Fredrik Ericsson to Attempt First Ski Descent of K2, Arrives at K2 Base Camp

Posted By: Zeke Piestrup on June 23, 2009 9:40 am


Fredrik Ericsson, famed ski mountaineer, will soon attempt the first ski descent of K2.  Ericsson has arrived at the K2 basecamp.  A frightening drive, a slaughtered goat, and K2 looming in the distance are all part of Ericsson’s report.

K2 Ski Expedition 2009 – Update 2
GPS Position:
Lat N 35°50,34′
Lon E 076°30,85′
K2 Base Camp
Altitude – 5135 meters
After seven days of trekking up the Baltoro Valley we have finally reached the base camp of K2 which will be our home for the next six weeks. This is where the climbing on K2 starts.
From Skardu we drove Landrovers on very small and bumpy roads to a village called Askole. The drive was six hours long and one of the scariest I have ever had. At one point we had to go through a small waterfall. The road was only as wide as the car. On one side was a rock wall and on the other was a hundred meters drop down to the river. The road was muddy from all the water and on our first try we got stuck in the mud and had to back up. The second try we had to touch the rock wall not to slide off the road. Fortunately we had a good driver and made it through. I was happy to arrive in Askole in one peace. That car ride was probably be more scary than anything we will face on K2.
To get all our equipment and food for six weeks up to K2 we had to hire porters. The farmers from Askole were happy to help us out. So happy that they almost started fighting about the loads. It was a bit chaotic before we had distributed the 40 loads to the porters. Unfortunately there where some guys that showed hoping to get work that didn’t get any. Hopefully they will get some when the next expedition shows up.
The trek up the Baltoro Valley is a long walk. We hiked for six days and about 5-6 hours every day on small or non existing trails. It was rocks, sand and ice in an uneven mix. For a weak guy like me that is painful. My feet were not exactly happy after six hours of walking on rocks and glaciers.
About halfway on the trek the porters wanted a break so we had one rest day in a camp called Paiju. Our Guide had brought a live Goat for food. With my stomach problems I wasn’t so hungry for goat meat , neither was Michele so we gave it to the porters. They got very happy and had a little meatfest on our rest day in Paiju.
The higher up we got the better the views got. We passed some great mountains like the Trango Towers, Mustagh Tower and Masherbrum and at that point I even stopped whining about the pain in my feet. The experience culminated at Concordia. From that great junction of glaciers you can view some of the finest mountains in the world: Mitre Peak, Gasherbrum 4, Broad Peak and K2. If you go there in beginning of June when there’s not much people, like we did, it’s a truly amazing place.
From Concordia we had a five hours walk up the Godwin Austen Glacier to K2 base camp, including a tea break with two Austrian climbers at Broad Peak base camp. Just to make a our day a bit more interesting, with a teacup in my hand I got to watch a French guy fly down from high up on Broad Peak with a Paraglider. Not a bad tea break.
Anyway, we have now arrived at K2 base camp which will be our home for the next six weeks. Everything is good. The stomach problems that has been bothering me since I left my Pizza diet and ventured into the Pakistani food in Islamabad is now gone. My Italian mate Michele is my mentor on the food, he says that you can never eat too much Pizza. ;)
We are now getting ready to start climbing on K2, the mountain of my dreams.
If you have the possibility, check out the Baltoro Glacier and K2 on Goggle Earth. It’s pretty cool.

Book that I’m reading: Anthony Kiedis – Scar Tissue
Music on my MP3 player: Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication

photos: (top) At Concordia we got the first view of K2. What a beautiful mountain! (bottom) At Concordia we met these boys. Mohammad, Raja and Rozi have a mission to clean up the Baltoro region from all garbage that has been dumped throughout the years. Good on you boys.

Zeke Piestrup ( More Posts)

Phone: Fax: Address: City: State: Zip: Country: