Archive for November, 2009

Lino Lacedelli dies

November 28, 2009

Italian climber Lino Lacedelli died this week. He was one of the first two climbers to have reached the summit of K2. He climbed the summit with Achille Compagnoni.

The first climb of K2 was marred in controversy for many years. Walter Bonatti and the porter he was climbing with – Mahdi – were delivering oxygen to both Lacedelli and Compagnoni who were at the highest camp before the summit.

Compagnoni had claimed that Bonatti had used all of the oxygen meant for him and Lacedelli on a selfish attempt by Bonatti to become the first climber to reach the summit of K2. Bonatti had vehemently refuted this version of the story. He said that the leading pair were not where they were supposed to be for his drop of the oxygen.

Bonatti said that he and his partner left the oxygen needed for the final push by Compagnoni and Lacedelli where they were supposed to. But it had meant they had to spend that night in the freezing open conditions of K2.

Bonatti and Mahdi spent the night bivouacking at around 8000m. Mahdi ended up suffering severe frostbite to his toes and fingers. Bonatti fortunately did end up with frostbite. He kicked at his legs from time to time to make sure that they were not going to freeze.

Recently though Lacedelli talked about what really happened on that first summit of K2. He said that he thought that Bonatti would turn around and head back down the mountain. He never expected that Bonatti and Mahdi would spend the night out at such a height.

Lacedelli said that the reason that they were not at the specific drop off point was that they were scared of the overhanging serac above the bottleneck. Thus they camped much higher than they would have.

Lacedelli had remained silent on what really happened until 2006. He had tried calling Bonatti but he was told that it was too late from Bonatti.

Earlier this year Achille Compagnoni died at the age of 94.


Don Bowie recounts 2007 harrowing K2 descent

November 15, 2009

Don Bowie has given an interview with his account of his successful summit of K2 in 2007. While he did make the summit, the descent was one that was harrowing and one that nearly cost him his life.

While descending he slipped and fell about a 100m. Only rocks before a huge cliff stopped him falling thousands of feet.  However, he found that his leg was stuck between rocks. His foot though was at the wrong angle, and soon he realized that he had broken  a bone in his foot and the ligaments were also torn.

For the next 2 and a half days Bowie slowly descended K2 with a broken foot. He took pain killers to help relieve the pain, but alot the struggle was the mental one.

He said that he received no support from others ascending the mountain. They were focused on their own goals and were not willing to help him despite his difficulties. It was not until he was within reach of base camp did others help him.

There were some other points that he made about K2. He said that it would be not wise to have guided tours to climb the mountain. This is because of the inherent danger. It would be just too difficult for everyone involved.

He also said that up at that height it was very hard for any climber to think clearly enough so that they go out of their way to help another climber in trouble.

Calgary Herald

Meagan McGrath fears attempt on K2 next summer

November 3, 2009

Meagan McGrath plans to scale K2 next year. But this is not the only challenge for the 32 year old Canadian. She wants to ski to the South Pole. Also she has planned to climb 5 more mountains over 8000m.

She has already reached the summit of Everest in 2007. Also she has completed both versions of the Seven Summits. This is where a climber has to climb all of the tallest summits on each continent. Plus she recently skied to the North Pole. All of this experience would seem to give her a chance of making the summit of K2.

Despite this she fears what may happen to her on K2 next year. She fears she may die on the attempt. “Yeah, I’ll have to say, yes, I could die,” she says.

The other 8000m mountains that she plans to climb are as follows: Mount Lhotse, Broad Peak, Cho Oyu, and Shishapangma.

Ottawa Cizen article on Meagan McGrath