This just in about the guys on Gasherbraum II that we blogged about a few days ago.
We’re headed for the summit!
Finally, after some days in Basecamp the weather changed and so we started our second descent to camp 1 on July 17th.
To get to camp 1, we always have to walk across the 8 kilometer glacier break. Since it is less dangerous on cold nights, because the crevasse-bridges are pretty sustainable at that point of the day, we had to get up early, at 2 a.m. and reached camp 1 at 5950 meters early in the morning, when we saw a huge avalanche going down exactly were we were supposed to ski down from camp 2. It was a massive cloud of snow and for a short moment we thought it would come down to us and catch us as well.
After setting up our tents we were completely exhausted. The problem here is not the cold, but the heat. Whereas at night temperatures are far below zero, it is incredible hot during the day, up to 40 degrees Celsius in our tents.
But it was possible to stay there over night due to the good weather conditions.
The next day, we ascended to camp 2. The route is extremely steep and leads over the so called â€œBananaâ€? to camp 2. With skis on our backs, we made the whole way with ice ax and crampons. It took us 5 hours to get from 5950 meters to 6500 meters and we were again exhausted.
While ascending we honestly asked ourselves how to get down there again. The problem is the danger to set off an avalanche and cover people who are ascending. But Luis did a great job keeping the way free for us and so we skied down with our great Gasherbrum skis. The ski run was extremely steep- but thatâ€™s the way we like it!
We slept another night in camp 1, which was a lot better than the first night, before we climbed camp 2 again. This time we were twice as quick as the first time, our bodies are getting more and more acclimatized to the height.
After arriving at camp 2 (6500 m), we set up our tents and stayed over night for the first time.
Early in the morning of the 20th, it was time to hit the road again. We ascended to camp 3 , which lies on 7000 meters. Unfortunately the weather changed again and we had to set up our tents while it was snowing.
On our way back to camp 2, we had to rope down twice, the rest we could do with our skis.
An absolute highlight was the ski run from camp 3 back to Basecamp on the 21st was that we could do the whole run with skis and had best conditions. Twenty cm of new powder snow and the steep inclinations of Gasherbrum II made for a great challenge and we were thrilled when reached Basecamp. It gave a lot of self confidence and it was simply great fun, we didnâ€™t think that it was possible at all to find ways of skiing down the whole route we’d chosen.
Right now weâ€™re resting in Basecamp for a few days and from here we now want to try the summit via the normal route. As always, the staring signal it up to the weather.
All in all everything is working out well. Without a doubt, this is the biggest challenge we ever accepted. Weâ€™ ve never skied down similar routes and we are fascinated by the great surroundings of Gasherbrum II. By the way, this season it looks like we are the only crazy guys who try the summit with skis. But we feel more comfortable on skis than with any other equipment and for us it is the most elegant way to climb and descend a mountain.
We are looking forward to see you all soon!
Beni and Basti
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.