Cecilie Skog talks about mountaineering, life, and K2

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





One Response to “Cecilie Skog talks about mountaineering, life, and K2”

  1. Erica Says:

    She is an amazing woman. All the mountaineer s have incredible strength and it only inspires me to fight my fears and continue climbing. Cecile is one of my idols and I have routed for her and Ryan through the Antarctic expedition. Strength and love and passion it’s what life is about and the way she expresses it is admirable. Maybe one day I can speak this in person but for now feels good to write it out!

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