If you want to contact me during the expedition, use our guestbook!


PAGE 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The triangle no!

Two more days of bad weather. Beneath the snow, at base camp, we have to wait for the long-awaited improvement. Sergio is quiet, but Adriano unleashes his optimism, coming to predict the loss of materials at high camps, followed by a headlong rush along the Baltoro not to miss the plane. It took me ten years to discover this side of Adriano's character, which usually keeps well hidden under a mask of impassibility. Ladies and fans, be warned! Alas, so they are the rules of expeditions: weeks wasted in forced immobility and then desperate races against time. To remember that it is just a game helps put things in perspective, even though the cold months with fee are still indigestible for all of us. Who asks me if I think that eventually we'll go up, I can only answer that we will go up, or not. There are no other possibilities. Yesterday, Adri and I had a walk along the snake of camps that follow like colourful cars parked in double rows at the foot of K2. Down in the bottom, very bottom, far beyond the encampment of Zangrilli, it stands a lonely camp consisted of a large green geoid tent plus a shorter, red square one, evidently just arrived. It takes much more than four steps to discourage Adriano, not counting our curiosity to know who were the newcomers. We approached, introduced ourselves and asked the reason for such a marked break away from other expeditions. The Swiss guide Kobi Reichen welcomed us with a hearty handshake, which gave us the feeling of having put our arm in a vise. We realized only later the reason for such intensity. Kobi sat us down politely, he offered tea and presented his partner for Broad Peak, the South African Mike Horn. Together, last Saturday, they was among the few of this season who climbed that eight thousand. In response to our curiosity as to why even in the bc of Broad Peak they camped so far from other expeditions, Kobi and Mike have called for peace and privacy. Perfectly plausible reasons, although unusual, since these are slopes where the closeness and cooperation are often key factors for success, not the reverse. It was then that she sat next to us Mrs. Reichen: a terrific blue-eyed blonde, Heidi Klum style, to make it clear. With all due respect to the other ladies at base camp, that angelic presence reminded us a bit the K2 surrounded by his satellites. Thus enlightened, we put into perspective some seemingly inexplicable events, from preventive and powerful handshake (just imagine having something else in that close, instead of the hand) to the need for quiet and privacy. It remains the problem of Mike. A hyper-well-tested strong pair of climbers can easily survive a triangle, or not? I am just joking, eh Kobi!!


Thursday, July 22, 2010 
12:00 am, base camp
12:00 am, base camp



Friday, July 23, 2010

Heigh ho, heigh ho, it's top from base to go!

After days of snow and wind, finally a sunny day. All expeditions agree to start tomorrow and the attempt to summit is scheduled for the 27th, when the wind will slow down. Another good news is that I think I've seen with binoculars our tents still in place on C3. I'm going to pack! I forgot: Kobi and his wife have left the base camp two days ago.



Sunday, July 25, 2010

The end

Camp 2
Camp 2

We had hoped, you cling to hope when it's all you can do, when reason (the pessimism of Adriano) tells you that there is nothing to be done. Yesterday we went to camp 2, with us almost twenty other climbers. Snow, weather uncertain. Slow and laborious gait. When we arrived at camp two, we realized that the strong winds of recent days had torn and broken all tents, including our own. The materials that we had left inside (sleeping bags, mattresses, high altitude gloves, thermos) are lost, irretrievable. The strong wind and cold (gusts up to two threw us on the ground) has left no choice but to leave and return to base. Tent or not, the weather forecast of recent days has been too optimistic and even today the fog and wind play the lord and master. Impossible for anyone to even reach the camp three on Abruzzi, where our tent is probably also missing. In any case, the expected window has not arrived or it will be too short for the summit and our time is running out. Who can stop at base camp in August may have another chance. But for us this is the end of our dream. We're going home without having had a real chance to try the summit. We knew it in theory, but touching it leaves a bitter taste. Now I understand the tears of Gerlinde, last summer, when she had to leave immediately after the traverse because of deep snow. Our small group had done its homework, but not enough is never enough. We had trained properly, we were well acclimated, we set up the various camps and get over many small hitches. The big mountain did not want us (and now Sergio and I have to pay a double good meal in a Kabul Restaurant to Adrian). I do not think we will return: commitment, time, costs are too high for the amateurs like us who cannot afford to rely year after year on friends and vagaries of weather, (which in fact has lately been rather capricious). I take advantage of this blog post for thanks: first, heartfelt thanks to my fellows of expedition and trek, without whom we would not even start: Adriano, Sergio, Nisar Ali, Claudio and Bruna. An expedition, even as small as ours, is always the result of a significant collective commitment and we would not be here without the great organizational work of Ali Muhammad of Pakistan Adventure agency who has provided us with impeccable service and quality as well as my referent ever, Avventure nel Mondo which gave us the air tickets and avoided a nasty cargo. Special thanks to Sandra, who had the patience to stick my words on the site and translating them into English. Thanks to Ralf, for teaching me to decipher NOAA's Meteograms and to Gerlinde for her coffee. And thanks to our cook Waqar, a true Long John Silver of base camp, who supported and helped us in a thousand practical matters, from porters to start the generator, from the radio contacts at base camp to the yak meat ofwhichwedonotknowtheorigin. Thanks to Dr. Roi always helpful and to all friends whom time I abused over the lawful. And I apologize if I do not explicitly mention all of them as it will be a long list. Thanks to all who left their comments on the guestbook: we read them and they kept us company on cold nights in tents, when at distance it came the ringing silvery laughter of the Polish women (little gossip over the time limit: it is born a love story between extreme skier Fredrick and the blonde and beautiful Polish doctor): also this, and above all this are expeditions, and do not believe a word to those who want to sell extreme challenges and big enterprises. Thanks, finally, to those who followed the blog: if these small talks made you smile, to excite about our (unsuccessful) venture, to supply some emotion, then there were not words written in vain. Because in this blog I did not only narrate the mountain, which is served as (large) frame: I only ever talked about love.



CAI Bologna

Con il patrocinio del Club Alpino Italiano

Sezione di Bologna Mario Fantin