Friday, August 20, 2010

Pakistan in Need of Urgent Help!

From stu in the usa office
20 August, 2010

The situation goes from serious to dire for millions of people in Pakistan and we hope that you can help. Some 20 million Pakistanis from regions all over the country are being affected by the floods, some have lost family members, some have lost homes, most are in serious need of shelter, food and potable water.

Please read the stories, see the images and act now. This cannot wait til you are home from holidays or until the death toll is large enough to press us into action.

From the bottom of our hearts and the hearts of our friends, the staff we work with and from people we will never know in Paksitan we thank you.

how to donate



NY Times

Pakistan accepts aid from India

Aid for Pakistan Lags, U.N. Warns

Impact on the Swat Valley

all articles on Pakistan on NYTimes

Editorial on Need in Pakistan
The world has been slow to grasp the enormity of this crisis, perhaps because it unfolded slowly, not in a sudden jolt like an earthquake or tsunami. Or, perhaps, the floods were overshadowed by the out-of-control fires in Russia or were neglected because many donors were already fatigued from the challenge of rebuilding Haiti.
The relatively low death toll (about 1,500), the summer vacation doldrums and negative views of Pakistan as corrupt and war-ridden also may have dampened enthusiasm for helping.
The devastation in Pakistan is likely to worsen as the monsoon rains continue. But even an end to the rains won’t end the emergency. Plans need to be made right now to ensure that next year’s crops are planted. Looming ahead is the enormous challenge of rebuilding Pakistan’s shattered bridges, roads, structures and agricultural and economic base. For now, the humanitarian needs are paramount.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

K2 Concludes, Cho Oyu next, Pakistan in Need

From Stu in the USA office
18 Aug, 2010

K2 2010 Concludes

Fabrizio has called us from Skardu to let us know that all is well and he and the rest of the team are now fully out from the field. With that the K2/Broad Peak 2010 expedition is officially at a conclusion. We thank all or staff, guides and members for making it a safe and successful summer and we look forward to 2011 already!

I know Fabrizio will look forward to a few weeks of rest in Kathmandu and Pokhara! He is jealously learing that Chris has already flown to Kathmandu and is gorging on food at restaurants all around Thamel! They will meet up on the 24th in Kathmandu with our local agent and great friend Nima T. Sherpa to prepare the autumn trips.

With the conclusion of the Pakistan trips we turn our attention now to the Cho Oyu expedition starting September 5th and prepare for autumn trips to Ama Dablam, Island Peak, Everest BC, Tharpu Chuli and Cholatse. Even now we are looking farther ahead to Aconcagua and Ecuador trips in Dec, Jan and Feb which are filling up. We have had such a good response to our trips this summer that we already are taking signups for Broad Peak, Nanga Parbat and G2 for 2011 and are considering a return to K2 as well. We are looking very much forward to our 9th straight summer climbing 8000m and 7000m peaks in the Karakoram!

Pakistan in Need

No doubt in 2011 we will return to a country which looks quite different and will still be in the recovery from one of the largest natural disasters it has every experienced. Fabrzio’s news from Skardu included a report on the conditions in Skardu which are very serious. The roads from Islamabad and Gilgit have been closed some 20 days to Skardu and the supply of basic needs is growing more limited each day. He said that the local stores are out of staples like sugar and butter and that meals in the hotel consist mostly of tea and chapattis as this time.

I asked Fabrizio what impact Skardu was feeling with the floods and he answered simply “it’s a disater”. He commented that a small town across from the Concordia hotel had a mudlside claim the lives of 59 people just a few days ago and that the authorities are hustling the travelers back to the relative safety of Islamabad as quickly as they can.

Even though he would like a few days to sort gear and rest, Fabrizio is being asked to get on the next available transport tomorrow to Islamabad. Today’s groups arrived at the airport around 8am and finally flew at 5:30pm so Fabrizio is preparing for a full day in the waiting lounge and has a handful of books ready. This small inconvenience for travelers pales in comparison to the ongoing tragedy in Paksitan and we hope that everyone will visit the UN site immediately and help them reach the crucial goal of quickly raising more than 460million USD to support communities and indivuduals all over Pakistan.

