Gasherbrum2 - the aftermath


To make a long story short I am going to lay down only a few DOs/DON'Ts (as a reminder for myself), the raw and uncut (but spellchecked) journal, and the expenses for the curious minds.

the good (the achievements)

  • hydration - I stayed hydrated day and night, on average I drank more than 5l water/tea a day
  • acclimatization - no high altitude sickness except a single headache at ~3500m (11500ft) in Urdukas camp
  • healthy - no stomach problems, no diarrhea, no vomiting, 20 years of "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger" lifestyle pays off
  • no pills policy - I did not take a single pill the entire expedition, my personal 'summit'… YAAAYYY!!!
  • breathe in through nose, breathe out through mouth - I did it for some time then I stopped and started to cough :(
  • never rest (or sleep) after climbing - keep moving so heart rate goes down slowly from ~150bpm to 100/80bpm
  • mastering pee bottle - not getting out of tent / not even sleeping bag to pee saves a lot of warmth/energy

the bad (the mistakes)

  • left Scarpa Montblanc boots for 6000m and LaSportiva sport shoes at home
  • never tried assault (light single layer) tent before
  • heavy backpack for high altitude mountaineering ~2.2kg (7lbs)
  • carry too much for my fitness level ~10kg (30lbs), the less the better
  • I should have trained longer/harder to increase stamina/VO2 max
  • climbing pace is important, don't rush to keep up with others, the slower the better
  • coughing is normal, part of the game, as long is does not gets worst
  • left my toiletries (toothpaste, sunscreen) at home and bought fake ones in Islamabad

the ugly (the lows)

  • 06/21 - after I left Jhula camp when I realized that I have to walk ~100km in sandals and I might not even make it to BC :(
  • 07/17,18,19 - after coughing the whole night then solo-ing down the Banana ridge from C2 to C1 to BC
  • 07/30 - on Karakoram highway when 3 days road block due to landslides was not a bad joke, was the reality, Ohhhh FUCK moment!!!

the journal

  • 06/15 - depart from Bucharest, trouble at the airport with overweight baggage, a bit of small talk and I managed to send it as sport gear
  • 06/16 - arrived in Islamabad and wounded my ankle the very first evening
  • 06/18 - Islamabad to Skardu, hell minibus ride, 30h, one driver, ankle wound got worst, a bit infected
  • 06/21 - Skardu to Jhula by 4WD on a very bumpy road
  • 06/22 - Jhula to Paju, cruel reality, I had to walk in sandals to protect my wound
  • 06/23 - Paju to Urdukas, steep terrain, one donkey fell and broke legs, altitude headache, Pawel lost phone
  • 06/24 - Urdukas to Goro2, the headache away during the night
  • 06/25 - Goro2 to Concordia to Shama, got lost on glacier that could not be crossed, lost 3h, bit of snow
  • 06/26 - Shama to BC, snow/wind since morning, put my trekking boots on for first time, Pawel lost down jacket
  • 06/27 - first day in BC, chill, chill
  • 06/28 - first try on ice-fields with Pawel, wound is yellow/red-ish, infection…, Paul/Moritz slept in tent near C1
  • 06/29 - rest day with Pawel/Phillipe, Paul/Moritz return
  • 06/30 - rest day in BC with Paul, wash all clothes, piano concert, rip-off the wound dry layer, rest of the team goes to C1, Johan had altitude sickness
  • 07/01 - first BC to C1 in 7h, shit headlamps, hard time finding trail head
  • 07/02 - first 100m of fixed ropes set in place by polish team and Justin
  • 07/03 - C1 to BC in 3h with Paul, wound got little infection again, Pawel is coughing and broke tooth, Moritz is ill/coughing
  • 07/04 - rest day in BC with Pawel/Morit/Corinne, washed clothes in bucket then cleanse in glacier
  • 07/05 - wait for sick people in BC, Pawel seems to have PEMA, stupid me washed in glacier then stayed in the sun half naked, got sunburn on my back
  • 07/06 - BC to C1 with Moritz/Corinne, very tired, heavy pack, ~12kg, started at a bit faster pace for me, no hardshell jacket in bakcpack :(, kept mid-down jacket on me, all sweat
  • 07/07 - acclimatization climb to 6200m, half Banana ridge, no pack, sleep down in C1
  • 07/08 - C1 to C2, not well organized, slow morning, very steep and exposed Banana ridge, exposed top fucking ridge, then difficult down climb to actual C2, took 6h
  • 07/09 - C2 to BC, adventure climbing down Banana ridge, ice-falls very soft, crevasses open, glacier wash, drop boxers/sock in water, Pawel got helicoptered from BC
  • 07/10 - rest day, "sunca+afinata" cu Laura/Iustin, dinner @ Laila peak
  • 07/11 - climbing to C1 with Paul, both tired, me 10kg pack again, sleeping in Simond assault tent for the very first time
  • 07/12 - back to BC, climbing against the trend, everyone was coming down, bad weather forecast, fiesta @ French camp, French skiers summited, moved tent in BC
  • 07/13 - in BC, snowing
  • 07/14 - in BC, packing
  • 07/15 - bad night with wet socks in my bag, almost no go, then went last minute, slow 8h to C1, no energy, strange feeling of crying/laughing at the same time, thinking to throw the towel, mixed feelings about the expedition
  • 07/16 - C1 to C2, banana ridge again, turned back due too many people above me, all on the same fixed rope section, warm as fuck, soft snow, back in C1, Maria/Johan getting ready to go up, went back up again, hard climb, reached the C2 last, coughing
  • 07/17 - bad night in C2, coughing all night, no air, no sleep, pain in chest, wanted to go down in the morning but went up to 6645m and back, probably the 'top' for me if the team reaches the summit, finally the ticket home!!!
  • 07/18 - bad sleep in C2 again, in Husky tent this time, really hard time solo down climbing Banana ridge:

