I’ve been getting some reports regarding the status of the Broad Peak and K2 Ski Expeditions going on the the Himalaya right now, and it seems as though bad weather currently has them on hold. Both teams have made it up to Camp 3 on their perspective peaks, but were forced back to basecamp due to high winds and whiteout conditions. You can read the latest update on the K2 Expeditions here and below is an email I received Pete Swensen who is on Broad Peak. It sounds as though the skiing on Broad Peak is a grim right now and after reading Pete’s account, I wonder how one skis on belay on a fixed line? It sure doesn’t sound like very much fun. -Steve
Basque team camps in a crevasse at Camp 3 on Broad Peak.
This morning at breakfast Javi said “My camp 2 tent is in China.” I told him “Don’t worry, we used ice screws to put it in. He said, “For sure the ice screws will still be there”. We got blown off Broad Peak just 200m below camp 3 due to wind and unplanned-for mixed climbing, but by then the Basque party had finished fixed lines for that stretch so we sort of lucked out. By then the Basques also had dug into a crevasse via an innocent looking hole at at an anchor and put up their tent in it. Total pros! The snowpack between c3 and c2 is 1-1.5′ of powder sitting on blue glacial ice. I tried a ski belay on the fixed line, some turns – after passing 4 knots and lots of gasping, I was 20m from Beni who’d left his crampons on and walked down the line. So…that means no skiing from camp 3 to 2.
Sleeping at 23,000 ft./ camp 2 is a farce: like mixing up pages of ’100 Years of Solitude’ – with no character development, a haze of short daydreams interrupted by anyone in the tent rolling over, farting or coughing. And along with me in my sleeping bag were:boot liners, 2pr. socks, ski pants, batteries, Nutella and water bottles – base camp looks really good after that.
The ski down from camp 2 yesterday am with full packs on frozen spring snow debris was something I don’t ever need to repeat; at the bottom Beni grinned at me and said “that was near to death skiing”, sort of a German upgrade of “no fall skiing”. 2/3 of my party is involved in the World Cup semi-final, this can have no good ending… Our future plans are in the hands of Swiss Meteo as we’re waiting on this evening’s weather report. Whatever we do, Thuraya (Asian cell-phone carrier) is minting rupees off the “novia line” as we’ve come to call it. At the moment Broad Peak is spinning off huge lenticular clouds into China and K2 just a few km away is making its own weather (as is the norm) and is covered in fog. I need to learn the Bali word for patience; inshallah probably covers it.