
same helicopter. Many people from Pakistan congratulated us because they said that
garbage had never been unloaded in the helicopter.

- The meteorologists have done a magnificent job but K2 does not leave anyone
indifferent, as it is difficult to get it right. Therefore, for next year we will place the
weather stations in the High Altitude Fields as well as in the Base Camp. This will be
one of the first changes or improvements.

- There has been much, perhaps too much, talk of parallel routes or equipment this
winter in K2. Although I didn't want to comment on this subject because we only
talked about our work, I would like to point out that this winter only a new line of
rope has been equipped. Specifically, from 5,300 meters to 7,150 meters equipping
3,000 meters of rope in 72 meetings of which we have filmed the first 46 meetings in
which it can be seen that only one line has been equipped. We have been judged to
be competitive without being true. We have followed our ascent by the new line we
have created. We had no parallel. Even this has caused problems for our expedition,
since the use of old deteriorated ropes has made that they will get involved with our
new line and we had difficulties at the time of rappel because we could not do
cleaning to guarantee our safety.

- Finally and in my opinion for anyone who wants to try the winter K2: K2 will only be
climbed in March and therefore, those who think that the winter ends in February
should try in early December or until mid-January. I think that arriving at Base Camp
at the beginning of February is enough, since in 3 or 4 days of work you can equip up
to Camp 3 and in 6 days of work up to Camp 4. When we arrive home we will make
public all the information reflected in our Base Camp weather station that will
reinforce our thesis with real data.

- The only possibility will be to leave from Base Camp or Advanced Base Camp to
Camp 3, and from Camp 3 to 7,400 meters to summit and return to Camp 3. Or as
Reinhold Messner told us several weeks ago, he believes it is possible even from
Camp 2. If we soon have the funding we will train and work hard to try from Camp 2,
every day I believe more in this theory.

- Hopefully other mountaineers will rely on these initiatives of igloo construction and
wind defense. They will hold out until the spring expeditions, and even in summer, if
they keep them covered with snow..