Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The K2 Climbing Tragedy

I have to admit to being riveted by the tragic story of the climbers who were lost on K2 over the weekend. In case you missed it, K2 is the woeld's second highest peak, about 1,500 miles west and north from Everest. It is considered much more difficult to summit than Everest due to the difficulty of the routes to the top. This past weekend part of an icy overhang (in the pic above the overhang is shown just below and right of the summit) broke off, killing four climbers, cutting ropes and stranding several other climbers above 26,000 feet, an area known as the "dead zone" because of the lack of oxygen. Climbers say that every minute you spend above this zone without oxygen, you are basically dying. A total of 11 climbers ended up being killed in this event, and one climber whose semi-frostbitten feet and hands wouldn't, by some lucky twist of fate, allow him to attempt the summit and forced him to turn back, Nick Rice (with K2 behind him in picture at left), has an incredible blog that details his expedition and gives a day by day account of the tragedy from someone who was right there. I just came across Rice's blog yesterday, and it is fascinating, harrowing reading. To cut to the chase, begin at post 56 and read on from there. This is an incredible story, and much like Krakauer's Into Thin Air, you know a book will be forthcoming.

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