K2 Climb 2016

Blog #18: What a difference a day makes / A Baltoro Mystery

28/06/16: Day 18 –
Basecamp, 5000m

Wow – I drop one tablet of Diamox and I feel like a new man. I can’t for a moment pretend that I had a perfect night, but in comparison to the previous few nights, it might as well have been. For anyone who has ever used Diamox, they’ll know that that two most commonly associated side-effects are severe pins and needles, and needing to pee a lot (which is especially tedious at night).

So, whilst the killer headache at night has gone, the general fever and malaise had dissipated and the Cipro has worked wonders with my gastro-intestinal issues, I just had to make a number of trips outside the tent in the cold of the night to pee like a proverbial racehorse. Small punishment in exchange for shedding the headaches. I was also able to regulate my temperature much better, neither being too hot, nor too cold in my sleeping bag.

This morning I had a smile on my face and a spring in my step as I waved goodbye to the Diplomat trekkers and skipped over to the dining tent. “Good morning all” I jovially exclaimed as I dived in, however I very quickly realised that it was anything but…

A Baltoro Mystery

Our Army Liaison Officer, Lieutenant Fahad had been enjoying a fun evening playing cards with some of the other Liaison Officers in Captain Hamad’s tent in the Korean Team encampment. After several rounds of ‘Shithead’ (which we must sadly claim responsibility for teaching him) he returned, by himself the 50m back to our camp. It was dark, and the low clouds, whilst blocking the light from the moon and the stars, meant that it was a relatively warm -5C. Exhausted after a long day’s liaising, sleeping, eating and generally chilling out, Fahad was looking forward to crawling into the sanctity of his tent and collapsing into the warm embrace of his sleeping bag. However, his ascent to his dreamscape was not to be what he expected.

Victim Statement:

“Upon reaching my tent I tried to open the zipper on the fly sheet so that I could get inside. Low and behold, I was shocked to find that someone (a yet unknown perpetrator or perpetrators) had cable tied it shut. I didn’t know what to do. I thought that I might freeze to death out here on the glacier. Who would do such a thing to me, and why?”

Who indeed…

Fortunately, the nefarious elements responsible for such a heinous crime had under-estimated Lt Fahad’s substantial military training, and especially his ability to adapt, improvise and overcome, and he promptly fetched a pair of pliers from the tool kit in the dining tent, snipped the cable tie and went to bed. Whilst he slept like a baby, when morning came, Lt Fahad was determined to find the criminal responsible for a crime which might have been considered ‘Attempted Murder!’ With a sole piece of evidence, in the form of the (cut) black, 20cm plastic cable tie, and a camp full of suspects, each with their own potential motives – the game was afoot.

Any investigation seeks to find those with the motive, means and opportunity to commit the crime. No one was excluded from the list of potential suspects at the outset, and only as statements were taken, witnesses interviewed, were we able to start narrowing the list to those who might have been responsible.

Statements had corroborated that the night before the crime had been committed, as the members of the expedition had left at 0200 to climb to Camp 1, that it had been noted that Fahad’s fly sheet had been open. Later that day, on the return of the climbers, Fahad had been teased about his ‘midnight open door policy’, and warned that this sign might be seen as an open invitation. Fahad had laughed this off as a mistake and that ‘surely no one would try and get into (his) tent in the middle of the night’.

However, it seemed like someone wanted to teach Fahad about night-time tent security. A lesson which might have very well cost young, innocent Fahad his life.

So it stands to reason that any number of people might have motive to ‘teach him a lesson’. Fingers were immediately pointed at Paul, who had been overheard saying ‘We need to teach him a lesson’.


Initially, this was a confusing one. The expedition has indeed been using 20cm cable ties to secure porter loads and baggage. However we’ve been using white cable ties, not black ones. Perhaps other expeditions had used black cable ties, and that the perpetrator was from another team? Then we found out that Paul had his own supply of black cable ties, which matched the one found at the crime scene.


The new, innovative card table

The crime was committed some time between 1945, when Lt Fahad last checked his tent, and 2100, when he returned to the shocking scene. The expedition members (all except Mingma and JB, who had gone to bed early) had stayed in the dining tent until approximately 2015, when they had taken their freshly filled hot water bottles and gone to their tents. It was dark at this point, and under serious questioning, one witness admitted to seeing a Paul-shaped person walking from his tent, across the camp in the direction of Fahad’s tent.

Of course, all good mysteries have a twist at the end that one one sees coming. A point at which the obvious suspect (who had pleaded their innocence throughout) manages to absolve themself, and suddenly all of the random scraps of evidence falls into place


The Korean Team slaughter a yak for their dinner

to form a complete jigsaw that places a previously minor character as the detective’s arch enemy.

Unfortunately, this is not a good mystery. Upon further questioning, Paul cracked under the pressure and sang like a canary: “Yes it was me. I admit that I did it – I never liked the guy anyway – he said that I was 50 when I had only turned 40. It’s not my fault that I’ve had a hard paper round, but no one deserves to be defamed like that. I’m pleased I cable-tied his tent – I’d do it again if I could: only next time I’d hide the pliers”.

On the strength of that confession, Paul was sentenced to solitary confinement in his tent for a period of 10 minutes, without parole.

The guilty had been brought to trial. Justice prevailed. Case closed.

In other news, we managed to get another box in the Ops tent, and have covered it in material to make a card table, I washed some clothes, we had pizza and chips for lunch and the Korean Team slaughtered a Yak for it’s meat.

Never a dull day in Basecamp on K2.


Jake Meyer 2016 K2 Expedition fundraising in support of Walking With The Wounded

www.k22016.com @k2climb2016 @jakeclimber Youtube: K2climb2016

Sponsored by:

The Inspirational Development Group, Patron Capital Partners, The Thomson Fraser Group, The Bremont Watch Company, Arqiva, Cotswold Barristers

Supported by:

Snow and Rock, Mountain Hardwear, Wessex RFCA, The Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Yeomanry Association

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.

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