K2 Climb 2016
Blog #40 : Sun is shining… weather is sweet, yeah!
Day 40: Basecamp 5000m… but not for long!
What a difference a day makes. Awoken with the (recently unfamiliar) feeling of being slowly cooked in our own tents, we clambered out to find it was the most perfect day. Not a cloud in the sky! Bright blue overhead, the perfect white snow glistening on the peaks and the sun hovering like a heat lamp.
The sides of the mess tent were rolled up, giving breakfast an al fresco feeling, and after breakfast we had our first showers for a week, and starting sorting out kit for our potential summit attempt. As well as sorting gear for our (hopefully) final time up the hill, we also needed to start thinking about arranging kit for our outbound journey, especially trying to work out how many porters we’d need.
Obviously porters don’t hang around BC in the same way they hang around Askole, so all porters need to be ‘ordered’, and we have to be as close as possible to the number we need.
We had an ‘unofficial’ summit attempt on our last rotation. I say ‘unofficial’, as it was a bit of a chancer to see how far we’d get. It all depended on the weather, and when we’d set off, the weather had possibly been looking alright for summit attempt, although this had then closed in by the time we got to C3.
This time the weather is looking more consistent and much better for a proper summit attempt. We will look to get one last confirmatory weather forecast this afternoon/evening, but all being good, we’ll be setting off at 0330 tomorrow morning (21st July), with a view to attempt to summit on the 25th (Monday). Please keep your fingers and toes crossed and pray to whoever you pray to, for good weather for the next 5 or 6 days!
After a week of enforced rest (and boredom) at Basecamp, I’m filled with a mixture of excitement and trepidation at the thought of going back up the mountain. Not trepidation because I’m worried about any danger associated with a summit attempt (although I’d be naïve to think that there wasn’t any risk), but more because we’re pretty much at the stage where the outcome of the expedition will be decided, one way or another.
As a naturally positive person, I am strongly hopeful for a successful summit, but I am also realistic in my understanding that there are many variables (most of them outside of my control) which may affect the outcome one way or another. ‘Hope is not a strategy’, and therefore there is no point kidding myself that blind faith alone will secure our objective. We must work together, we must stay strong, focused and driven in the pursuit of our aim but we must recognise when we need to make the tough decisions.
From the outset of this venture, our main aim has always been to undertake a British Expedition to K2 in which we all return home safe and sound. The ‘summit’ is merely a bonus, and whilst it is a juicy and tempting one, we must not lose sight of our main aim in pursuit of this secondary, albeit sexy, one.
At the moment, everyone is around camp enjoying the nice weather – as I type, I can hear the Sherpas outside the Ops Tent having their photos taken by Pete in front of the mountain! No doubt later on people will be thinking more about their own part in the next five/six days. Once we leave tomorrow morning, bar anything major causing us to turn back before we make a concerted effort for the summit (and by that I mean leaving C4 in an attempt to climb to the top), then we’re in for a penny, in for a pound.
Who knows what will actually happen over the next week or so: I obviously hope that we are successful, but most importantly that we are safe. If that means having to turn back on summit day because we are too slow, or too cold, then so be it. From my point of view – just getting to C4 (7900m) will be a triumph, as it’ll be higher that I got last time I was here (7700m in 2009). Crossing the 8000m line will be even better, and a successful summit would be the best.
I’m not going to prolong this blog with ‘ifs and buts’, I obviously look forward to updating you all on what we achieved (summit or otherwise), when I hopefully return back to BC next Tuesday or Wednesday and I will be sending short updates via the Delorme (text messaging service) which my IDG colleagues will then forward via Twitter and Facebook. The Delorme is also my tracker, so you can follow my actual location as I go on this page. For those who really want the moment by nail-biting moment updates – tune in on Sunday night, early Monday morning to see where we are.
Thanks for following thus far. I hope that I can do you all proud.
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.
Jake’s summit attempt begins, and he is joined by an enjoyable partner – clear skies and warm sunshine!
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 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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