Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Freaking terrifying

I've always had a strange obsession with mountain climbing, even though I've never done it myself. I suppose it's the fact that I just love the mountains. But the latest incident on K2 is just absolutely terrifying to read about. K2 is a harder mountain to climb than even Everest, and each year, groups attempting to summit are given a window of only a few days. Almost every year someone dies, but this year 11 have perished as of right night, with more possible.

Nick Rice, a climber who was keeping a blog during this year's attempt at the summit, wrote about the tragedy as it was happening. He had turned back and wasn't caught in the ice fall, but he knew some of the climbers. The part that seems most harrowing to me is this:

Cas, who downclimbed the bottleneck, and the Italian, Marco, who was rescued by Pemba after being discovered laying in the snow, with gloves off, harness half off, and unconscious are also heading down. Base camp is quite somber thanks to the enormous loss of life in such a short amount of time. The American Doctor, Eric, and a few others are working on the heli-pad and making a triage tent in preparation for the receival of the severely frostbitten climbers. As their limbs begin to thaw out, they will experience tremendous pain, and will need some very potent pain management.
It's worth reading everything from dispatch 62 until today's note. That said, I think I am going to go ahead and read the whole thing.

Here's hoping that those left are alright, and thoughts go out to the families of those who perished. Certainly, these climbers knew what they were getting themselves into, but it's always sad to see something like this happen.

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