See a very detailed report on ExWeb for more on this:

We’ll have more news in the week ahead as we transition from Paksitan to Tibet and Nepal but we will now cease to report on any way we can all help the people in Paksitan to survive the floods and their aftermath.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

K2 2010: C2 Cleared, Leaving BC, Floods and more

From stu in the usa office
12 August 2010

Fabrizio has called in with the very latest news from BC and it looks like FTA will be closing up shop in K2 BC for the summer on the 13th.

After a long summer in the Karakoram we will now turn our attention to upcoming expeditions on Cho Oyu, Ama Dablam, Everest BC, Island Peak, Aconcagua and Ecuador Volcanes. We look forward to a return to Pakistan next year on with Nanga Parbat, Broad Peak, G2, Spantik and K2 BC treks all running.

On K2

Despite a number of climbers (including Fabrizio) who would take another run at the summit, the conditions on the route and the predicted weather are simply not promising for the foreseeable future. We continue to see winds that are high enough in combination with snow, rain and poor visibility that it is hard for Fabrizio to warrant another push. Some climbers (Kazaks) headed a day ago, in hopes of a window, but it took a good 3 hours longer to get to C2, the ropes were in tatters and rock fall continued to be a problem during the day. They have made their way to C3 already now and we wish them a safe passage to the top!

Fabrizio, Aziz and Farhad left this morning at 2:30 am for a “quick run” to C2 to gather there remaining equipment and return to BC before the warmer hours of the day. They had anticipated it might take 4-5 hours up and 1 hour back as it had earlier in the season. Instead they returned nearly 10 hours later and had a very serious effort throughout. The fixed lines are largely destroyed by rock fall and Fabrizio estimated that they had to down-climb some 80% of the route from C2.

Gone are the fine, firm snow and new ice slopes of July and the climbing is now on hard old “ugly” ice. This kind of hard ice requires great attention and is painstaking. Fabrizio said they were all worn out mentally and physically by the time they returned and crashed hard in their tents. Looking over at Broad Peak this afternoon, Fabrizio said that the route was largely rock from C2 to the bottom and in his mind now there is now doubt about climbing again on a Karakoram peak this summer. It is time to make the long journey out and recuperate in time for guiding on Cho Oyu in September, and Ama Dablam & Island Peak in October& November.

These have been difficult days for everyone in BC between the sadness of the loss of Fredrik and further dampened by the hard rain that has fallen for many days. Fabrizio described it as “Seattle rain” which fell for much of the 10th and 11th. A number of the climbers have now left including Gerlinde, Ralf, Trey and others and there are just a few very determined climbers who will remain after Fabrizio, Aziz and Farhad head out tomorrow.

Aziz, Fabrizio and Farhad on Broad Peak© Ben Kane

Askole, Skardu and Islamabad

Meagan is making her way back to Islamabad by way of Skardu while Chris and Brian have already flown to Islamabad. We expect some good reports and images from them when they get a chance. Meagan left an audio dispatch on her way and the link is below:

ExWeb has lots of updates as well and is a great place to keep up on all the other teams on the hill.

Fabrizio will be putting up a gabcast audio dispatch shortly. The Gabcast folks had a problem with their system and a new number is now set up so we should be hearing from Fabrizio daily as he makes his way back out. The torrential rain fall, which is causing a major tragedy for the Pakitani people, is making the journey out to Skardu a very difficult one with many new landslides and poor road conditions abounding. We’ll all be quite relieved when the last of our crew are home (including very much Aziz and Farhad to their homes in the Shimshal region of Hunza).

Support the Relief Effort

The news of the floods in Pakistan are grim and please consider making contributions to the agencies helping with the relief effort. The UN is looking for some 460 million dollars of donations and please take the time to send in a small (or LARGE) contribution to support these worthy efforts.

