Sunday, June 27, 2010

K2 & Broad peak 2010: 26th June - fixing to C2!

from stu in the usa office
June 27, 2010

Chris dropped a gabcast yesterday evening with an update on the expedition and you can listen to the full dispatch at the bottom.

On the 24th Chris and his crew placed 1400m of rope to C1 at 5700m and also managed loads of tents on the 24th and 25th - enough for C1 and C2! Fabrizio, Meagan and the HAPS were continuing the fixing effort already on the 26th and planning on trying to put in the route to C2 by the end of today after a night at C1.

Crossing the bergschrung on Broad Peak © stu remensnyder

On the 27th (today) Chris, Ben, Ed, Mike, Brian and Rob were planning to head up to C1 to have a rotation of sleeping at C1 and taking a walk up towards C2 before coming back to BC for a rest. on the 28th the remainder of the team will likely head up for a night as well and that should see every member with a night at C1 by the 29th.

Climbing from C2 to C3 on Broad Peak © stu remensnyder

This begins the slow process of acclimatizing with the climb high sleep low in full effect. Over the next week or 2 the team will get nights in at C1 with walks above and drop down to BC, rest a day or so then back to C1 for a night, C2 for a night and a walk and downto bc for a rest, then up to C2 for a night, then to C3, back down and then prepare for summit bids! This is at least the normal plan to be surely upset by weather, acclimatizing pace and other variables. It is important to enjoy your time at BC and in 2003 we had Jean Troillet and his partner in BC trying to float in wetsuits down the icy glacial rivers and Korea's Mr Han playing golf...lots of ways to pass the time!

Long par 3 at Broad Peak BC 2003 © stu remensnyder

After everyone is acclimatized to C2 we'll pare down C1 and bring those tents to C3 on the first push. for many members heading to K2 after a night at C3 and a walk above they may end their efforts on Broad Peak and save reserves for K2. Fabrizio will plan to head over to K2 after his first nights at C2 on Broad Peak and begin to get the route in to C2 over there before returning to Broad Peak for a summit push. During that same time Chris, Ben, Rob and the rest of the crew will finish off the route and load carrying to C3. Our hope is to minimize the number of runs and therefore exposure on K2 by having a high level of acclimatizing on Broad Peak on less demanding terrain. So far we are off to the races with the route in so quickly and members feeling so strongly. we'll hope the great cooking of Amir Ali and the weather gods conspire to give our team strong legs and mild winds!

A day at the Broad Peak beach! © stu remensnyder

Field Touring Alpine Audio Dispatche #86 - Chris at Broad Peak BC, June 26, 2010

Listen to all the Field Touring Alpine Audio Dispatches at Gabcast

Saturday, June 26, 2010

K2 & Broad peak 2010 - 25th June update - route to C1 in!!

From Stu in the USA office
25 June, 2010

Our team is all now at BC and everyone is feeling well and ready for the climb. In fact most members have already gotten out of BC and made some progress!! They now are settled into the base camp and have the month long view of K2 ahead of them!

K2 from Broad Peak © stu remensnyder

After arriving in BC on the 22nd and resting up for a day the first group decided to get going on the route as they were feeling so strong. On the 24th Chris, Meagan and our 5 HAP's (Taqui, Asgar, Ghulam, Aziz, Farhad) did the near impossible and fixed the route all the way to C1! In most years this takes us a few days at least and is shared with other teams. This year, with the small number of teams on the hill and most planning to climb without any fixed ropes, the task looks to fall to us for the entire hill. This will end up giving our members more of a chance to be involved in the effort to that is great!

Climbing to C1 © stu remensnyder

In 2003 we arrived in similar circumstances and shared the mountain with a small group of greek climbers for 2 weeks until the next team arrived....awesome to have a big hill and lots of room! This year the team has the company of a few other teams including some old friends from last year and other mountains. The team sounds in great spirits and happy to be settled into BC. They have had quite a bit of snow the last few days after a clear spell on the walk in. As such they are having a hard time charging pda's and sat phones so the bc coms are remaining pretty simple with voice dispatches for the moment and calls to the office.

Broad Peak BC © stu remensnyder

Fabrizio called in from BC on the 24th to let us know the plan and here goes:

24th - chris and crew put in the route to C1 and also brought the entire load of tents needed for C1. Fabrizio was amazed by the effort and when we spoke he wanted make it clear that "Chirs and Meagan had kicked ass!" While they were on the hill the rest of the first group enjoyed the day wanding the "trail" from BC to the base of the route. This job is a fun one that lasts through out the trip as the wands tend to melt out and fall over every few days. It is a very beautiful walk and one that required route finding, scrambling up short but steep bits of snow and ice, hopping over rivers of frigid glacier melt water and lots of patience!

Maze from BC to the base of the route © stu remensnyder

25th - Ben, Rob and Brian will make a load carry to c1 with all the tents needed for C2 and C3.

26th - Fabrizio will head back up with the HAP's for a night at C1 and hope to put the route in to C2 on the 27th.

FTA guide Mike Hale approaching C1 in 2003 © stu remensnyder

On the 28th we'll hope to have the updated plan after we see how the first round of acclimatizations go but hopefully on 27, 28 and 29 everyone can get a night in at C1 and a walk up towards c2. We expect good weather to hold through this period with some snow expected again by 29/30.

Chris dropped an audio disptach from BC...enjoy!

Field Touring Alpine Audio Dispatches #84 - K2 & Broad peak 2010 - June 23 update team in BC!

Chris calls in to let us know the team reached basecamp and all is well. He reports on the plan for the days ahead which include getting the route fixed up to C1 in the next 48 hours.

View from C2 on Broad Peak © stu remensnyder

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

K2 & Broad peak 2010 - 22nd June from Concordia

From Stu in the usa office
June 22, 2010

Chris called in from Concordia (see audio dispatch at the end) to let us know that all is well and that our first group will be pulling into Broad Peak BC today and the second group a few days from now.

They have had excellent weather and views and are looking forward to getting set up at BC and getting the climb under way! Chris was going to get up early today at Concordia, scoot over pick out a good spot for BC. He will then begin to get things set up for the summer including the solar power, lights, communications not to mention arranging the several tons of gear arriving. For the summer we have more than 4500m of rope on the way as well as 27 snow stakes, 4 shovels, 25 biners, 15 MSR stoves, 2 Jet Boils, 180 catridges of fuel, 22 handset radios, 22 tents (Marmot Thor 2/3 and Alpinists), 6 6L dromedaries for water at camps, 3 solar panels (and a backup generator), sat phones & pda's, cook tent (and all their cooking gear and kerosene!), mess tent (complete with cards and monopoly), toilet tent (and loads of TP), shower tent, BC hang out tent, some 25 bottles of oxygen and so on! It is quite a thing to move an entire small city over 80km to the edge of a moving glacier at the base of a 3000m high wall of snow and ice!! All carried in 25kg packages on the backs of hard working Balti porters. Any expedition relies on them for demanding and challenging work in harsh conditions.

This carries on further for the high altitude porters working on the mountain who put in extraordinary effort on steep slopes and at high altitude. In 2008 several HAP's lost their lives on K2 and a fund was established to support their families. We encourage you to learn more about this worthy cause and donate to: The Gerard McDonnell Memorial Fund .

We'll be reminding you all about this fund throughout the summer!

Chris calls in from Concordia with views of Broad Peak and K2! Enjoy listening in!

Listen to all the Field Touring Alpine Audio Dispatches at Gabcast

Sunday, June 20, 2010

K2 & Broad peak 2010 - 19th June from Urdukas (

from stu in the usa office
update for July 19, 2010

Our first group with Chris Szymiec is now well on the way to BC and have already had views of Gasherbrum IV and Broad Peak from Urdukas (not to mention the Muztag Tower, the Trango Towers, Paiju Peak and much more!) We expect them to arrive in BC in 3 days after stops in Goro II and Concordia.

Trango Towers © stu remensnyder

The second group with Fabrizio took a rest/organization day on the 17th in Skardu after a long ride from Islamabad. They began in on the 18th to Askole and today made their way to Juhla. They are three days back of the first group and by the time they arrive the BC will be set up and the route will already be going into C1 on Broad Peak.

Biafo Bridge above Askole © stu remensnyder

Biafo Bridge above Askole © stu remensnyder

This is Chris's third expedition to 8000m peaks in the Karkoram (G2 in 2008 and Broad Peak & K2 last summer) and he is beginning to think of building a small chalet at Concordia for the off season! Between our guides Chris (5) , Fabrizio (10+), Ben (2) and Rob (1) they have made some 20 expeditions to 8000m peaks and many many more to peaks of 6000m and 7000m. Hard to imagine a more experienced group of guides than what we have go this summer on Broad Peak and K2. Add in the experience of our 5 High Altitude Porters and we begin to push 30 plus expeditions to 8000m peaks that we can draw upon in our efforts this summer. This is FTA's 6th expedition to Broad Peak and 3rd to K2 so along with 2 trips to G2 we are headed off to our 12th and 13th Karakoram expeditions. Perhaps we need to make a lodge at Concodia as well!

