Archive for November, 2010

Tom Ballard appears to have canceled K2 2010 expedition

November 30, 2010

It appears that Tom Ballard’s expedition to K2 is over for now. The Dailyrecord has reported that he will not be going to the mountain in December. Almost nothing has been heard from the family since he announced to the world that he wanted to be the first person to climb K2 in winter. In 1995 his mum, Alison Hargreaves, died in a storm on K2.

His grandmother confirmed that he will not be going. She has no contact with Tom’s father Jim these days because of a family feud. But she is in contact with Tom’s sister. She had heard that a few weeks ago that the trip was off.

Earlier in the year Ballard had moved with his sister and dad to Switzerland to prepare for K2. He had intended to climb K2 in an alpine manner without using oxygen. It was going to filmed as a documentary by Chris Terrill.

At the moment Terrill is filming hurricanes in the Caribbean and those who know him say that he has no immediate plans to go to K2. This may further confirm that the expedition to K2 is off.

Further than this, the food company that was supposed to have supplied food for the expedition have heard nothing. A spokesman for Westlers said that he had not heard anything since a photo shoot with Kate, Tom’s sister, in June.

Also a hotel manager in Switzerland where they have been staying said that they are no longer at the hotel. He said that they have not gone to Pakistan, but rather another place in Switzerland.

The attempt drew the scorn of climbers who thought that the task was too difficult for someone without any experience climbing 8000m mountains.

Alan Hinkes, who climbed K2 in 1995, had this to say when he first heard that Ballard was going to make a winter attempt, “I was gobsmacked when I heard. Good luck to him but this is barmy. Being on your own in winter doesn’t bear thinking about – the weather is just horrendous. To be honest, it’s pie in the sky.”

Of course, there needs to be an official announcement to confirm all of this.

Source: Dailyrecord


Zangrilli posts pictures from K2

November 10, 2010

Fabrizio Zangrilli has posted some pictures of his expedition to K2 this year. He was the leader of the Field Touring Alpine expedition.

The pictures include ones of himself, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, Ralf Dujmovits and Kinga Baranowska. Kaltenbrunner is seen in one picture to be nearing camp 4, having made the shoulder of K2 at 7800m.

Source: Fabrizio Zangrilli blog

Cecilie Skog talks about mountaineering, life, and K2

November 6, 2010

Cecilie Skog gave an interview with the BBC some time ago talking about her life and mountaineering. She started young climbing and her passion for it grew climbing the mountains around Norway. One day she climbed a very steep mountain in Norway and the feeling was one of elation.

Skog trained as a nurse, and climbed mountains as a hobby. But she found that she enjoyed climbing high mountains much more than being a nurse. The nursing ended up paying for her climbing.

She met her husband Rolf in Russia. He was a mountaineering guide. She saw him playing the harmonica to a group of clients. That night they talked about mountains, flowers and all sorts of topics.

They ended up going on expeditions together. The best part of climbing together was that they would not be far apart and miss each other. There was concern though for each other because of the dangers.

In 2005 Rolf and Cecilie went to K2 and he was chosen as the leader of the expedition. But he did not want to be the leader because he thought it would cause problems for their relationship. So someone else was made leader. This would be their first trip to K2.

That year they would not reach the summit of K2. Bad weather prevented them from making it. But they fell in love with K2. They promised to return to K2 when they could.

Not long after they skied to the South Pole. Then they skied to the North Pole the next year. When they made it there Rolf went down on one knee and proposed to her. They talked about having children but decided that they would wait.

In 2008 they decided to climb K2 again. They were one of 10 international teams trying to climb K2 that summer.

On August 1st they set off with another Norwegian climber,  Lars Naesse, towards the summit. Cecilie and Lars made it to the summit. They did not stay there long as it was getting late. The shadows had become quite long. They could see the shadow of K2 into China which was beautiful. But they were thinking that they have to get down to the fixed lines before it got dark. If they made it to the fixed lines before dark, then she thought they would be safe.

Rolf however, had stopped exhausted at the Traverse. He waited there till they started to come back down. He was maybe 200m below the summit. When they met him again he was very happy with their success. Lars then asked Rolf if he wanted to lead the way down. But Rolf said that Lars could lead the way down followed by Rolf and then Cecilie.

