Snowstorm tears through Base Camp

Plan to head head for summit delayed again

2005 K2 expedition

July 17, 2005|By Chris Warner | Chris Warner,Special to

Well, our plans changed during the night. Last night the rain started at 6 p.m. and turned to snow a few hours later. At noon, it is still snowing. All of this precipitation was being pushed by tent-shaking winds.

In the middle of the night, we rolled over in our sleeping bags, hiding from this harsh realtiy until the pull of strong coffee dragged us to the mess tent.

I spent most of the morning checking in with other teams. Seems as if on K2, lots of hopes were dashed. Then a fresh weather report rolled in, hinting at more bad weather by week's end. For those of us on Broad Peak, the summit still seems possible mid-week. The K2 teams may need a few more days of good weather than is forecast to pull off a summit bid this week.

Tao and I need to watch the conditions on Broad Peak. The big questions revolve around the snow: How deep is it? Will the combination of wind and sun compress the soft snow into a hard crust? If the snow is knee deep and soft, climbing to the summit will be incredibly difficult, if not impossible. If it is better compressed, then the summit should attract not only us, but some other strong teams.

We should know more by Tuesday.

July 17, 2005, 2:48 PM EDT

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