Arrived Broad Peak North Summit July 8th
10 Jul, 04 - 02:56
The past two days were excellent for climbing! After our second summit attempt Rory and I went to base camp for some rest and recuperation. On the July fifth we got news that the British and Swiss expeditions were going for an attempt on the South Peak. Rory and I began to discuss how we could also get into summit position.
After two rest days I left base camp with Rory, Alfred, Fred, Sergei and Alexander. The goal was to reach the 22,000 ft camp. I pulled into camp at 9:30 AM just seven hours after our departure. The afternoon was warm and sunny allowing the gear to sun dry. The Swiss and British teams were camped up at 23,500 ft.
At 2:30 AM the morning of July 8th we headed up the headwall above camp. My legs were absent of their usual spring. In addition, the granola and instant soy meal was sitting like a brick in my gut. Around 4:00 AM the sky began to display the surroundings. Masherbrum shone in sunlight before the other peaks of the Karakoram. Rory and I had just caught up with the Swiss and British groups near 24,000 ft. along the traverse toward the col. The leaders of the pack were breaking trail along a similar path that we had climbed five days previous. Although there were over twenty climbers only five were breaking trail. Climbing past our previous high point the snow was mid-thigh. Some of the lead group wanted to turn back claiming progress was "impossible". We were 100 meters below the col. I explained that as a group we could gain the pass in under 1.5 hours. From the col the summit is 200 vertical meters. The decision was made to continue and the lead rotation progressed up to the col at 25,900 ft. We arrived at the col at 11:30 AM.
I began the climb up the ridge and was joined by Rory and Mario in breaking trail. There was a 30 foot section of exposed rock ridge that was a bit exciting. On one side of the ridge was China 9,000 feet below and on the other side the steep rock and snow of Pakistan. On the entire east side of the ridge were large overhanging cornices.
The three of us spent three hours breaking trail in soft snow up the ridge. The Italian named Mario was really doing a good job helping to break trail.
At 2:30 PM we reached the North summit on the South Peak. The true summit lay beyond another 45 minutes. The true summit is 26,551 ft (8,047 m.) , and the fore summit that we reached was 26,499 ft (8,030 m.). A combination of changing weather, deep snow conditions and physical fatigue caused me to turn back before I reached the true summit.
I am pleased to reach my first peak with a height of over 8,000 meters. Rory, Alfred and I were the first members of the International Broad Peak and K2 Expedition to reach this height on either K2 or Broad Peak. Mario, a Swiss client and guide Richard were also on top with us. Check out the MPEG from the North summit.
We made our way slowly back to 22,000 ft camp. Following a 16 hour climb and safe descent I began to brew up back in camp. The weather began to change rapidly. By 10 PM the storm had arrived. The winds grew and the snow began to drift against the tent. It was time to pull the pin and escape the ridge before the avalanche danger became considerable. Alfred, Rory and I descended down through Camp 2 and arrived back to K2 base camp this morning, July ninth.
I am going to take five or six days to rest before switching gears for K2. I'll keep you posted on base camp happenings.