Base Camp – Day 1

Stuart just finished the trek into K2 Base Camp (BC) and has sent photos of his new home for the next couple months.

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The 130 km trek into K2 Base Camp starts in Askole, Northeastern Pakistan which is at 9,200 ft ASL. K2 Base Camp this year is at 16,667 ft ASL which is a altitude gain of 7,467 ft over six days of trekking.

 

 

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Our two K2 expedition have a total of 15 climbers for K2 for 2016. In addition to the 300 porters traveling with our climbers into K2 and the 300 plus porters that have delivered loads to Base Camp a week early, we also has over 100 mules, donkeys and horses carrying loads as well. This photo is of some of the mules, donkeys and horses arriving at 8:30 AM June 22, 2016 to K2 Base Camp on a cool snowy morning.

 

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Porters, sherpa’s and climbers arrive to K2 Base Camp on June 22, 2016 after a seven-day trek in, with one rest day.

 

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Our Nepalese Sherpas are putting the climbing ropes that are used for fixed lines on K2 into their packs ready for tomorrow. Our six sherpas will leave tomorrow to establish the route to ABC (Advanced Base Camp) on the glacier further around K2 and at the base of the Abruzi Ridge, where we will start to climb K2. Once the route is established the Pakistani high altitude porters will carry all the tents, fuel, supplies and equipment to ABC and the Sherpas will establish the route up the Abruzi Ridge on K2 to camp 1. The climbers will follow in their first rotation.

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Muhammad Ibrahim, our Super Porter Chief and local Pakistani guide and his helper are at the edge of K2 Base Camp to meet and record every Porter and their load for their regular expedition payment and their tip for delivering their approximately 25 kg load to K2 Base Camp.

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A Nepalese Lama and sherpas perform a puja ceremony for all the climbers, sherpas and high altitude porters that will be climbing K2, to pray for their safe passage and return from K2.

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Good morning Pakistani style. While at Base Camp our kitchen staff prepare and deliver Balistan tea to our personal sleeping tents at our get out of tent time. All the climbers and guides have a personal three person tent to themselves at Base Camp. On the trek into Base Camp we share two persons to a tent. While climbing on K2 the camping spaces are very limited and dangerous, so we will be sleeping two to three people to a tent.

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Our camp chef Antony Dubber from the UK and our Pakistani cook Karim Kham prepare lunch in our climbers cook tent. We also have four Pakistani kitchen helpers shown in the back of the photo who are Khadim Hussain, Mohsin Khan, Hussan and Mirza Muhammad.

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It’s a bit of a mind boggling system of wires, plugs, batteries, solar panels and modems to keep all the electronics, power and communication requirement going all the time at K2 Base Camp. Our achilles heal is the satellite modems to keep our Internet running reliably. Ahhhhh!!!!! ????

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Once we arrive at K2 Base Camp, Antony Dubber, our western camp chef from England and Karim Kham, our Paskistani cook are inspecting and inventorying all of the food and supplies delivered to our K2 Camp.

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Aang Phurba Sherpa, (Sirder or Sherpa boss) is preparing piles of ice screws and carabenas to use to attach ropes up K2 called “fixed lines” in all the icy, steep and dangerous areas for the climbers, sherpas and high altitude porters to attach to while climbing K2.

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When the 300 plus Porters complete their 130 km and seven day journey to K2 Base Camp, the two expedition leaders, Garrett Madison from Madison Mountaineering and Andreas Neuschmid from Kobler and Partner tip all the 300 Porters and nine Porter Chiefs. In past expeditions the expedition leader have tried to thank and tip every Porter personally, but it took so long and was pandemonium to organize. It also resulted in some porters jumping back in line two or three times as the line was so long. So they changed the system to tip each of the nine Porter Chiefs and they in turn tip their 30 to 40 porters. This photo is of Garrett and Andreas thanking and tipping the nine Porter Chiefs.

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Pasung Sherpa and Ongdi Sherpa are two of our six climbing sherpa’s that we have brought from Nepal as high altitude climbing experts to assist with the K2 climb. This photo is of Pasung and Ongdi collecting gravel to level the floors of the dining and cooking tents as we set up K2 Base Camp.

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Mules, donkeys and horses stand waiting at K2 Base Camp for their 130 km return journey to Askole.

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Pakistani high altitude porters are preparing pickets (aluminum stakes) and attached ropes to drive into the snow to tie the fixed line ropes too, so the climbers, sherpas and high altitude porters will attach too and stay safer while climbing K2.

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Our expedition banner is on our communications and office tent as you enter our camp.

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Our first meal in our new dining tent at K2 Base Camp. From left to right: Antony Dubber, UK (our chef); Mark Shuttleworth, UK; klara Polakova, Chech; Semba Takayasu, Japan; Garret Madison, USA (expedition leader); Peter Juraka, Chech (photographer); Shinji Tamura, Switzerland (climbing guide); Rene Bergsma, Holland; Stuart Erskine, Canada.

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Stuart with part of the base of K2 in the background as the Sherpa’s set up the Puja alter for the Sherpa Puja ceremony today. During the ceremony the Lama blesses all the Sherpas, climbers and the high altitude porters a safe climb on K2 and a safe return to Base Camp.

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As we arrived at K2 Base Camp Shinji Tamura our climbing guide on K2 is putting together our solar and battery system for charging all our electronic equipment, running our lights for tents and running our theatre system. Yes, we have a movie projector and surround sound and watch movies at Base Camp most nights in the dinning tent once the sun goes down and gets cold. Shinji is originally from Osaka, Japan and lives in Zermatt, Switzerland where he is a guide and owns a travel agency.

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A panorama of K2 in the middle left, Broad Peak to the right and to the right is the Godwin Austin Glacier that flows down from K2 and Broad Peak to Concordia, which is the junction of the Godwin Austin glacier and the Baltoro glacier.

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Sunset on K2 from K2 Base Camp. K2 is the second highest mountain in the world at 8,611 metres or 28,251 ft. The actual summit is hidden behind the peak that is showing.

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Sunset on Broad Peak from K2 Base Camp. Broad Peak is the twelfth highest mountain in the world at 8,051 metres or 27,414 ft.