As they made their way down, the sun had set and it was starting to get very dark. They had torches with them to see. They were used to using torches as they use them in the morning when they start.

The next thing she knows she feels the ground shake under her. She gets off balance because of this. To the side of her, she can see a light disappear. Rolf had fallen. Ice pieces of the serac above them had broken off and cut the rope between her and Rolf and had caused him to fall. She was not entirely sure of the events though that led to his fall. She can’t remember everything, but what she can recall if her calling his name.

Lars then goes to look for Rolf. Cecilie though is frozen in shock and it is very, very steep where she was. Eventually Lars calls her in an optimistic way as if Rolf was there, and she initially felt relief that he might be safe. She hoped that Rolf was there with Lars and they would all go back safely. Remember it was dark at this time.

And then Lars told her … Rolf is gone, and that they would have to get down to the tents quickly. At first she did not believe it. Then she started moving. One foot followed by the other and she got further towards Lars.

That day and the next day were the hardest of her life as she moved down the mountain. She did not want to leave Rolf. Her life was up there.

At first when she got back home she found it hard to find a reason to get lout of bed. Her life with Rolf was over and it was hard. After a while she started going back to a beach near where she lived. The sunrises eventually became a joy for her. She started dreaming again of being in a tent and skiing over the horizon.

She want to reconnect with nature and lead a simple life. She dreamed of going to Greenland. She felt so more alive doing this. When she was on the beach dreaming of all this she thought back to what Rolf told her. He said that dreams are so vulnerable. You have too hold onto those dreams and try to live them.

Since climbing K2 she said that she had not climbed any high peaks. Skiing was not the same sort of danger as climbing the higher peaks. She just can’t tell her family and friends that she is going to risk her life climbing those high peaks.

Source: BBC – At the Mercy of K2




2010/2011 Polish Broad Peak winter expedition website

November 4, 2010

The Polish have a website where it is possible to see their updates in their 2010/2011 winter expedition to Broad Peak. They have given detail of the route that they are going to take. Their aim is to be the first expedition to climb an 8000m mountain in Pakistan. The expedition will go from December 2010 to March 2011.

In the article there was no word as to whether they were still going to attempt K2. At this stage it looks like their planning is for Broad Peak, and are less likely to make a serious attempt on K2. Though with the expedition lasting till March 2011 then there could be time to make a challenge on K2.

Source: Polish Himalaya

Phil Powers talks about K2 on YouTube

November 3, 2010

On YouTube there has been a video put up with Phil Powers talking about his trips to K2 in the 1990s.

Phil Powers made 2 trips to K2. In 1990 he went with climbing partners that he knew well. However, they did not make the summit due to a storm that lasted for 23 days. They spent all of that time in base camp.

In 1993 he returned to K2 but without any of the climbing partners he was so used to climbing with. Instead he got asked to climb with people he did not know. He initially said that he did not want to go as he only climbed with people he knew. But the leader convinced him to go. She said that climbing with strangers would help build bonds and not have the past problems that partnerships can have.

On summit day he was chosen to be part of the summit team with Dan Culver and Jim Haberl. Up to this point Haberl had been struggling with the extreme altitude. But on summit day climbed strongly. Powers was the quickest and strongest of the climbers and made the summit in the mid afternoon. He had been worried about an avalanche threat on the traverse but this never materialized.

Culver though struggled on the last day. He was constantly behind the other 2 climbers. On the way down Powers crossed Culver and suggested that he descend with him as he seemed to be struggling so much. But Culver insisted that he was close to the summit and it was K2 after all.

Powers made it back to base camp 4 safely in the late afternoon. Once in a while he looked outside his tent to see where the other 2 were. While the others were descending he decided to melt ice for drinking.

When he went back into the tent to melt ice one time, he heard a scream and looked out again. He saw that Dan Culver was no longer with Haberl. He had fallen from the top of the bottleneck and may have fallen 250m to his death.

Powers thought that he had been unable to arrest his fall. After coming down the bottleneck earlier he could see how someone could have fallen. When his shoes went through the powdery snow, they hit rock, which he though could cause a tumble.

In the end Powers regretted putting personal ambition above the good of others. This was the only time on an expedition that someone died with Powers.

Source: Phil Powers on YouTube