American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, K2 Attempt

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1991

K2 Attempt. We were Doug Dalquist, leader, Greg Collins, Bob Hess, Dan Heilig and I. Except for the few mornings when the porters had to be persuaded to carry in poor weather, the 11-day approach went without incident. Within a few days of our arrival at Base Camp on June 6, we scouted a route up the glacier to Advance Base on the Abruzzi Ridge at 17,500 feet. We sledded heavy loads up the glacier and made forays to Camp I at 20,000 feet. On June 16, Dalquist and Heilig moved to Camp I. Aside from mini-freight train sloughs after storms, the slope to Camp I was generally in good condition. The climbing to Camp II was tedious but easy. We established Camp II at 22,000 feet. By the end of the month, Collins, Hess and I succeeded in climbing the most difficult section, the Black Pyramid, to 24,000 feet with light loads. Heilig and Dalquist followed two days later and left a cache at 23,500 feet. On July 3, we were all in Base Camp, ready for the summit attempt. Until then, storms lasted four or five days, followed by two-day clear spells. Now bad weather held. Each time, less than 24 hours into the climb, black clouds threatened from the south. For the next 23 days, we never made it above Camp II. Finally, on July 25, we climbed to Camp II. On the 26th, Collins, Dalquist and I made our way in new snow, unburying fixed line as we went, through the Black Pyramid, past the sérac band at 24,000 feet, up windslab to camp at 24,500 feet. In the morning, we all moved slowly in the still, cold morning. With such a long way to go, it bcame apparent that we hadn’t the energy to reach the summit. Dalquist and I turned back while still in sight of the camp. Collins continued on to reach 25,600 feet (7800 meters). He returned shortly and that afternoon we all descended.

Philip Powers, Unaffiliated

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