The New York times has numerous links from its articles.

Here is an article from the UN:
11 August 2010 – United Nations aid agencies and their partners today requested almost $460 million to help Pakistan assist millions of people affected by floods that have cut a swathe through the country, killing hundreds of people and destroying homes, farmland and major infrastructure.

“We have a huge task in front of us to deliver all that is required as soon as possible,” said John Holmes, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, at the launch of the humanitarian response plan at UN Headquarters in New York.
“The death toll has so far been relatively low compared to other major natural disasters, but the numbers affected are extraordinarily high. If we don’t act fast enough, many more people could die of diseases and food shortages,” added Mr. Holmes, who is also the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.
Pakistan estimates that more than 14 million people have now been affected by the emergency, with various degrees of severity.
Shelter is an urgent priority and $105 million of the $459.7 million sought is required to provide tents or plastic sheeting, as well as basic household goods, for an initial target of more than 2 million people, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
“We are working round the clock to get these items manufactured and delivered,” said Martin Mogwanja, Humanitarian Coordinator for Pakistan. “I can confidently say that the response could not be any faster.”
More than 65,000 tents have already been delivered, covering at least 450,000 people, along with plastic sheets for an estimated 60,000 people.
Up to 6 million people across the country are in need of food aid which is estimated to cost $150 million, while $5.7 million will be needed to ensure the survival of livestock. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) and its partners have so far delivered more than 4,350 tons of food to at least 370,000 people, including in the remote Swat Valley, which had been cut off from assistance until last week.
Clean water will be provided to approximately 6 million people to prevent the risk of waterborne diseases from emerging. Some $110 million is required to fund efforts to provide water to those affected by the floods. More than 1 million others have already received clean water thanks to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and its partners.
About $56 million will be required for emergency health care, covering potentially up to 14 million people, while $14 million is needed to ensure proper nutrition for children under the age of five, and for pregnant or lactating women.
Different types of medication have already been delivered for the prevention and treatment of several diseases.
“The response of the international community has so far been encouraging,” said Mr. Holmes. “It is essential that this continues,” he said, adding that “the magnitude of the disaster is sinking into the international community.”
So far, donors have committed or contributed $47 million to the response activities of the UN and its partners, and a further $99.5 million has been pledged. At least $300 million is, however, still urgently needed.
The funds requested under the initial floods emergency response plan will be revised within 30 days to reflect assessed needs as the situation evolves.
Over the course of July and early August, monsoon rainfall caused the worst floods in living memory in Pakistan. Flash floods and river valley floods have devastated large parts of the country causing an estimated 1,200 deaths. At least 288,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province, the worst affected region, intense rains during the last week of July and in early August were compounded by the swelling of major rivers due to rainwater surging down from highland areas.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department reported that within one week in late July, KPK received 9,000 millimetres of rainfall – 10 times as much as the province normally receives in the course of an entire year. Balochistan, Pakistan-administered Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan, also experienced extreme weather, resulting in widespread loss and damage.
By early August, flood waters breached the river bank in at least eight districts of Punjab, inundating homes and destroying crops and livestock. At least eight million people in Punjab have been affected by the disaster. Flooding has spread to the southern province of Sindh.
In light of the devastation caused by the floods and the ongoing threat to lives and livelihoods, the Government, through its National Disaster Management Authority, requested UN agencies and the wider humanitarian community prepare an initial floods emergency response plan.
Considering the scale of the area hit by the floods, the number of people in need of assistance is expected to rise as assessments continue and access improves. The combined population of the affected districts is around 43 million, out of Pakistan’s total estimated population of 168 million.
Response efforts have been hampered by limited access to areas with destroyed infrastructure. “Access difficulties have been mainly physical. We are trying to use any possible means of delivery, from helicopters to donkeys,” Mr. Holmes told reporters after the launch of the plan.
Insecurity in some of the affected areas – especially parts of KPK – remains unpredictable.
UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) are planning to assist vulnerable flood-affected people in up to seven different geographical areas – Balochistan, Punjab, the Federally Administered Tribal Area, Gilgit Baltistan, KPK, Pakistan-administered Kashmir and Sindh.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

K2 2010 Update: Back in BC!

from stu in the usa office
Aug 7, 2010 3pm local K2 time

Fabrizio called in quickly from BC to let us know that he and everyone who was on the hill is down now to BC. They had just arrived having taken some 9 hours to descend the normally 4-hour trip.He chose to take the sweep position ("frankly a dangerous one" he noted) and sounds like he used up al of his resources (and 100m of 5mm spectra) to get down safely. A number of ropes were cut from rockfall, avalanches danger was very high and anchors needed lots of attention. Gerlinde and Ralf gave him big hugs upon arrival and Fabrizio said it was a very emotional scene at BC for everyone.

We'll have more updates ahead after the climbers have some well earned rest.



Friday, August 6, 2010

K2 2010 Update: In C3 and headed back to BC

From Stu in the USA office
July 7, 2010 5:30 am local K2 time

At this time

I have been on the phone a number of times with Fabrizio and he spent the night safe and sound in “upper” C3 along with Kinga, Darek and Tamara. After departing C4 yesterday morning they had decided to hold at C3 as the rock fall was too significant to make a safe descent to C2 or BC during the daylight hours. A number of other climbers were in “lower” c3 and in C2 and all with plans to descend to BC today.

Fabrizio said that the tents in C3 had been destroyed and were pockmarked from the shrapnel pocked from all rocks. He said the situation remained scary due to the rockfall and that they continued to have to wear helmets while sleeping. Fabrizio noted that they were not so much looking “out” of their tents at the view so much as looking “through” their tents such was the damage to the fabric.

The plan was to leave early in the morning (3 am or so) when the mountain was colder, the rock fall at a minimum, and descend as rapidly as possible to base camp at that time. Unfortunately when they awoke the winds and snow caused them to delay leaving by a few hours. When we spoke at 5:30am local time the were readying to depart shortly.

They still have a significant descent ahead of them and we will be closely monitoring their movement until they are safely down to their tents in BC.

Events on the summit bid

After calling off his own summit bid along with a number of other climbers Fabrizio called into the FTA office to let us know his decision. He informed us at that time (approximately 6:30am local time) that Gerlinde and Fredrik were still going up but that Trey was back already. We agreed to wait a 5-6 hours to see if the weather conditions improved and it might be worth trying again tonight. About 3 hours later Fabrizio called back to let us know he was back in camp after having gone out with Darek to assist Gerlinde back from the shoulder. Apparently the conditions were very difficult with low visibility and continued winds.

At this time he let us know that there had been an accident in the Bottleneck and that Fredrik had fallen to his death. Sitting in C4 they were all devastated and coming to grips with his loss. They were also trying to make sure their heads were clear about the hard work still ahead to climb safely down from near 8000m on K2. Fabrizio said there was no question but that everyone would be heading down to lower camps at that time and they were all making preparations to descend.

The rock fall had been very bad the previous day during Ralf’s descent in the afternoon. For this reason Fabrizio was convinced to only go as far as C3, to be out of the winds, but to do the rest of the descent after some cold hours glued the mountain back together. Some climbers descended to C3 also and others further down. On the 7th they will make the final push back to BC.

This has been a very sad time for everyone climbing on K2 as Fredrik was seems to have touched and inspired everyone he came into contact with. Our team came to know him quite well and we send our condolences to his family and friends.

You can read more reports about the events on the following websites:

K2 2010 Summit Bid Update: Headed back to C3

10 am on the 6th, local time K2

We have had a short call from Fabrizio to let us know that he is heading back to C3 during the day today and will check in again when he is settled into the camp at C3. He did not have word on the other climbers decisions and movements at this time but we should hear more by later in the day. Fabrizio said the visibility remains near zero and conditions were difficult so the going will be slow.

