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

2008 K2 and Broad Peak Expedition

Dispatch Sixty-one: July 30th 2008

Day Sixty-one: SUMMIT PUSH-Camp III to 7,800 meters; Extreme Winds

This morning, I woke up around 6:00am, and we all prepared to head up to our Camp 3.5 around what we thought would be 7,500 meters. Hugues approximated that the climb would only take 4 or 5 hours. Hugues headed out first, breaking trail, while Karim, Baig, and I broke down our respective tents, and packed up our things. The two of them left as soon as I was done with the shovel, and I continued to tinker with the ice screws that were frozen solid, anchoring the tent to the platform. About an hour later, I was finally ready to leave. The beginning of the climb went well, as the day was sunny and warm, however, around noon, the wind started to pick up, and I could see that a significant amount of spindrift was blowing off the shoulder, indicating extremely high winds, something that wasn’t forecast that day. The winds increased as I climbed higher, and blew down the route (from the northeast). This caused a blinding freezing cascade of powder snow to come down the route, making it impossible to make good progress. The climb took almost eight hours instead of the predicted 4-5 and when we finally arrived at a suitable place for the tent, everyone was slightly hypothermic. Hugues and I climbed into an abandoned tent while Karim and Baig worked hard to make a tent platform as the wind continuously erased their work. When they were done, we all piled into the tent, and I worked on getting warm again. Around an hour later (well after it was dark), I left the relative comfort of the tent to try to make my tent platform, and around midnight, I finally had the tent pitched on a platform half the size of the tent footprint, and I eased into the freezing tent, hoping that if I rolled off the side, that my guyout lines would hold. The night brought even more wind, and some of the gusts actually lifted the side of the tent with me in it. I later came to find out that the Dutch in base camp had thought that I had disappeared between Camp III and Camp IV (probably due to the language barrier between Hugues and Roeland over the radio). The Norit group in Camp III had reported winds around 80 km/hr and they thought that the wind speed on the shoulder was around 120km/hr, enough to blow me off the mountain.


In Photos:

Left: Karim in Camp III

Right: High Winds blast Broad Peak