    • first, lost Nalgene bottle, it went down to oblivion, scary… scary…
    • second, small avalanches 2m away from me on top steep section
    • and last, fall into crevasse, hanging in prusik knot on fixed rope, could not pull out the left leg, had to dig snow with ice ax…. not fun at all
  • 07/19 - in C1, alone, could not fell asleep, listen to Salsa&Bachata mix until late, cold morning, could not melt snow to make water, ice-falls was horrible, no tracks, fallen bamboo sticks, fog, hard time finding route to BC
  • 07/20 - in BC, Paul and others arrived, summit stories, met with Iustin/Laura, drink "afinata", had cake for dinner
  • 07/21 - killing time in mess tent with Johan then went to 3h piano concert at Laila
  • 07/22 - thinking about going up and try again, eat very good sunca with Justin/Laura
  • 07/23 - trek to internet location, Maria/Vlad arrived, drama with Marie and G1, dinner @ Laila wedding tent
  • 07/24 - preparing/packing for departure
  • 07/25 - trekking with Vlad to Ali camp, crossing glacier a bit hard, took 10h, lost sport glasses
  • 07/26 - left at 1am for Gondogoro pass, quite steep, no crampons, no ax, reached the top at 6am, then very steep on loose rocks going down, fixed ropes but dangerous traverse, reach Laila peak BC @ 2pm
  • 07/27 - left at 6am to reach Hushe by 3pm to catch the car, cross high water river, reached Skardu @ 7pm, pizza dinner @ Rahat Pizza :)
  • 07/28 - all flights from Skardu to Islamabad canceled, visit Shangri La, dinner at hotel
  • 07/29 - car to Islamabad, gas shortage, max 1k PKR, land slide, 4h blocked, fucking slow chicken karahi food took 90 mins waiting
  • 07/30 - shit hits the fan, Karakorum highway totally blocked, heavy rain, stuck in the car since 10pm :(, hopping and long waiting, return to Jatlog, washed in the river, monkey pictures with Pakistani people, lunch/dinner/sleep in restaurant (#cambuza)
  • 07/31 - good 6h sleep in Noon's restaurant, drive to land slice, walk 1h, wait 2h to fix the issues with ladies in our car, finally changed the car, blocked 2 times 1h+ each for road repair, driver very tired, … slept in parking lot on eating area for 4h
  • 08/01 - started in the morning at 6am and we arrived in Islamabad around 10am, after 4 fucking days on the road, check in at another guest house and slept half of the day
  • 08/02 - Paul/Maria/Vlad arrived by plane, 50 mins vs. 4 days for me, not my lucky days
  • 08/03 - walking around in Islamabad to kill one more day, steak night at Atrium
  • 08/04 - fly home with Enter Air, a polish low-cost airline with stop for refuel in Yerevan
  • 08/05 - arrived in Paris at CHG airport and had to change for Beauvais airport, bus to Paris, walk to Concorde, took metro to Porte Maillot, shuttle to Beauvais airport, this seems to be the fastest way to transit, ~4h

the expenses

         6317.85 EUR
        26946.00 RON
           75.00 USD  Expenses
           37.00 EUR
          219.62 RON    Bank
           15.00 RON      Commission
          204.62 RON      Interest
           37.00 EUR      Transfer
          118.98 RON    Electronics
         1558.53 RON    Food
          250.00 RON      Can
         1273.53 RON      Lyophilized
           35.00 RON      Pollen
          370.70 EUR
          442.95 RON    Food&Drinks
          231.55 EUR
        23717.12 RON
           40.00 USD    Gear
         1144.40 RON      Backpack
           71.55 EUR
         1201.66 RON      Base
         2750.00 RON      Boots
         9849.72 RON      Down
          100.00 EUR      Gas
          558.30 RON      Insulation
          503.93 RON      Pants
           60.00 EUR      Rope
          584.00 RON
           40.00 USD      Satphone
          984.00 RON      Sleeping
         1399.99 RON      Tent
          490.00 RON    Insurance
           44.81 RON    Medical
         4000.00 EUR
          112.99 RON    Sports
          112.99 RON      Calisthenics
         4000.00 EUR      Mountaineering
          150.00 EUR    Tip
         1528.60 EUR
          241.00 RON    Transportation
         1496.00 EUR      Airplane
           30.70 EUR      Bus
           90.00 RON      Fee
            1.90 EUR      Metro
          126.00 RON      Train
           35.00 USD    Visa
         6317.85 EUR
        26946.00 RON
           75.00 USD