K2 Climb 2016
Q&A with Jake
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.
Overall, how happy are you with the expedition so far and how confident are you in reaching the summit?
We’re really happy with how the expedition has gone so far – of course everything up until this point has just been prep for ‘the big game’ – our summit attempt. We’re as confident as we can be at this stage – the weather window is looking pretty good, with favourable conditions to make a good summit attempt. Of course, many things (that are out of our control) might happen between now and then. There are absolutely no certainties in high altitude mountaineering, especially on K2 – at this stage we’re just going to have to work hard and hope that we can get all our ducks in a row!
You had some trouble with acclimatization this time. Are you over it now and any idea why it happened?
Yes, I was suffering from some Acute Mountain Sickness, which wasn’t much fun at the time. Fortunately I got over it, and (touch wood!) haven’t been affected since.
Do you have to cross through an icefall, as one does at Everest?
Not in the same way as Everest (with ladders), but we do have to travel over a glacier to get to ABC.
In your blogs, despite there being four of you in the team, you seem to climb apart a lot of the time. Why is this?
We all climb at different speeds. I tend to climb relatively fast, and prefer to keep going without taking too many breaks in order to get into camp early and rest there. The others tend to climb a little slower and enjoy their breaks on the way. On the summit day, although we’ll set off at pretty much the same time, we’ll no doubt settle into our own pace (also dictated by the terrain and other climbers), which may mean that we don’t summit at the same time. The Sherpas will stick with us on the summit day, but that might mean that we split into 2 distinct teams.
You have written about there being a lot of people on the mountain and how sometimes there are queues to get on the ropes. Is this unusual? Is it likely to affect the summit attempt?
K2 is certainly getting more popular, the trouble with this mountain is the difficulty of the terrain meaning that it’s very difficult to pass other people, which means that queues can form. I tend not to get too frustrated, and enjoy the time resting before its my time to struggle up or over the obstacle.
Does the last bit of the summit attempt differ in any way from the previous climbing sections? Are there particularly hard/dangerous bits?
We’ll be on Oxygen all the way on the summit day – there are some difficult and famously dangerous sections on summit day, especially the bottleneck and the traverse, but hopefully once we’re over these, it’s just a slog to the top.
Is there a “de-climatisation” process you have to follow on the way back down? How long from reaching the peak to being back on a plane to the UK?
Fortunately there is no limit as to how quickly you can come back down the mountain, but what will slow our leaving the mountain is clearing all our kit off the hill. We’re not going to leave lots of rubbish, so we’ll have to go back to some camps to bring down all the kit. It’ll probably be around 8/9 days from summit to home (if all goes to plan.
Have you tidied your tent yet ?!! (sent in by Jake’s mum!)
Umm – a bit?!
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!
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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