Saturday, July 25, 2009

Back in Civilization

E-mail from Isaiah:

July 24th
"We're back to Skardu. The sat phone didn't have any minutes on it after the summit push so that's why I've been out of touch. In summary: I didn't summit, of the 20 people that went up the day before about a third got to the false summit during a 16-19 hour day for most of them. It was pretty horrific. One person died, several got HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema) and/or frostbite, but fortunately there was no large scale rescue and no one was dragged off the mountain. I did however spend the night at 23,050 feet and was probably the strongest of the four in our team that was there that night. I'll write up a detailed trip report in the future and I have lots of video to try and show what it was like. We trekked out over the Gondogoro La (a 18-19,000 foot pass) in a whiteout. It only took three days to go from BC to Skardu. From cold and wet at the top of a pass to eating the best apricots I've ever had strait off the trees in only 36 hours. We are laying over today here in Skardu. After six weeks using a sat phone I only have 332 emails. So if you want to email me you can. I will be checking every few days. Most likely I will also try to get an earlier flight home because we could be in Islamabad as early as tomorrow. It's very odd being reimmersed in civilization. Last night at supper at 10:30 when we finally got in there were like 20 central Asian people with designer clothes and the women didn't have head shaws and they were loud. It was a huge change from seeing only westerners and conservative hill people. I slept in a bed last night in a hotel room that has a shower and toilet. I had a propper shower for the first time in five weeks. Then this morning (which is Friday the holy day for Muslims) I went out and had some ice cream. It's so hot here at 8000 feet and the air is so thick. I hold my breath and get bored. At the most I'll be home in eight days probably more like five."

July 25th- Still in Skardu
"We're having problems getting a flight to Islamabad. It's not a terrible place to be stuck but it makes you realize how fortunate we are to travel at our will in the west. I might fly tomorrow or the next day or drive. We find out at 4 pm today, in two hours. I'm reading the explorers web stuff now and it's interesting to see how many things they have that are not totally complete. I guess that is news. Anyway we are traveling with Giampaolo. I don't remember meeting Christina. It is the first time I have ever been on a mountain when somebody died. It's really scarry. From the time I arrived at camp 3 just before 2 PM until 9 PM when our member finally returned were seven scarry hours. I could not sit still. She was far more experienced than I am, than most of the people on the mountain that day. It is a very strong reminder, at least for me, that these mountains play for keeps. One bad step and that's it. Foods I will be craving: good hard sharp cheeses, steaks and good meats, ice cubes, Italian, and ice cream, fluffly breads, and stuffed noodles. A quick funny story: So I wrote my name on the outside of my down jacket so that when I was bundled up people would know who I was because I have a rather popular jacket. So I spent a month getting made fun of because I was the only person that did that. Then we're sitting at camp three and Eelco Jansen shared a tent with us, a story I will tell at a later date, and he asked about my name because we have the same last name more or less. So it worked out well."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Updates from BP

Hopefully Isaiah shall be summiting in the next couple days. I'll post what was written on the field touring alpine site.

"Hello from BP Base Camp.
Its been far too long in waiting but tomorrow morning at 5 am July 16, 2009 the first wave of the Field Touring Alpine Broad Peak climbers will depart for camp 2 at 6250m. We have joined forces with about 20 other climbers from around the globe who will all be gunning for the summit on July 18 from camp 3 7100M.
The winds are expected to subside to a breezy 40km/h at 7500m and we all expect a very difficult and interesting day out. Strength in numbers is our play on this one.
In the first group of FTA climbers will be, myself(Chris), Fabrizio, Dr. Jim, and Paul R. We have all been high and are expected to go much higher. No pressure right?
In the second wave, the following day, Ben, Taqui, Paul C., Matt and Isaiah will go for it, hopefully meeting us at c3 as we descend. They have not been as high but will likely go very high indeed.
I will do my very best to keep everyone up to date with everything in the days to come.
Chris at BP base.(can you tell i’ve been on the glacier a little too long?)"

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Much Has Happened

I spoke too soon! We recieved an e-mail from Isaiah this morning!

"So on june 29th I made it to camp 2 after sleeping at camp 1. Then we had more or less a week of snowstorms and waiting for it to avalanche. Then finally we went up july 7th and slept at camp two (elevation 6200m or 20,300 ft). I happened to be the third in our team of 10 to get up there. Of course it`s important not to work too hard early so speed now means little. However I woke up at 9 pm an hour after going to bed with a headache. I took half a diamox and drank my bottle of water throughout the night waking every hour or two. At 5:30 am I woke and my headache was worse so I went down and was in bc (basecamp) by 9 for breakfast. I think we are heading up tomorrow at 5 or so to c2 (camp 2) again and hopefully c3 (camp 3) at 7100M or 23,300 ft. Unfortunately the forcast is for winds to increase to 80 mph tuesday and wednesday and even 20 mph winds at 7000m is too much for me. So we`ll see. I`ve had some time to work on the second prototype ice axe and its almost done. Lots of card playing and good videos. Some people have left early and I miss them already. No injuries from our team on the mountain so far. Only 10 days left for us at bc... (...and I`m going to want quite the variety of food when I get home)"

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Summer for Some

Hi all!
Sorry for the lack of updates we get little news with sparce information every so often. My parents get most of the news from the field touring site and we've only heard from Isaiah once through an e-mail thus far.

A week or maybe two ago Isaiah reported that they had reached base camp at Broad Peak and were nothing less than excited for the upcoming months up the mountain. Isaiah along with a few others experienced mountain sickness upon getting to base camp which is very normal for mountain climbers and was nothing to worry about. We haven't heard from Isaiah himself recently but from reports by other team members it seems everyone is doing well and in good condition.

Their team has since established camp 1, 2, and we just heard today that they have now established camp 3. Camp 3 will be the last camp before the final 13 hour (about) push to the summit. (If conditions aren't right, they have the option of making a camp 4 if needed.)

As most of us have been enjoying our 70+ degree summer days, Isaiah has been seeing freshly fallen snow. For a while the team hadn't been able to make much progress because it had been snowing quite a bit. From what we know now, things are looking better and the team is once again moving.

The best way we can help Isaiah get to the summit is thoughts and prayers for the team!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer!