CLICK FOR TEAM NEWS AT A GLANCE
Summer of Storms
Monday, August 28, 2000
"Some feel better we were chased off by yet another storm. It was a summer of storms be it the weather or the discord between members...."
Wednesday, August 23, 2000
"At Camel Dump, poised on a hillside at the snout of the glacier, we got one last spectacular glimpse of K2, bowing in a final encore of alpenglow...."
One Last, Desperate Attempt
Thursday, August 17, 2000
"The climbers are on the route, having spent a night at Camp 2, and planning to trudge up to Camp 3 tonight. Their grueling schedule calls for them to climb tomorrow to Camp 4..."
So We Wait
Sunday, August 13, 2000
"We wait for the weather to clear. We wait as the food runs low. We wait as humor wanes and the itch for home, daily showers, good food, flush toilets..."
Pushing Climbers' Spirits
Friday, August 11, 2000
"...cooperation between the five separate teams here increases like foreign battalions uniting in the face of a common enemy...."
Eleven Days and Counting
Thursday, August 10, 2000
"At 3am that night, another series of spindrift slides hit the camp. Mike and I had been sleeping with knives on strings around our necks, thinking we might need to cut our way out of the tents...."
Day of Descent
Wednesday, August 9, 2000
"Yesterday was a day of descent for all teams involved ...Today, the weather has improved and the climbers are feeding and resting in preparation for what could be the final push...."
Camp 4 Possible
Tuesday, August 8, 2000
"Today's intentions of the climbers at Camp 3 were to work towards Camp 4, our final camp on K2. Yesterday, the Japanese team fixed approximately 150 meters of rope in chest deep snow!..."
Back in SoCal
Monday, August 7, 2000
"For those of you following the K2000 dispatches and need to know what happened to me after leaving ABC late in July, rest assured, I made it home safely on August 4...."
Saturday, August 5, 2000
"Some have said I am arrogant to avoid the other 8,000 meter peaks and jump right to the plumb of Himalayan climbing..."
Deep Snow, Heavy Winds
Friday, August 4, 2000
"We hoped the weather would hold because our success depends on the efforts of all the teams combined. Unfortunately, the snow came back and the Tibetans are now stuck at Camp 2 in deep snow and heavy winds...."
Tuesday, August 1, 2000
"The members of the K2000 Expedition would like to give thanks to the Chinese National K2 Team for the many gifts that they have given us...."
Leading at 25,000 Feet
Monday, July 31, 2000
" Before this trip, Gill James had never been above Denali's Football Field at 19,500 feet. On this occasion, he had the sharp end of the rope, leading to more than 7,500 meters (25,000 feet), our high point so far...."
Camp 3 Within Reach
Saturday, July 29, 2000
"As I scan the mountain today, they look like they are getting very close and may have it in position by late tomorrow or the next day...."
Amateurs are the Lifeblood
Monday, July 24, 2000
"In my nearly 20 years of climbing, I have often been surprised at the poor climbing performance, but skilled personal promotion of professional climbers (not all but some). It is all about hype...."
Sunshine at Last
Saturday, July 22, 2000
"After three weeks of snowstorms on K2, the Americans and Japanese forged the first upward progress since June 29 on the North Ridge climbing route..."
Friday, July 21, 2000
"An impossibly huge avalanche has just swept through darkness, and blasted our tents with wind and shards of ice...."
I'm on Vacation
Thursday, July 20, 2000
"...there are just not enough days left on my schedule to practically contemplate a summit attempt. It's time for me to go home...."
Sunday, July 16, 2000
"...as we 18 fallible adults wander restlessly around a glacier at the foot of K2, planning and conspiring and re-grouping and accusing and apologizing and disagreeing, I find myself trying to maintain perspective (and sanity) by thinking about all the things we have to be thankful for..."
Snow is a Four-Letter Word
Saturday, July 15, 2000
"We thought the weather turned in our favor the night before last. At least we fooled ourselves into thinking so. All of us want so much for the snow to stop, any opportunity to climb this route is a reason to act....."
Technology a Double-Edged Sword
Wednesday, July 12, 2000
"The computers, sat phones, and digital cameras that were welcomed at the start of the expedition have magnified the stress. Their constant presence has made routine ABC arguments larger than life..."
