Dave Watson Skied Most of K2 + Ski Mountaineering Round Up
The internet has been buzzing since ski mountaineer Dave Watson skied the infamous 'Bottleneck Couloir' on K2 in August. It's one of the most challenging mountains on the planet, and just climbing is a feet that few accomplish.
Dave's Expedition Site reports:
They arrived in base camp on July 6 and less than a month later Dave was leading and fixing ropes up the fabled "bottleneck" at over 8,300 meters. On the wind protected slopes above the bottleneck, the snow deepened with every step until it eventually stopped progress. Dave was out front breaking trail for 4 1/2 hours until the call was made by the other members of the summit team to turn around. "It was getting late, 3 pm and the snow was chest deep. Progress was very slow. Breaking trail in those conditions at 8,400 meters was very tiring and there just wasn't enough manpower to get the job done. The weather was good but we weren't sure how long it would hold. When my partner started signaling me to turn around I knew that was it. It was time to ski." Despite the presence of some of the world's strongest high altitude climbers, no one would reach the summit of K2 in 2009.
Dave then climbed down 50 meters to meet up with his partner and have a cup of coffee from his thermos. As all of the other climbers were rappelling down the ropes in the bottleneck, Dave was going through a mental checklist preparing for his historic descent. "I wasn't thinking about the skiing, being so tired and covered in ice from the trail-breaking. I was on auto pilot just to get ready for the skiing: pack off and clipped in, change my frozen gloves, skis off pack. The snow was so hard I couldn't jam the skis in, I had to tie them off. Next was take the crampons off, overboots off, put them in the pack, clean the ice off of the boots, put the skis on, adjust the length of the poles, ice axe on the pack, buckle the boots, zip up all the zippers on the suit, pack on and unclip from the rope."
Read the rest of the epic descent at K2tracks.com >>
In Other Ski Mountaineering News
Lou Dawson from Wildsnow just posted a cool article of who made some of the first descents of the 8,000m peaks around the world. Of course with K2 still semi up for grabs a whole slew of comments ensued - cool to see everyone peicing theh obscure clues together.
Meanwhile, speaking of obscurity, rumours were flying about a first descent of Archangel Ridge on Foraker until Marcus put up his hand and wrote this awesome Archangel Trip Report for us. Thanks Marcus! Sounded like full-on no man's land on that line. Cool to see Marcus and Bougie getting after it again.
Anywho, that's all for now, just thought we'd get some ski mountaineering goodness up here.