Himalaya 2008 climbing season, Karakoram and Himalaya wrap-up /9/ – Week in Review.

A massive serac swept part of the Mont Blanc du Tacul trail Sunday, media reported. It is feared that 8 climbers perished on the popular climbing route.

Back home, K2 survivors have started to share details of their experiences.

K2 – Norwegian team “The climb up was ok,” reported Lars Ebbessen. “Øystein turned after the Bottleneck and descended to C4. The others continued. Half way up Cecilie gave her bottle to Rolf who progressed at a slower pace, and summited without O2 with Lars, some time before 5:30 pm. They talked to Rolf from the summit, and later met up with him on the way down. On descent, they started the tough sections in daylight. Rolf rappelled first down the Bottleneck, and went straight into the traverse. Cecilie was a bit behind; Lars stood above. As Cecilie started her traverse it was dark, and she did not see what came, but that Rolf’s headlamp went abruptly missing and she was thrown off balance as the rope was torn. She knew immediately. They had an emergency lightweight rope with them, and with that she and Lars were able to traverse and bring themselves down to C4, which they reached between 11.00 pm and midnight.”

K2 – Pemba Gyalje Sherpa’s details Pemba wrote that on August 1st around 8-9 pm, a huge serac fell from the Bottleneck, (hanging glacier). Pemba wrote that the serac swept about 200 meters of fixed line and anchors in the couloir, at the same time that the majority of climbers were descending from the summit. Running out of oxygen, only few managed to descend safely from the Bottleneck without fixed ropes or any protection in the dark. Some climbers stopped and resumed descent with daybreak on August 2nd, bombarded by several more seracs still falling from the Bottleneck. “The rest of climbers were hit by serac fall on the traverse and in the couloir section,” Pemba Gyalje Sherpa reported from Pakistan.

K2 Confortola: frostbit feet and soul K2 survivor Marco Confortola is home, after being treated for his frostbites in Padova. “Recovery won’t be short, but otherwise I trust I am going to make it,” Marco stated. “It’s not just the physical pain… Images and memories will stay with me for a long time. I refuse to speak about responsibilities, neither about blame – least of all if referred to others,” Confortola stated. “I can only reflect about what have I done and, being lucky enough to have returned alive, learn from it. There’ll be plenty of time for that.”

Lessons from K2: Fredrik Strang and “the other Swedes” “I think it’s fun and that is why I stay with this job,” Fredrik’s PR agent told news sources. He said that Fredrik called him three times already during descent, and that he had never before experienced such a media hausse. Last week, ExWeb ran “the other side” of Strang’s many stories, along with a rundown of skilled Swedish climbers.

K2 – memorials More than 1,000 people gathered for Gerard McDonnell’s memorial in Ireland. A funeral was also held last week for the three Korean climbers in Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province. Lars Ebbessen announced a memorial event in Stavanger. “It’s been one year since we attended Cecilie’s and Rolf’s wedding, so it will be a sad farewell to a man who did so much, but never had time for books, talks or fame. Best of all, he was never sad to miss a summit or a goal, as long as a real and good challenge awaited up the road.” A memorial mass will be also held next week in France for Hugues d’Aubarede. Father Bouzy will hold the ceremony on August 28th at St. Genis Laval Church 69230 – France. Hugues’s home team has also published a detailed report on the climber’s website.

Climbers currently on K2: no news No updates from Mike Farris, the Tall Mountain expedition, or Georghe Dijmarescu and his two Sherpas.

K2 – Supplementary Oxygen update Pemba offered facts for AdventureStats regarding oxygen usage on the 2008 K2 summit push, with a list of mountaineers who climbed K2 without supplementary oxygen.

Nanga Parbat Before tackling the Rupal face, Zangrilli’s team is acclimatizing on the Messner route. On the 20th Fabrizio, Billy, and Dave made it to the top of the couloir that leads to the serac that C2 sits at 5500m. That day, a helicopter came by with a cameraman hanging out the door filming the team. Turned out Messner himself was filming the climbers for an upcoming film on Nanga Parbat. The three men hope to be done with the Messner route by the 1-15th September, which will leave them 3 weeks for their planned route on the face.

Gasherbrums: Daniela and Paulo back home After a long trek back across the Gondogoro la, a bumpy ride along the Karakoram Highway and several flights, Daniela Teixeira and Paulo Roxo are back in sunny Portugal. Bad conditions forced the two climbers back on both Gasherbrums, but that’s OK; the couple is recovering with tasty local food and chilled caipirinhas.

Pakistan Government to honor Greg Mortenson American Greg Mortenson has been appointed to receive the “Sitara-e-Pakistan” (The Star of Pakistan, a prestigious civilian award) in March. He is one of the very few foreigners who have received the Sitar-e-Pakistan award since it was established in 1957, shortly after the country proclaimed its independency.

HumanEdgeTech heads-up: American Grafitti Research Lab co-founder detained in Beijing It started out with “war chalking” then “War Driving” and finally “War trekking.” Some of Contact ground work was done at Eyebeam – an art and technology center in midtown NY. Last week, our roads would cross again. Eyebeam alum James Powderly was detained by Chinese authorities in Beijing early Wednesday, after collaborating with activists to project messages onto the facades of prominent Beijing buildings using a laser beam and stencils. It is unclear how Chinese authorities learned of the plan. Five activists with Students for a Free Tibet were detained after displaying a banner that spelled out “Free Tibet” in LED Throwies, the open source technology pioneered by the Grafitti Research Lab.

Exweb Week-In-Review is sponsored by HumanEdgeTech the world’s premier supplier of expedition technology. Our team helps you find ultra light expedition tech that works globally.
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2 Responses

  1. Very nice, I sure will be coming back more often. I bookmarked your site also, thank you.

  2. How high can the remote helicopter fly? The helicopter range is about 1/2 mile feet but for safety reasons we fly at a max altitude of about 300 feet and a max horizontal distance of about 750 feet. If a chase vehicle is used this distance can be greatly increased to thousands of feet. FAA regulations keep us below 400 feet in altitude, but with permission may be able to go higher.

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