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  K2 2009: Tunc Fındık reports in on the way to K2 again

Update on the way to K2(click here to listen)

Dear EverestNews.com, HI, I am in Skardu. All is very well here below is my first and last report of e-mail, the rest I shall leave a voice dispatch! Thanks, Tunc

Hello to all, This is Tunc Findik from Turkey, reporting to you from Pakistan. Our international expedition to climb K2 is on the road, up and running. Field Touring Alpine is the organizer of this expedition and Fabrizio Zangrilli is the leader. Our objective is to climb the Cesen Route on the South Face of K2, which is a fairly technical climb incorporating 60-70 degrees ice and rock climbing up to Vth grade UIAA. Our group to climb K2 is 10 people, from different nationalities. In these dispatches I send, I will give overall information on how our party progresses, and specifically on my and my partner Fabrice Imparato from France.

After meeting 10th June 2009 in Islamabad, we have set off to Karakorum Highway in two buses, taking an overall time of 30 tiring hours to reach Skardu, the capital of Baltistan and the staging point of expeditions to Karakorum. The Karakorum Highway was as magnificent as ever, with Indus river canyon  creating a nice panorama. What with the recent events in Swat valley region, I was expecting more of security problems but it was mostly safe so far.

So, we will be resting and organizing in beautiful Skardu for two days and will move to the village of Askole in 15th June. It will 8 days of trekking on the Baltoro Glacier to reach the base camp of K2, which is 5030 metres high. Wish us luck and please follow our progress!

All the best from  Tunc and Fabrice

Tunc's Dhaulagiri  report is below

I went to Nepal in 22 may 2009, to climb Mt. Dhaulagiri from NE ridge, which is the 7th highest summit in the world, at 8167 m. İ was to share the base camp facilities with some other individuals such as Mr. David  Fotjik and Mrs. Pavla Pilchova (both from Czech Republic) and Mr. Mehdi  Etemad Far (İran). Also sharing the base camp with us was a Polish Tatra Rescuers team of 7 members. Dawa Sherpa of Nepal, Solu, who is an 8 time Everest summiteer and a record holder of Everest north- south traverse, was my partner as usual.

There were other teams in the BC, a strong İndian Army team led by Lt. Colonel  Chauhan and thety were very , very friendly and Helpful, very warm people. Also A polish team and German DAV team were there, and we exchanged good feelings with thenm as always.

From kathmandu, by Pokhara, we moved to the base camp following the Myagdi Khola river; on the trekking we passed Beni (800 m.), Babiyachaur (880 m.), Darbang (1000 m.), Naura Bhir (1100 m.), Juga Pani (1500 m.), Bolgara (2300 m.), Dobang (2600 m.), Sallageri (3000 m.), İtalian Base Camp (3700 m.) and by the Chonnbardan Glacier, the base camp of Dhaulagiri (4750 m.). The trek was not so easy, and at parts it involved steep terrain. For the poters it was worse, a very difficult road to go. İn the end we just had 13 out of an original 89 porters, which ended up transporting all our loads.

The weather this season was not bad, actually it was a dry year responsible of icy conditions up the mountain. Dhaulagiri is, until camp 1 (5800 m.) quite dangerous for ice avalanches and we needed to be very quick on the route always, not wasting time around. Also the glacier was full of deep and hidden crevasses which needed us to go roped always. The route was steep after camp 2, with nearly 500 metres of 55 degrees black- blue ice.

We made 3 high camps on Dhaulagiri with Dawa. Camp 1 (5800 m.) is at NE saddle, Camp 2 (6700 m.) is on a steep shoulder near rocks in the northeast ridge we climbed and the temporary Camp 3 is at a rocky ledge in 7250 m. on the ridge itself.

On 3 trips, of which the last was for summit itself, we spent a total of 7 days on the mountain, which afforded us good acclimatization.

So, we decided our summit bid when the wind was lower, which seemed may 1st on our friend Jamie weather reports. We moved  from base camp to camp 2 directly 29th april and moved to put camp 3 in 30th. April.  Me and  Dawa  left the Camp 3 (7250 m.) in the early hours of May 1st, around 02.00 at night. İt was quite windy, more than we have predicted for sure, cold at around -25 degrees C.

David and Mehdi was ahead of us , maybe an hour, along with a slow moving group of Korean Climbers. İn the dark, we climbed a hard ice wall of around 200 metres high and 55 degrees incline on fixed lines, up to the snow shoulder at 7500 metres. Then we climbed up the easier snow incline (at dawn, and with many destroyed tent remains to be seen around) up to  approx. 7700 metres, where we traversed rightwards on big, black colored rock ledges and easy ice inclines. By then it was  light but still very windy until an hour later. The thin fixed line ropes  that we carried and fixed commonly  as a big group  ended at around approx. 7770 metres altitude and we had to resort to solo climbing, ie. moving without ropes over medium difficult icy terrain. David, me and Korean Kim  made a  traversing path in deep snow, changing turns,  to cross a big snow couloir until a rocky ridge, then David and me traversed across the summit icefield diagonally rightwards to gain the summit ice gully (which, until we neared we could not identify as such- but knew to be there). The climbing was on 45-50 degree inclined blue granular ice,  not so hard but necessitating care always on your crampon work and ice axe.

After 12.30 hours, clouds, more wind and whiteout made our climb increasingly difficult. I could see David  ahead making into the gully. We were very near to the top! 10 minutes after David, i finished the summit ice gully in a heartbeat- which happened to be a quite tiring job at above 8100 metres, not using supplementary oxygen- to appear on the rocky, level summit ridge, to walk 3-5 minutes to a rocky hump 50-80 m. away to the left (which is, i think the summit itself, no parayer flags or markers) ( Note: around there, at the end of the gully in the ridge,  a long dead man, presumably a European climber, in a tattered suit and crampons, lies in X position facing up). The strong electricity in the air and the very risk of lightning, which threatened from south side of the mountain, necessitated a fast retreat . I have taken some photos in whiteout conditions on the ridge. No time and place to enjoy the top of Dhaulagiri- i felt the frightening sizzle of electricity on my shoulders and hair, even under the down suit! İ did not like the situation, this was really a big risk.

My summit time estimated is 14.30-14.45 afternoon. Me first, then David retreated down the gully, climbing downwards  on ice, facing it. Then, I  saw Mehdi sitting on the rocks at the mouth of the summit gully. I told him to come down with me but i think he wanted to have a try at summit, once it was so near… İ could not wait for him, had to go down- fast. This was the last time i saw him alive, and later David said he thought  he saw him fall down the summit gully on blue ice.

Back at the summit icefield now, and in an imminent whiteout condition and a strong blizzard that covered my face and eyes in ice, i was only able to get back to Dawa (who was waiting for me patiently) with a compass bearing  wisely  taken beforehand. I saw David ski down by our side  fast. Because he had tour ski boots and thinner clothing, he unfortunately had  frostbite to his feet and hands and i hope he will be much better in short time..

And by 19.50-20.15 hours, we had rappelled many pitches on ice and  we reached camp 3 in a calm moonlight… to settle down for the night at 7250 m. With Dawa we spent resting the night in one sleeping bag, not so uncomfortable. We have reached base camp by the afternoon next day, may 2.

After us, the same day, the two Korean teams including our friend Kim Hong Bin  summitted by 18.30 or so, as far as i know. And by 8th May, the İndian Army expedition summitted 6 man-strong. The Tatra Polish rescuers team could not summit.

We left the mountain by the route of French Col, Dhampus Pass and Marpha- Jomosom which proved to be a very long trip for just a day!

Tunc Fındık, 14 May 2009








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