Dispatch: Day of Descent
Advanced Base Camp, China - Wednesday, August 9, 2000
Well, once again K2 has shaken herself of all mortal men and women. Yesterday was a day of descent for all teams involved due to continued poor weather and dangerous snow conditions at Camps 2 and 3. Everyone returned to their respective camps safely.
Five of our team members (Mike Bearzi, Jeff Alzner, Heidi Howkins, Jay Seiger and Greg Ritchie) were able to spend two nights at Camp 3. They spent their second night there digging out tents and listening to the hourly waves of spindrifts come down over the tents.
Early in the morning they decided to go to Camp 2 and ultimately to ABC. On the way down, two climbers triggered a point release above Camp 2 which buried the International team's tent. Everyone on the team was fine, but had to be dug out by two Tibetans and Shawn O'Fallon. From there, the teams regrouped and headed down to ABC. According to Mike Bearzi, the initial descent was a bit deep but, overall, the return to ABC felt safe.
Today, the weather has improved and the climbers are feeding and resting in preparation for what could be the final push to the summit. The Japanese and International teams each fixed 100 meters of rope above the American high point leaving only about 400 meters left to fix to Camp 4.
Ginger Russell, MountainZone.com Correspondent