Rift Between Teams Heightens
Wednesday, July 12, 2000
"'They didn't like us going up in a day when no one went up because they realized they could have,' Ponce de León said. "That was just pure envy...'"
Cooperation of Teams
Sunday, July 9, 2000
"'I would have never showed up here without any rope if I hadn't called Jeff first...I'm not that irresponsible...'"
Up for Adoption
Friday, July 7, 2000
"With limited resources of their own, those two international teams hope to hitch a ride on our ropes. But the notion of outright adoption leads to some lighthearted musings..."
Patience is a Game
Thursday, July 6, 2000
"...in the end, everything we do is calculated to take as much time as possible, and to minimize the risk of interpersonal conflict in an already volatile atmosphere..."
Private Family Matter
Thursday, July 6, 2000
"Like ANY large expedition we will have and, in a sense, are entitled to our own disagreements and free license to settle them to best meet our climbing objectives. The exact words and content of our discussions is a 'private family matter.'"
Praise for Alzner
Wednesday, July 5, 2000
"While I have been at the blunt end of Jeff's caustic comments, I have also seen him stop crises in their tracks...."
Brewing in Base Camp
Monday, July 3, 2000
"What a concept; thank God I brought the brew kit! What Himalayan expedition is complete without the ability to make alcoholic beverages?"
Sunday, July 2, 2000
"Reading, eating, resting, playing bridge, and miscellaneous minor fretting are the predominant activities. Paul's team is the most impatient...."
Gravity is a Fickle Lover
Saturday, July 1, 2000
"As soon as you move in any other direction, however, things are quite different. Up, for example. Gravity does not like up...."
Thursday, June 29, 2000
"...an international tent community has sprung up on the glacier below made up of climbers planning to use the same ropes...."
posted Wednesday, June 28, 2000
Saturday, June 24, 2000
"There was the big crack, and I saw part of it peel away, the high part of the serac, planted both tools and put my head down...."
Stretch Out Your Imagination
Wednesday, June 28, 2000
"Just try to prepare yourself for uncontrollable fear, when you first step on perhaps the greatest mountain in the world for the first time. Prepare yourself for the toughest days of your life, only to find yourself a quarter of the way up it...."
Run Out the Orange Line
Tuesday, June 27, 2000
"Travelling up and down the line is like being cast adrift in a white sea with only a thin orange line for reference..."
Camp 1 Established
Monday, June 26, 2000
"the expedition succeeded in fixing the lines up to and 100 meters beyond Camp 1...."
Understanding the Logistics
Friday, June 23, 2000
"What gear takes priority? The answer is climbing rope, ice screws, pickets and pitons of course and maybe some ice tools and crampons...."
The K2000 Diet Plan
Thursday, June 22, 2000
"Just this morning I interrupted a really stimulating conversation about expedition members' sexual fantasies and pecadillos to ask what they would REALLY like for dinner tonight... "
Thankful for the Porters
Wednesday, June 21, 2000
"Without their support, there is no way we would succeed on K2, and if we do succeed, they deserve just as much credit as the summit team...."
Tuesday, June 20, 2000
"Of all the things to grow tired of humping! Of course, this is humping in the form of lugging loads of food and supplies up the entire length of the K2 glacier. The blasted thing is 24km long..."
Like the Weathered Landscape
Monday, June 19, 2000
"If I carry these loads long enough, will the pack on my back turn into a hunk of granite? Will my hair hang straight down my back like an icicle? Will my feet sink into the mud at the bottom of a green glacial lake, until I am rooted in place?"
Welcome Rest Day
Sunday, June 18, 2000
"Today is a welcome rest day for me, a brief respite from the arduous task of ferrying loads from the midway point up to ABC. I have washed my hair, my socks, and my et cetera, the first warm water bathing session I've had since we left Yecheng some two eons ago..."
Clear Sky Views
Friday, June 16, 2000
"Sunscreen is a must as the team enjoys a cloudless and temperate spate of perfect weather that has continued for nearly a week...."
Losing the Ketchup
Thursday, June 15, 2000
"The other big misfortune today was that one of our ketchup bottles exploded. Now at home I would just go to the store and buy another. Out here, we cry over spilt milk and lick the bottle...."
