Monday, June 22, 2009

Fredrik Ericsson K2 Ski Expedition 2009

After seven days of trekking up the Baltoro Valley Fredrik Ericsson finally reached the base camp of K2. This is where the climbing on K2 starts and his home for the next six weeks.
From Skardu they drove Landrovers on very small and bumpy roads to a village called Askole. The drive was six hours long and one of the scariest Fredrik have ever had. At one point they had to go through a small waterfall. The road was only as wide as the car. On one side was a rock wall and on the other was a hundred meters drop down to the river. The road was muddy from all the water and on his first try they got stuck in the mud and had to back up. The second try they had to touch the rock wall not to slide off the road. Fortunately they had a good driver and made it through. He was happy to arrive in Askole in one peace. That car ride was probably be more scary than anything they will face on K2.
To get all the equipment and food for six weeks up to K2 they had to hire porters. The farmers from Askole were happy to help them out. So happy that they almost started fighting about the loads. It was a bit chaotic before they had distributed the 40 loads to the porters. Unfortunately there where some guys that showed hoping to get work that didn't get any. Hopefully they will get some when the next expedition shows up.
The trek up the Baltoro Valley is a long walk. They hiked for six days and about 5-6 hours every day on small or non existing trails. It was rocks, sand and ice in an uneven mix. Fredrik's feet were not exactly happy after six hours of walking on rocks and glaciers. About halfway on the trek the porters wanted a break so they had one rest day in a camp called Paiju. The Guide had brought a live Goat for food. With Fredrik's stomach problems he wasn't so hungry for goat meat, neither was Michele so they gave it to the porters. They got very happy and had a little meatfest on the rest day in Paiju.
The higher up they got the better the views got. They passed some great mountains like the Trango Towers, Mustagh Tower and Masherbrum. The experience culminated at Concordia. From that great junction of glaciers you can view some of the finest mountains in the world: Mitre Peak, Gasherbrum 4, Broad Peak and K2. If you go there in beginning of June when there's not much people, like they did, it's a truly amazing place. From Concordia they had a five hours walk up the Godwin Austen Glacier to K2 base camp, including a tea break with two Austrian climbers at Broad Peak base camp.
Now they are at the Base Camp and they are getting ready to start climbing on K2, the mountain of Fredrik's dreams.