We’ll have another update when Fabrizio calls in from C3 and share it with you then.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

K2 2010 Summit Bid Update: back in C4...may try again tonight!

From stu in the usa office
7am on August 6th, local K2 time

Just off the phone from Fabrizio who let us know that most of the climbers who set off this am are back in C4 after finding the snow and wind and poor visibility combined to make the climbing too slow and difficult. At the time he called, Gerlinde and Fredrik were still climbing up and in the region of the bottleneck. I could hear the sounds of the tents being lashed by strong winds and Fabrizio said they he felt they were in at lest the 35-40km/hr range. They began climbing in the snow which fell lightly from 11pm to 4:30am and made visibility very difficult. The winds rose during this time so as the snow fall lowered the winds were picking up and causing the fallen snow make route finding very difficult.

Fabrizio and the rest are safe in their tents which are well dug in and tied down. They have sufficient food and fuel to remain for a day and try again tonight for a summit on the 7th. The forecast is not promising but the plan is to see how the conditions change over the next 5-6 hours and then decide whether to descend or try again.

Wish Gerlinde and Fredrik good luck!!

We’ll have any updates as they arise!

K2 2010 summit push in C4. Tomorrow on Top?

From stu in the usa office
August 5, 2010

I am just off the phone with Fabrizio who (between gulps of thin air!) shared all the days news at 8pm from 8000m on K2!

Fabrizio said this was a very hard day with snow and wind in the morning accompanied by constant rockfall all day. The good news is that all of the Cesen climbers are safe and sound. Meagan is back in BC and fine (despite taking a rock in the helmet during her descent) and Ralf (who was climbing with Gerlinde) has turned back and also reached BC. All the other climbers are in their tents at C4 and brewing up! At this time they are about 100m higher than the last time up on the shoulder at near 8000m and all doing well.

With the loss of snow and the steep sections, the climbers themselves have been dislodging the loose rocks on K2 and knocking them onto climbers below. For this reason they climbed very slowly and carefully to minimize the rockfall. The climbers were additionally slowed as they replaced a number anchors which pulled out along the way. As such they needed a good 4 hours more than they expected to reach C4. This has left them less time for resting and hydrating than they had hoped, but enough to get them ready.

They will get a catnap of 3-4 hours and then get moving at 11:30 with the arduous process of dressing, putting on crampons and exiting the relative warmth and comfort of the tents. They hope to be in the move by 1am along with 500m of rope, 25 wands, anchors and hopes of topping out on K2 tomorrow!

With a route already fixed to the shoulder and the expected clearer weather to be later day 5th into the 6th we were confident that the window was the good one and the climbers and weather gods have done their part so far! We were well aware that much of this push would be made with poor visibility and accompanied by modest snowfall so the climbers mental state was ready for this. The winds this am had been seen as a possibility and fortunately they abated as the day progressed. Fabrizio said by the afternoon that the winds had dropped as expected and that they were having good visibility. We’ll hope this holds for them all the way to the summit and back to C4.

If everything comes together we’ll expect a call from the top of the world’s 2nd highest peak tomorrow – wish the climbers good luck and good weather!

Fabrizio has left an audio dispatch from the Shoulder and you can hear in his voice just how hard the day was and how hard it is to even lie in your tent and talk at 8000m! Enjoy!

Field Touring Alpine Audio Dispatches #104 - K2 2010 second summit bid in C4! Summit bid tonight!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

K2 summit bid In C3! Upcoming trips for FTA!

From Stu in the USA office
August 4, 2010

I have been on the phone with both Chris and Fabrizio today and have lots of news to report!

K2 Summit Push in C3!

On K2 the second summit push is now in C3 at 7100m and everyone on the hill is safe and sound despite a day filled with significant rockfall. Meagan decided about half way to C3 to turn back to C2 as she was feeling very poorly. She is safely in XC2 at this time and heading down to BC tomorrow very early, perhaps 5am, to avoid rockfall in the cooler hours of the day. Our two HAP’s Aziz and Farhad are in support at this time and will be helping her to bring here gear down. Fabrizio is in C3 in a tent that is pockmarked with holes from rock fall and has several backpacks stacked up against the side of the tent for safety.

