On the evening of the 25th, dark clouds rolled up from the south, covering our tents with snow. We awoke to a chaotic weather pattern that lasted until the early morning of the 27th: brief storms shaking the tents, brilliant sunshine sneaking through holes in the clouds, fog rolling up and sliding back down the valley.
On the 25th, Ray, Oscar and I managed to ferry a load to Advanced Base Camp, remarking the trail as we went. The trail passes through a number of deposition zones from avalanches that tear down the South Face. We use bamboo wands with fluorescent survey tape to mark the way around these dangerous sections.
Once inside jumbled mess of the icefall, every snowfall hides the best route. Here we marked the trail just about every 50 feet. One could easily become lost in that mess of crevasses and ice towers, if you were descending in a storm. The bamboo wands are our best street signs.
The storm system seemed to lose all its energy early this morning. We can now see the summit of K2 and Broad Peak, and the winds up high have weakened. With the strong Karakorum sun baking the slopes, the team is once again preparing to move up.
This afternoon, Inaki, Oscar, Joby and I will climb to Camp 1. Rod and Henry will spend the night Advanced Base Camp. By 5 a.m. tomorrow, Peta, Pasang Dawa (Padawa), and Ray will shoulder packs at BC, and climb straight through to Camp 1.
If all goes as planned, on the 28th, Joby and I will spend a night at Camp 2. Ray, Rod, Henry, Peta and Padawa will be at Camp 1. And Inaki and Oscar will return to BC after tagging Camp 2.
Our goal is to get Camp 2 established while allowing our bodies to get further acclimated to the altitude. We are hoping that the Spanish weather forecast holds true: good weather through July 1st.
Meanwhile back at Base Camp, things are wonderful. Our cooks are talented, our health is excellent and our team is even-keeled and enjoying each other's company. (Yes, we did have a bit of a row over someone's insistence to play Wayne Newton during breakfast). My only fear is of running out of books and good coffee.