AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

Asia, China, Tien Shan, K2, North Ridge Attempt

K2, North Ridge Attempt. On June 11, Heinz Wohlweind, Hans Stegmeier, Reinhard Vlasich, Elisabeth Vlasich, Peter Kowalzik (leader) and I met in Beijing to climb the north ridge of K2 (on an IMC commercial expedition from Germany — Ed.). On June 14, after traveling by jet and jeep across China, we began the seven-day trek to K2 basecamp on the North K2 Glacier. We established ABC at 5000 meters on June 25. After four weeks of beautiful, albeit very hot, weather, we were ready to start summit attempts on July 25. A major storm hit the Karakoram. Wohlweind and Kowalzik were at Camp III, Stegmeier and myself were at Camp I (5000 meters). Both parties waited one day for the weather to improve, but conditions only worsened. Growing avalanche danger forced us down. Kowalzik and Wohlweind descended from Camp III (8000 meters) to Base Camp in near whiteout conditions in one day. After five days, the weather improved. Kowalzik, R. Vlasich and I made one more summit attempt and on August 5 we reached Camp IV at 7900 meters. By early the next morning, another major storm hit the Karakoram, and again we were forced to descend. Just below Camp IV, an old fixed line I was rappelling off of broke while I was descending a steep rock face. I fell about 30 feet and landed in a tangle of ropes. Fortunately, Peter was behind me and saw me fall. He and Reinhard stayed with me for two hours while I slowly regained full consciousness. I was able to descend on my own power to ABC. I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Peter and Reinhard. I most certainly would have perished without their vigilance. The return trek went safely and without incident.

Jay Sieger, unaffiliated