Broad Peak from Concordia © stu remensnyder

We are already looking forward to putting this expertise to bear on Cho Oyu this autumn, Maklau and Cho Oyu in spring 2011, Nanga Parbat and G2 next summer and Everest in 2012. Along the way we'll be enjoying trips to Ama Dablam, Aconcagua, Ecudor, Elbrus, Kilimanjaro, Satopanth, Tharpu Chuli and treks to K2 BC, Everest BC, Snow Lake and much more. have a look at our expedition list for all the details!

Chris has dropped a few audio dispatches from the trek...enjoy!

Field Touring Alpine Audio Dispatches #82 - K2 & Broad peak 2010 - 18th June from Paiju
Chris calls in From Paiju on a rest day to let us know everyone is well!

Field Touring Alpine Audio Dispatches #79 - K2 & Broad peak 2010 - 19th June from Urdukas

Chris calls in from Urdukas to let us know all is well. they are being treated to great views of Broad peak and Gasherbrum IV and looking forward to getting to bc!

Hear all the Field Touring Alpine Audio Dispatches at gabcast

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

K2/Broad Peak 2010 - On the move!

from stu in the usa office
June 16th, 2010

Our first group is off to Askole led by Chris Szymiec and our second group is on the KKH Express and to arrive this afternoon and with good luck will be off in the morning.

Heading off today was the bulk of the group who has been up in Skardu as well as the group arriving by road yesterday. Weather has continued to shut down the flights up to Skardu and with the prospect of possible 4 more days of bad weather the last optimistic members down in Islamabad had little choice now but to make the famed ride or else risk missing too many days on the hill.

Already in Askole and on the way to Jhula are:
Chris, Ed, Ben, Rob, Mike, Tom, Meagan, Brian

Waiting in Skardu for the road crew are:
Fabrizio, Lakpa, Tshering and Jo

Arriving this evening by road are:
Luis, Katrina, Garth, Nikki and Ian

You can see more about our team at the K2/BP 2010 Team page

We received a nice note of encouragement from last year team member Fabrice Imparato and he has posted a wonderful image gallery from our 2009 expedition. We will be sharing them through out the summer in appropriate dispatch moments but you can jump ahead and see all of them by visiting

Fabrice Imparato at Picasa

The road to Skardu is not in great condition but the landslides seem to have been all fixed up and Chris and his his merry band made it from Islamabad to Skardu in under 24 hrs which is excellent time. We'll hope for the same speed for today's group and will know shortly!

Chris called in from Askole last night to let Fabrizio know all was well and the trekking set up was fantastic. He also mentioned that the road to Askole was very rough and they were glad to be out of the 4x4s and be officially on the trek!

Overall our members have been having a great time in Pakistan walking freely in Skardu and Islamabad and enjoying the sites and people that make up this amazing country. Hope you can join us for a climb or trek in Pakistan in 2011 and see for yourself!



Monday, June 14, 2010

K2/Broad Peak 2010 - June 14 update

From Stu in the USA office

June 14, 2010

Our entire team is in country and safe and sound. At this time they are all on the move towards skardu or already relaxing in the ancient fort city and regions capital.

Due to different arrival dates, weather and road conditions we have some members still arrving by road and by air to reach Skardu and we hope by the 15th that everyone will have arrived. At this time Ian, Luis, Garth Nickie and Katrina are in Islamabad hoping to catch the flight in the morning directly to Skardu and Chris and Rob are nearing Skardu by road.

Flights have been cancelled on a regular basis lately and in order to facilitate the expedition Rob, Ben and Chris took one for the team and have made the extreme “Balti Express” heading straight from Islamabad to Chilas, grabbing a fresh driver and continuing on unabated to Skardu. In good conditions this is about 23 hours but with a few landslide crossings we expect a few extra hours may be added. They will arrvive between 9 and 11 pm local time tonight and be happy for a late meal.

The remainder of the team has been congregating by road and flight and are enjoying the quiet if rainy ambience of Skardu and the Concordia Hotel. All reports suggest that the food at the hotel this year is as good as it has ever been so members are putting on every extra ounce they can before they begin the traditional Karakoram high altitude diet program!

In the morning a large contingent will begin the trek to BC and begin to transport the substantial amount of gear, food, gas, supplies and people needed to get the work on the hill under way. then as soon as the Islamabad crew is able to fly up then the second wave will chase them up the Baltoro. If the flights do go on the 15th then the second crew will actually catch them in Paiju and join them for the rest of the trek. Fingers crossed!

Fabrizio and I have been on the phone about 4 times a day keeping up with the latest and also helping educate him on the latest Hollywood gossip, world cup scores and important news. They have internet access but it is across town and large quantities of tea (and the prospect of 100km of walking on a glacier) tend to diminish motivation to get off a comfy lounge chair!

