K2 Climb 2016
Blog #41: Up we go (hopefully for the last time!)
Day 41: Camp 1 (6,050m)
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Another early start, although thankfully last night we shifted our breakfast (and leave time) back by an hour, as we’d heard that another team was also planning to leave early, and we thought that we’d allow them first dibs on the route – so that they could break trail and make life easier for us!
There is always something rather exciting about setting off for a potential summit bid, especially given the quality of the weather window that we seem to have. Packing, repacking, making sure that you have everything you want or need for a final foray up the hill. Thankfully, I’d managed to leave some of my summit paraphernalia up in C3 on our last trip (things like sponsors flags, food, high-altitude mitts etc), so actually my bag wasn’t too heavy as we trudged across the glacier towards C1. There is also a sense of constantly saying to yourself (this is the last time I’ll have to walk across this, or climb that), which given that this is now my third time (and the others fourth time) up to C1, is a welcome relief.
Arriving at BC, we donned our crampons, harnesses and helmets (which live at BC, so that we don’t have to keep carrying them backwards and forwards across the glacier). We were still in the shade as we started climbing, but you could tell it was going to be a nice (and hot) day, as there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. You just hoped that you could get as high as possible before the heat of the sun started to turn the snow slope to C1 into slush. In the end we didn’t have too long to wait until the the route turned into a furnace, and pretty soon I’d stripped off my jacket and fleece and was just climbing in a thermal top (and even then was still pretty toasty).
We arrived into C1 at about 11am, the Sherpas and HAPs had paused briefly for a drink and to drop some gear before they continued up to C2. The plan was that they would push up to C3 the following day in order to complete moving some remaining cylinders of oxygen up in preparation for our move to C4 (7900m) on Sunday and our summit bid (which would probably start late on Sunday night).
Di and I sat outside our tent basking in the warmth of the sun for 45 minutes watching a few other climbers arrive into C1. It seemed that we were the advanced party, and that there would be a large influx of climbers arriving the following day (either to go straight to C2, and therefore be on the same timeline as us, or to follow a day behind). There were also a few of the smaller teams, who hadn’t yet had sufficient acclimatisation who were desperately trying to get a couple of nights as high as possible before trying trying to hit the end of this supposedly long weather window.
Our weather report had indicated that there might be a bit of snow later in the afternoon, and at about 5pm this hit with a vengeance. Whilst we were safely snuggled in our tent (which with the sun on in was lovely and warm inside), the winds started picking up, and the spindrift started hitting the tent. The thing about spindrift (wind blown snow), is that if there is the slighted opening (or hole) in the tent, then the spindrift will find a way in. This also means that when you need to open the tent door to light the stove, or go to the loo, you get a flurry of snow and ice blown into the tent, which makes any job that takes place outside of the tent a bit of a mission. As you can probably tell, it’s one thing to get a bit of snow inside the tent if you’re opening the door to light the stove, it’s a completely different (and unpleasant) experience to fight your way out to and then stand/squat in these conditions to answer the call of nature. When you’re safely inside, you can’t help but laugh as you hear the squeals of your tent partner as they get an icy enema outside!
Jake Meyer 2016 K2 Expedition fundraising in support of Walking With The Wounded
Please note, that Jake’s comments are his alone (as are his spelling and grammar mistakes and poor jokes), and do not represent the views of any of the Sponsors, Expedition affiliates or Expedition Team Members. All praise/complaints to Jake on his safe return.
More K2 blogs:
Although the summit attempt is over, there is still a challenge ahead: getting everything and everyone safely off the mountain…
It is with deep regret that Jake announces that the expedition is over, and the UK team will be heading home.
The Savage Mountain maintains its reputation, as Jake and the team’s worst fears are confirmed as they reach Camp 3.
In wild and windy conditions, Jake bravely leaves Camp 2 and battles his way up the mountain.
Just before he left to make his summit attempt, we put to Jake some questions that had been sent in for him via Twitter, Facebook and the K2 2016 newsletter.
Day 40: Basecamp 5000m… but not for long!
Clear blue skies and an encouraging weather forecast mean that Jake and the team are making their final preparations for their attempt to reach the summit of K2!
Day 38 & 39: Basecamp 5000m
With the day of the summit attempt just round the corner, the team enjoy some birthday cake before the final dramatic push begins!
Day 36 & 37: Basecamp 5000m
As the team wait out some bad weather in basecamp, Jake ruminates on just how dependent on the weather gods a successful summit attempt is…
Day 35: Basecamp 5000m
Jake has gone from the visceral thrill of climbing up to 7300m, to getting excited about KitKats and margerita-flavoured jelly shots…
Day 34 – Basecamp Rest Day, 5000m
The weather report says that summit winds are 75 knots today. However galling it was to have to come all the way back down the mountain, we definitely made the right decision.
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