K2 Expedition #7 -The Daily Moraine 201520 July 2015
Warm temperatures pose big challenges on K2 and Broad Peak
On Monday morning, we all woke up to rain and very wet snow at base camp with most of the members having experienced a very warm night due to the unusual weather, which Russell calls a ‘lazy cloud system’. “This means that there is cloud, snow and rain but hardly any wind and it is unseasonably warm,” he explained. Temperatures down here have varied from 0C early in the morning to 28C with the freezing point being as high as 6,000m.
Despite this lazy weather system, which is difficult to work with due to the soft snow and rockfall, we have been trying to progress with the route on K2 by juggling our understanding of the Meteotest weather forecast and the actual conditions. So in order to push the route to Camp 4, two Sherpas were at Camp 2 and four Sherpas were at Camp 3 on Sunday night. “I am very grateful to our Sherpa staff. They have been been working extremely hard over the past few days and were willing to go back up to fix the ropes to Camp 4,” Russell continued.
However, during Sunday night there was more precipitation than expected and after having had a restless night, Russell decided to call all Sherpas back to base camp before temperatures rose again causing rock and icefall. “I am very happy that the Sherpas acted quickly and came down very fast to the safety of base camp,” he said with a relieved look on his face when the Sherpas finally gathered around him at around 10am.
Shortly after everyone was back at base camp, Russell called a meeting to explain the current difficult conditions on the mountains, and share with us some news he had heard from Broad Peak. Apparently there had been an avalanche below Camp 1 on Broad Peak and some members, Sherpas and one high altitude porter were involved in this. “So far, we have no further details, but our staff and members are on standby to offer assistance, if required.”
Russell explaining the big challenges of the current weather system to the team (@Nick Cienski)
The same weather pattern looks set to continue until 26th July, which means we are now on a holding pattern until temperatures get colder and avalanches will have released naturally. Compared to some other teams, we are under no time pressure and have the possibility to wait for the best conditions to climb these two mountains – and that is exactly what we are doing.
Warm regards from a very hot base camp
Russ and Billi