Text Box: Nicholas Rice
Extreme High Altitude Athlete
Text Box: Xpedition 8000

2008 K2 and Broad Peak Expedition

Dispatch Thirty-six: July 5th, 2008

Day Thirty-six: Retreat from Camp III to K2 Base Camp

Today, we “woke up” around 9:00am, after tossing and turning in the crammed tent in Camp III. We were all eager to return to Base Camp and eat normal meals, and stretch out in our roomy tents below. We all had back pain, and had slept horribly. We gathered our things slowly, and shuffled out of the tent one by one. Hugues began the descent first, followed by Gerard and one other Dutch member, then myself, Karim, and Qudrat. I began slowly as the position I had been sleeping in had reeked havoc on my knees. After working out the kinks in  my knees, I finally found my rhythm in descending the fixed lines. I know of no other mountain which allows one to descend by rappelling for 2000 meters non-stop. I dropped off my sleeping bag and other items in Camp II, and then continued rappelling down for another hour before reaching Camp I. Here, I ate some food, as we hadn’t brought enough to Camp III and were all a bit under the weather this morning. The day became windless and warm, and it became evident that this would have been a good summit day had we been acclimatized. However, all the climbers on the Cesan route were descending, including Wilco’s group; they were the ones who had the proper acclimatization to go for the summit as they had been in Base Camp since around the 28th of May. I continued down, after waiting for one of the Dutch team to clear off the fixed lines below me (below camp I, there is a lot of possibility for rock fall, so I thought it best not to crowd the other climber). I continued down the familiar, yet decaying route below Camp I, and arrived in Base Camp around 1:30pm with Hugues. The day was sweltering, and after getting some lunch and cold drinks down, we both showered and changed into clean clothing, and began writing messages to family. We plan on resting for the next few days, then, if a window presents itself, going for the summit push. I will of course, be carrying another tent so we don’t have a repeat of our hellish night crammed into the VE25 at Camp III. I am slightly worried about my third finger on my right hand, as it has no sensation at all in the tip thanks to the cold, windy morning yesterday. It is, if anything only frostnip, but it makes the finger more susceptible to frostbite later on in the expedition. Also, we have one new member, Peter Guggemos, however, he is in Camp I on the Abruzzi, and we have yet to meet him. His high altitude porter is here and has informed us of his progress. After writing our messages, we had a quiet dinner, as the three French (Yannick, Patrick, and Christian) are on Broad Peak acclimatizing.