The rocks falling from above may even be quite small but when the accelerate and spin they can create a very dangerous falling object. Anyone who has been caught in a couloir during warm days knows the ominous whine of a rock cutting through the air. The days are so warm right now that rocks, which have been securely glued to the icy slopes, are releasing all over the hill. Apparently the teams on the Abruzzi are also having similar challenge dodging rockfall. By tomorrow morning they will be above the rockfall and can enjoy the relative safety of C4 on K2! They hope to arrive by 1 or 2 pm and then rest and hydrate until a midnight departure for the summit.

Fabrizio has left an audio dispatch with all the news. Enjoy!

Fabrizio calls in from the rock bombarded C3 with the latest! Headed to the shoulder tomorrow and the summit that night!

Field Touring Alpine Audio Dispatches

Meanwhile back in Skardu!

Chris checked in from Skardu to let us know that all members who have left BC recently are now either safely in Skardu, Islambad or en route home. Ed and Tom are exiting by land to China and left a few days ago. They will have some rough travel ahead but looking forward to the adventure! Garth has already made his way our to Islamabad and caught a plane home. Luis, Tshering and Lakpa are in Islamabad and catching a plane to Kathmandu on the 5th and Katrina is back in Islambad and sorting her flights out.

Brian and Chris are back in Skardu and doing well. Chris is working on eating and regaining weight after losing quite a bit in the last week with his GI illness. Hi illness compounding the normal weightloss experienced when attempting 8000m peaks, Chris is pretty skinny just now! He has a month or so the pack it back on before returning to Nepal for our Autumn climbs and spending most of his day in the restaurants and walking around with hunks of cheese!

Looking Ahead

Our guides are winding up our fantastic summer in the Karakoram and we are already booking trips throughout the year ahead to keep them busy! We have trips of every level and welcome you to contact us to let us know how we can help you with a trip. At this time we have the following planned for the year ahead:

• Join Chris for Tharpu Chuli in September or October as well as Island Peak and Ama Dablam Climbs. Fabrizio will come back to lead our Cho Oyu Expedition in September and then be guiding on Island Peak and Ama Dablam through to the end of November.

• In November, December, January and February we have trips running to Ecuador Volcanoes and Aconcagua (Falso and Polish). This will mark our 9th straight season on Aconcagua where we have guided three routes on the hill a total of more than 15 times. We have renewed our efforts in Ecuador after a few years away and are excited to have had two great trips last year and have three planned for this year.

• In March we have trips to Pokalde and Island peak with Sam, Kilimajaro with Sean

• In April and May we have expeditions to Makalu, Cho Oyu, Tharpu Chuli & Singu Chuli, Cholatse, Island Peak, Ama Dablam . We also have treks to Makalu BC, Cho Oyu BC, Everest BC and to the Annapurna Sanctuary.

• Next summer we’ll have Broad Peak, Nanga Parbat and G2 along with Muztag Ata (July), Spantik (August) and Elbrus (June & August).

• We are helping with a Denali trip in late May/Early June which at this time will only be open to FTA alumni and be an unguided cooperative adventure. We have many members who have had enough experience that they no longer need to be guided on a climb like Denali and we have a core of 7000 and 8000m tested alum gathering themselves for this trip. Climbers joining the group will be arranging all matters independently but sharing common costs like, flight to the mountain, tents, rope etc. Some members are thinking of West Buttress and others of the West Ridge as well as acclimatizing on Mount Hunter. If you are an FTA alum and have been thinking about Denali, let us know and we’ll help you get connected.

• 2012 Spring will see us visit Everest for the first time with Fabrizio and Stu managing the trip. We are making plans for the north side and welcome all applicants at this time. We are likely to have a team coming from the South side as well and will have more details in the year ahead.

