Phil Powers talks about K2 on YouTube

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


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