Moving to ABC
Wednesday, June 14, 2000
"Half of the team has moved up from here at the Camel Dump to the midway point at 15,000' in order to make an assault on ABC tomorrow, while the rest of us clean up, repack, organize, supervise and basically hang out..."
Tuesday, June 13, 2000
"What about the flashes of light that you can see when you're up above 24,000 feet, looking down on the Earth's atmosphere? What about learning to swear in nine different languages at Base Camp?"
Were Envelopes Bigger 70 Years Ago?
Monday, June 12, 2000
"Tilman must have been on Jeff Alzner's mind one day in May, 1998, as he sat in a tent at 14,000 feet on Denali, scribbling on the back of an envelope, hatching plans to climb K2..."
Sunday, June 11, 2000
"...the veil suddenly lifted. The clouds obscuring the horizon of the glacier dissipated, and there it was the upper third of K2..."
Friday, June 9, 2000
"Righteous? Weeded? I make a mental note to add these two terms to my rapidly expanding K2000 vocabulary... The only things we have in common are our nationality and our passion for K2, and now our vocabulary, the 'K2000 vernacular'....."
Crossing the Shaksgam
Thursday, June 8, 2000
"Not on your side is the water's speed, temperature, opaque gray color and uncertain depth. The proper technique is to take a deep breath and start walking diagonally, with the flow, across the stream....."
Wednesday, June 7, 2000
"...a cup of hot cocoa with Baileys, a sturdy pee bottle, homemade french fries, no camel pee on your duffel at the end of the day, good jokes (and some bad ones), starry nights, and spectacular sunsets are some of our other small pleasures....."
On to Aghil Pass
Tuesday, June 6, 2000
"The whole team is doing well even with the small trekking ailments that happen on and off. We all finally feel that this is why we came, to be surrounded by the stark beauty of these remote and largely unnamed, unclimbed mountains....."
Monday, June 5, 2000
"I look up the hemp belay line to its end, firmly lashed to a pair of nostrils two feet above me, and ponder. Six inches from the hemp is a large black eye staring back at me....."
Sunday, June 4, 2000
"Special thanks go to my very tolerant, supportive mother. She's the only person in the world who can tell whether I have a stuffed-up nose from the way I answer the phone....."
Turned Back to Yechem
Thursday, June 1, 2000
"As reported before, the K2000 team has been faced with illness and mechanical mishaps, punctuated with healthy doses of mountain scenery and Eastern culture....."
Basketball at 12,500 Feet
Wednesday, May 31, 2000
"Chinese soldiers initiated a full-court basketball game against the Americans, who hoped to show good will. Playing at an elevation of 12,500ft, the teams played hard....."
Last Days in Civilization
Tuesday, May 30, 2000
"The CMA runs a hotel here for climbers and tourists. Maybe it's not the cleanest place but it's a good place to celebrate our last night in civilization; tomorrow we drive the last 12 hours to the trail head...."
Greetings from Kashgar
Sunday, May 28, 2000
"After a tumultuous first week, as uneven as the route through Pakistan and China, the K2000 expedition regained its footing and is exactly on schedule as members anticipate the camel trek and hike to set up camp below K2's North Ridge..."
The Unforgettable Karakoram Highway
Friday, May 26, 2000
"Going through Kohistan (from Besham to Chilas) at night is not advisable. Kohistan means 'land of the unforgiveable' in Kohistani. If you have large sums of money, don't keep it in your main rucksack or on your body..."
First Day of Solace
Wednesday, May 24, 2000
"...the team decided that it is important to adhere to the planned itinerary as closely as possible, and that the exodus from Islamabad should happen today. I have decided to stay behind, to try to retrieve the sat phone...."
Tuesday, May 23, 2000
"Good news! The urgent "sat phone/lost/x-ray/JFK" fax from the Manchester airport reached my friend Bill, who was savvy enough to figure out what happened, hop in the car, and speed two hours down to JFK airport...."
Sat Phoneless in Islamabad
Monday, May 22, 2000
"Satellite phones are not the kind of thing you can pick up at the corner store in Islamabad, and this particular unit is not just any old sat phone. It is a NERA M4 World Communicator Modem Unit..."