Exciting trips ahead and we hope you’ll join our crew for a great trip to a remote destination!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

K2 2010 Summit Push in C2!

August 3, 2010
From stu in the usa office

Fabrizio and Meagan are up in C2 and ready to move to C3 tomorrow! Fabrizio called in earlier to let us know that the conditions had been extremely warm and that stopping to hydrate had been crucial for them today. Due to the warm temps they had a lot of rockfall. After a day without mishap they are now happily above the rockfall zone and have safer climbing ahead to the Shoulder with ther route already in place. Fabrzio said that there is essentially no snow left on the lower route after the warm temps and sun. Just ice and rock at this point. IN some measure this bodes well for the upper part of the mountain where the snow was too deep the first time around. We’ll hope they find more consolidated snow from the shoulder on and will know shortly!

Some 14 climbers are on the Cesen route and represent a very strong summit group. We don’t know of the movement on the Abruzzi but we do know that a number of teams over there are hoping for a summit day on the 6th also. The teams on the Cesen have 500m of rope already stashed at the shoulder and at this point plan to operate independently of the Abruzzi teams. With stocked camps, the route set to the shoulder and calm winds ahead, this may be the best opportunity for summits on K2 this summer.

Fabrizio has left a dispatch from C2 with all the latest…enjoy!

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Gabcast! Listen to all the Field Touring Alpine Audio Dispatches at Gabcast

Monday, August 2, 2010

K2 2010 Second Summit Push Under way!

From stu in the usa office
August 2, 2010

Fabrizio has called in from BC with the latest plan for a summit bid and if all goes well they will try to summit on the 6th of August. The plan is to leave at 4am on the 3rd and head to C2 to begin the push. From our team Fabrizio and Meagan are in great position and looking forward to the climb. They will be joined on the push by a number of other climbers who they have been working the route with. The winds are forecasted to be below 20km/hr for the 4th through the 8th and, while there will be a lot of cloud cover, it appears to be just a few dustings of snow along the way. We’ll hope they have reasonable visibility but Fabrizio has 25 wands in the high camp ready to be placed to aid in any problems with finding the route on descent.

Chris was to join the push but he became pretty sick with GI illness and was sapped of the strength needed to try a summit bid. Rather than try to recuperate at BC he made the smart choice to go lower and head back to Skardu. Brian joined him with urgent business calling him hope unexpectedly. Both were were extremely disappointed as just 4-5 days ago they were stoked for the climb - acclimatized, feeling strong and rested. We are really sorry to see them go and Fabrizio and Meagan will miss them on the push.

Aziz and Farhad will be prepared to support Meagan and Fabrizio on the descent and clearing camps if the summit bid is successful. If not successful then Fabrizio and a number of the climbers plan to stay for at least one more summit bid. Fabrizio, Gerlinde and others have been to the mountain multiple times and want to stay as long as they can. Fabrizio has now spent more than a year of his life at K2 BC over the course of his trips and must feel as at home there as anywhere on the planet. He will be making his 11th climb to the shoulder on this run up the mountain and I am pretty sure he want to avoid a 12th this year!

The latest audio dispatch is below and Fabrizio will plan to leave a Gabcast each day and we’ll post it here.

Gabcast! Listen to all the Field Touring Alpine Audio Dispatches at Gabcast

We’ll have an update tomorrow on our members who are trekking out to Skardu and those trying to get to Islamabad. The floods and landslides that have claimed some 800 or more lives are wreaking havoc with ground transportation including the drive from Askole to Skardu. At this time there are military C-130 planes helping to fly people from Skardu to Islamabad so our members and gear will hopefully bypass the roads.

This is a major tragedy for people living in many parts of Pakistan and we are mindful that any inconveniences we have are just that. Being stuck for a few days in a hotel in Skardu or awaiting bags at home pales in comparison to living in a remote town with little clean water, food supplies running low and home having been washed away.

See the links below more information on the situation