He has been keeping up with local news and it sounds like there is more snow in the Karakoram than at any time he can remember. Urdukas which was bone dry in 2003 apparently is heavily laden with snow and the Gondogoro La pass was slowing teams down who had tried to go by Hushe instead of Askole. As such there is little early season snow melt and the road to Askole is not slowed much by the rivers but has been seeing midday rock fall so teams have been getting early starts from Skardu.

We have a long season ahead of us and are looking forward to getting into the mountains so we’ll hope the weather gods smile on our team and let the planes fly!

more news as we have it!



Fabrzio has dropped a note as well from Skardu with even more on life in limbo!


There are luckily very few climbers heading to Skardu this season, if there were more nobody would ever arrive. The Road has proved problematic and flights have been cancelled significantly over the past couple of weeks meaning priority is given to delayed passengers. Regardless of our longstanding reservations with PIA and the very large efforts of Imran and the whole ATP staff we have started to trickle in slowly.

Today 5 members flew to Gilgit and are now driving over to join us, a few are scheduled to fly tomorrow, Chris and a couple of guides in training are coming by road from Islamabad, and should be here tomorrow night. Fortunately it means we should only be one day off the back departing for Askoli, no big deal.

Skardu remains overcast and not as hot as usual, and means that the 5 members here with me will continue a bit of sightseeing and alot more tea drinking in the garden of the Concordia Hotel with views of the river - terribly civilized really.

High school graduation pranks and future desert crossing expeditions keep us occupied during meals- I was told the shocking news that Brangelina broke up last year as well - perhaps too much time in base camps and not enough time glued to TMZ.

I will keep you posted on our departure for Askoli and base camp.


Supported by Marmot, SCARPA, CAMP and Bluewater

Friday, June 11, 2010

K2/BP 2010 Under way!

From stu in the usa office
June 11, 2010

We have an exciting season in the Karakoram getting under way and hope you'll follow along all summer.

We still have room on Spantik, Snowlake and K2 BC treks beginning on August 1st. Check out the FTA website for all the details:

Our K2 & Broad Peak 2010 team consists of 13 western climbers, 2 nepali sherpas and 5 pakistani HAP's and looks to be one of the strongest groups we have fielded ever on an expedition. Our guides include Fabrizio Zangrilli, Chris Szymiec and Ben Kane who will be assisted by FTA newcomer Ed Hannam and a Cho Oyu alum Rob Baker. Fabrizio is fresh from guiding a safe and successful (though no summits) trip to Makalu and Chris is arriving after leading a group to the summit of Cho Oyu. Both are ready to get back into the high mountains after having had an excellent rest in Kathmandu!

See our 2010 K2/Broad Peak Team page

Get updates by twitter or follow along here at the blog

Most of our team is already in Skardu and the remainder will be coming up in the next few days. With good luck we'll be heading to Askole and the start of the trek by the 14th.

Stay tuned for more news!


ps. Fabrizio wrote an early dispatch which i have added below....enjoy!

Saturday, June 05, 2010
Broad Peak/K2 2010: Karakoram is quiet!
I arrived in Islamabad two days ago to the news from Essar and Naiknam at ATP that the Karakoram will be very quiet this season. According to them there are only 25 permits sold to the entire range - including 6, 7 & 8000m peaks! Neither could remember such a slow year. Last year we thought was slow with around 70 permits sold - perhaps the economy, the events in Lahore and the Attabad (Hunza) flood and lake formation have really put second thoughts in peoples minds about coming. The KKH is supposedly in bad shape and the lack of people will be good for the always difficult to get seats on the flight to Skardu.

We are very fortunate to have a full Broad Peak and K2 trip! I must admit that I am looking forward to not so many teams in both base camps, alot of hard work lies ahead but it will make everything much more harmonious, less overcrowding at the camps and the possibility for all teams to come together for parties during the down time.

There are some old friends returning this summer and I cant wait to see them. I head to Skardu tomorrow to finalize all of the organization, luckily leaving the duty of getting the permits to Chris, my co leader at Field Touring Alpine this summer, when he arrives with the members in a couple of days - as our liason officer has not reported for duty yet.

Another Karakoram season is underway! I am psyched, 10 days rest between Makalu base camp and Skardu is enough time off mountains it turns out. It was great to spend long dinners and lunches with friends in Thamel. It was especially nice to see some people after they had been helicoptered off Makalu and see the frostbite was not as bad as originally suspected, celebrate with Tunc (congratulations again!) and friends from other mountains. luckily I will get a couple of weeks rest between the Karakoram and the Autumn season on Cho Oyu (finilize your bookings with Stu soon)!

I will be updating frequently from Broad Peak and K2 as we have figured out the email glitch with the PDA, so check back frequently and wish us luck!