Totally wasted, yesterday we returned back to the base camp. Terminal station. Finito. K2 demonstrated its power of destruction. A massive avalanche, set in motion by a collapse of sérac above C4, ruthlessly swept away the whole of the 3rd high-altitude camp. It wiped out all tents, food and oxygen supplies. About thirty people were supposed to be up there at that time, luckily there were none…
Sadness, disappointment? Bet your boots. Over six weeks of hard work and austerity – and then, at the drop of a hat, everything is brutally brought to an end. But this morning, as I woke up into a beautiful sunny day – a day like no other for a summit push – it occurred to me how goddam lucky we were! The mountain hits any time she wants and doesn’t take hostages: the sérac could’ve easily collapsed today rather than yesterday.
As the mountaineering old hand Kari Kobler told me earlier today after breakfast: "K2 ain’t just some hill similar to other eight-thousanders. Everest or Makalu can’t compare with it. K2 is in a class of its own. Listen, you gave it all you could, and you’re lucky to be here – back and alive." Tough words but truthful enough.
It is gradually dawning on all of us what stroke of luck we had and we’re gradually switching to the "return home" mode. Hurray! Such thoughts have so far been a taboo. Throughout the expedition I’ve prohibited myself from thinking of how my kids are doing back home, how it would feel to hug them, how I’d enjoy a glass of fine wine on a slow day on my terrace…
And here it comes – real and palpable. The base camp looks all different now, preparations are under way for a big transfer back to civilization. Time to re-pack, dry the wet stuff, take stock of the wear and gear, do the last laundry… and take the much needed shower.
I’m full of joy and grateful that I cloud experience this wonderful adventure… which has by no means ended yet.
Take care, Klára