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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, GA

    K2 Winter Ascent

    Last weekend, a team of 10 Nepalese climbers summited K2, the world's second-tallest mountain, for the first time in winter. K2 is considered a significantly more difficult climb than Everest, even in the regular spring climbing season. It is also among the world's most dangerous mountains to climb...one person has died for roughly every 4 people who have successfully summited (for comparison's sake, that ratio is about 1 to 20 for Everest). K2 is the last of the "8000ers," the world's 14 mountains that are 8000 meters or more in height, to be summited in winter. Last weekend's success is rightly being hailed as one of the great achievements ever in mountaineering or any other physical human pursuit.
    This super high-level mountaineering stuff has long fascinated me...I'm transfixed by the scale and the stakes of it all, and I can't fathom why anyone would undertake those risks for what is essentially an extremely expensive and dangerous hobby for all but a very select few people who make a living doing it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Undisclosed
    Quote Originally Posted by wilson View Post
    Last weekend, a team of 10 Nepalese climbers summited K2, the world's second-tallest mountain, for the first time in winter. K2 is considered a significantly more difficult climb than Everest, even in the regular spring climbing season. It is also among the world's most dangerous mountains to climb...one person has died for roughly every 4 people who have successfully summited (for comparison's sake, that ratio is about 1 to 20 for Everest). K2 is the last of the "8000ers," the world's 14 mountains that are 8000 meters or more in height, to be summited in winter. Last weekend's success is rightly being hailed as one of the great achievements ever in mountaineering or any other physical human pursuit.
    This super high-level mountaineering stuff has long fascinated me...I'm transfixed by the scale and the stakes of it all, and I can't fathom why anyone would undertake those risks for what is essentially an extremely expensive and dangerous hobby for all but a very select few people who make a living doing it.
    I imagine you're read Into Thin Air, one of my favorite bookss.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    I imagine you're read Into Thin Air, one of my favorite bookss.
    About 5 times. That book was what started it all for me...now I've read pretty much anything published about elite mountaineering in the last ~50 years.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    I imagine you're read Into Thin Air, one of my favorite bookss.
    The White Spider as well. 7 years in Tibet another.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by wilson View Post
    About 5 times. That book was what started it all for me...now I've read pretty much anything published about elite mountaineering in the last ~50 years.
    I'm a sucker for that stuff, esp. documentaries.

    Into Thin Air cured me of even the slightest romantic notions of high altitude climbing. By all accounts, I would find it miserable.

    Yet I can't look away.

    To wit: following that link about the Nepalese team that completed the winter climb of K2, I was easily lured into watching the drone footage of the Polish climber ski down it in summer. It's mesmerizing.

    That said, I love climbing mountains within my comfort zone - which I can't help but want to expand.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Outside Philly
    Quote Originally Posted by cspan37421 View Post
    I'm a sucker for that stuff, esp. documentaries.

    Into Thin Air cured me of even the slightest romantic notions of high altitude climbing. By all accounts, I would find it miserable.

    Yet I can't look away.

    To wit: following that link about the Nepalese team that completed the winter climb of K2, I was easily lured into watching the drone footage of the Polish climber ski down it in summer. It's mesmerizing.

    That said, I love climbing mountains within my comfort zone - which I can't help but want to expand.
    Yeah. I wouldn’t even say I flirted with technical climbing. It’s more like looking at a movie star and saying, “I bet she’d really like me”. I like the idea of me and that movie star but there are a million reasons it ain’t gonna happen!

    I once hiked the cables to the top of Half Dome. When I got up there I felt pretty pleased with myself until these two French jerks threw their legs over the lip and clambered up after scaling the face. Talk about deflating...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Steamboat Springs, CO
    Ah, yes. K2.

    Have you seen the movie, "The Summit?" It's a "a documentary that chronicles the deadliest day in K2's history. The film, directed by Nick Ryan, attempts to piece together what happened on a single day in 2008, when 11 climbers perished on the second-highest mountain in the world."

    Two Americans were there, one of whom is a doctor living in my town, Steamboat Springs. Another climber, a Sherpa named Chhiring Dorje Sherpa, was sponsored and moved with his family to Steamboat because of his heroism.

    Anyway, it was shown at the local theater with the key persona present. I do not like heights, even though I ski black slopes -- but, I repeat, I do not like heights. The movie began with a picture of K2. Holy moly, it is the most forbidding looking mountain I had ever seen. I would have left the theater except that I was stuck next to the wall and couldn't easily get out.

    The movie was sponsored by the film boards of Norway, Ireland and the Netherlands (I believe). It has some live video of the ascent, and it is intermixed with a re-filming on Mont Blanc. One live shot is of the group of climbers who reached the summit. Several of them died on the descent. Very eerie experience. I mean like -- I don't know anything like it.

    There was a traffic jam that occurred at Camp 4 because of weather. There were teams from multiple countries several European teams, Koreans, and two Americans with Chhiring. All decided to go on the same day. The Americans said, "No way," and stayed at the base camp. The different national teams agreed to work together, but the Korean teams did not do their job of roping a substantial section of the mountain. Therefore, there were delays, which contributed to the tragedy.

