Fun at Base Camp

Hello everyone, this post is full of miscellaneous information. There are photos of the first rotation, camp life and a drone!

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Petr climbing to Camp 1 on K2 at 20,000 ft or 6,100 meters ASL with his camera equipment and drone in his backpack.

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Looking up K2 from Camp 2. The weather is very fickle and highly changeable on K2, which ads to the other dangers on this mountain. The top you see here is far from the summit, which is still about 6,500 ft from this location of Camp 2. Note the tents that are destroyed by previous bad weather and how the current tents are tied down in preparation for bad weather.

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Our first rotation. This is Camp 2 on K2 in the middle of summer at 22,000 ft or 6,700 meters ASL. K2 is a steep, inhospitable and dangerous place when the weather is not on your side. High winds and blowing snow kept us in our tents for 36 hours, before we retreated in bad weather back down the steep mountainside of K2. From Camp 2, to Camp 1, to Advanced Base Camp (ABC) to Base Camp in one day. From Camp 2 at 22,000 ft to ABC at 17,500 ft is 4,500 ft altitude loss, of which about 80% of it has to be repelled on a rope as its too steep to free climb or arm wrap a rope down.

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One of our storage tents. This tent is attached to the kitchen tent for the climbers and guides.

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A typical Base Camp lunch for the climbers and guides which is prepared by our chef Antony and his five kitchen helpers. While at Base Camp meal times are typically 8:00 AM, 1:00 PM and 6:30 PM.

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Our six Sherpas, six Pakistani high altitude porters and our five Pakistani kitchen helpers have a welcomed break from camp maintenance with some Balstani, a sweet local Pakistani tea and biscuits

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Our Sherpas collect small rocks and gravel to repair the floor of the climbers and guides dinning tent.

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Two Pakistani army helicopters have flown from Skardu to K2 Base Camp (50 minutes one way) to evacuate one climber that has altitude sickness. Pakistani military protocol when flying in the K2 region is that military helicopters must travel in pairs and one must be under surveillance at all times, while the other helicopter performs the work. One helicopter is landed here and the other is flying around us in large circles, but in the background of this photo. There are no private helicopter operators allowed to operate in this area of northeastern Pakistan. Therefore the cost for evacuation from K2 is over US$20,000 per person one way. K2 is on the left and Broad Peak in on the right with the Godwin Austin glacier in that middle. K2 Base Camp is behind the landed helicopter.

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Mark Shuttleworth from the UK was one of five climbers with Madison Mountaineering 2016 USA International K2 Expedition. Mark was evacuated by two Pakistan military helicopters after injuring his knee climbing to Camp 2 on K2 in early July 2016. This photo is of Mark and the pilots in Skardu, northeastern Pakistan.

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A morning panorama of K2 to the left and Broad Peak in the middle, both are one of the fourteen highest 8,000 metre mountains of the world. The Godwin Austin glacier is flowing down from the left, which is the border with China and Pakistan and heading down to the right towards the junction of Concordia and meeting and becoming part of the Baltoro Glacier.

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Petr Jan Juracka from Pardubice, Czeh Republic is a professional photographer and has come to K2 with Klara Kolouchoua who is also from the Chez Republic and is climbing K2 on the Madison Mountaineering US International team. Petr brought two DJI Chinese Phantom 3 Advanced drones to take arial photographs and videos of Klara and our K2 expedition. Petr is a great photographer and drone pilot and has got some amazing photos and video on the expedition. On the expedition Petr has been flying in a variety of weather conditions and at altitudes between 15,000 to over 20,000 ft, which presents a lot of challenges and a mishap as you’ll see in one of the other drone photos.

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Petr flying one of his drones at K2 Base Camp with K2 in the background. In this photo Petr is landing the drone after a flight, directly into his hand.

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Petr flying one of his drones at K2 Base Camp with K2 in the background.

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Petr flying one of his drones at Camp 1 on K2 which is at 20,000 ft or 6,100 metres ASL. He flew for three minutes which could be the highest altitude drone flight for this type of commercial drone.

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A banner on one of our tents in K2 Base Camp shows our route up K2 and the location of the camps.