    Here's a summary of the story, with pictures. The Americans dispute many of the details and claim that Chhiring was a hero, but sponsoring film boards left him out in favor of their own nationals. The "dead Koreans" depicted were actually Sherpas working for the Korean team, whose leader treated the Sherpas very badly.

    Anyway, I don't know of a movie like it..
    Sage Grouse

    ---------------------------------------
    'When I got on the bus for my first road game at Duke, I saw that every player was carrying textbooks or laptops. I coached in the SEC for 25 years, and I had never seen that before, not even once.' - David Cutcliffe to Duke alumni in Washington, DC, June 2013

  8. #8
    I wonder what % of mountain disasters involve an attempt that went forward despite weather delays (that may have been outside tolerances). It seems to be a sadly common theme. People get summit fever, and if they make it at all, they are still behind the 8-ball because they then have to get down in adverse temp/light conditions.

    This is on top of how unpredictable weather can be in the mountains. You talk about unpredictability of weather in everyday life, it's usually that we don't really know if it'll rain in 5-6 days, as expected. In the mountains, you can't bank on forecasts for 5-6 hours. (5-6 minutes? Yes ... but just)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    I'd tell ya, but then I'd have to kill ya
    They're all nuts. And it is fascinating.

    I've climbed a couple of 14,000-footers...in my early 20s. And climb is a misnomer, they were hikes. I have no climbing skills at all. I don't have a fear of heights, I have a fear of edges. I am half-planning/thinking about "climbing" Kilimanjaro in 2 years after I turn 60. We'll see.

    Anyone else read the book about finding George Mallory's body on Everest in 1999? The picture of his body is haunting and stuck in my brain.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Quote Originally Posted by dudog84 View Post
    They're all nuts. And it is fascinating.

    I've climbed a couple of 14,000-footers...in my early 20s. And climb is a misnomer, they were hikes. I have no climbing skills at all. I don't have a fear of heights, I have a fear of edges. I am half-planning/thinking about "climbing" Kilimanjaro in 2 years after I turn 60. We'll see.

    Anyone else read the book about finding George Mallory's body on Everest in 1999? The picture of his body is haunting and stuck in my brain.
    I'm half-planning/thinking about Kilimanjaro too. I have a friend who did it a few years ago and said that if you're in decent shape, and do even a middling amount of training, it's definitely do-able. 4 days up and 2 days down. More like an extended hike. But I wanna do it.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Undisclosed
    On my list too

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by tommy View Post
    I'm half-planning/thinking about Kilimanjaro too. I have a friend who did it a few years ago and said that if you're in decent shape, and do even a middling amount of training, it's definitely do-able. 4 days up and 2 days down. More like an extended hike. But I wanna do it.
    I'd do it. Bucket list to go to Out of Africa country. I'm not sure how much it still exists.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Outside Philly
    Kilimanjaro? She’s impregnable!

    Give me 10 good DBR posters and some climbing spikes and we’ll impregnate the *****!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    I'd tell ya, but then I'd have to kill ya
    Road trip!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Outside Philly
    Quote Originally Posted by dudog84 View Post
    Road trip!
    Hah. Perhaps at first...

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Undisclosed
    We need to do the DBR European beer tour first. England, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic. Optional side trip to Ireland (recommended).

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Outside Philly
    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    We need to do the DBR European beer tour first. England, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic. Optional side trip to Ireland (recommended).
    You want to drink all that beer BEFORE climbing the highest mountain in Africa?!?!

    You’re a wildcat, OPK! Can’t nobody tame a wildcat!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    I'd tell ya, but then I'd have to kill ya
    Quote Originally Posted by bundabergdevil View Post
    You want to drink all that beer BEFORE climbing the highest mountain in Africa?!?!

    You’re a wildcat, OPK! Can’t nobody tame a wildcat!
    Duke has several times (UK).

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Quote Originally Posted by tommy View Post
    I'm half-planning/thinking about Kilimanjaro too. I have a friend who did it a few years ago and said that if you're in decent shape, and do even a middling amount of training, it's definitely do-able. 4 days up and 2 days down. More like an extended hike. But I wanna do it.
    I agree with this. It is not that difficult (assuming you don't have a problem with the altitude). When I did it years ago, you were required to hire a porter, so you are not carrying much and your meals are prepared for you. (I also have climber Mt. Kenya. Although about 3000 ft. shorter, it was probably harder because I had to carry my gear/food.)

    In any event, I recommend it as a bucket list item.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    dd.jpeg
    Just chiming in to say that while Kilimanjaro is (rightly) considered the most accessible of the Seven Summits, it is not without risk: I know someone who did the climb about ten years ago and had a generally healthy member of their group die of altitude sickness on the descent.

    That said, the Kilimanjaro/Serengeti area is utterly breathtaking. My wife and I were fortunate enough to do a trip there in 2015, and it's my favorite place I've ever been by a fairly wide margin (even allowing for the fact that I'm lucky enough to have traveled to quite a few other really stunning places).

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