K2 is, as we all know, a mountain that has haunted climbers since the first expedition attempts. “The savage mountain”, has always resisted as if no man was allowed to enter it’s domain. Human tragedy is deeply rooted in it’s image, forcing climbers to take every little event into serious consideration: You just do not fool around with the BIG SCARY BROWNIE.
In the April issue of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC 2012, a brilliant article describes the International Amical Alpin climb of this big pile of rock and ice. Rightly they based the assent from the North side (North pillar), properly offering more stable conditions.
Naturally one could look at this climb, as the last in the line of Gerlindes 14 non ox climbs. It is, but it’s also a bit more: This climb represent a human manifestation of outmost will, determination, faith and profound trust. Confronted by this, K2 opened up the closed door and offered 15min to Gerlinde alone on top. No wind, Sun down light from a clear blue sky and surrounded below by all the 8000 she had formerly climbed in the area. An alpine blessing on her final 8000.
Austrian mountaineer, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, has just become the first woman to climb the world’s 14 highest peaks without the use of supplementary oxygen. She finished this amazing feat with an impressive climb up K2 using a different, and not very often climbed route – the North Pillar. Gerlinde and her husband, Ralf Dujmovits, were climbing with a team of four other mountaineers and during their expedition they had to overcome extreme difficulties. They had to deal with avalanches, rock fall and breaking trail through hip-deep snow at dizzying altitudes above 8,000m. On 23 August at 6.18pm, Gerlinde together with three other climbers, stood on top of the second highest peak in the world and with this achievement, she certainly wrote mountaineering history.
After having been on the mountain for more than two-and-a-half months, the couple arrived in Germany on Saturday, 3rd September and instead of getting a rest at home, Ralf and Gerlinde went straight to ‘das aktuelle Sportstudio’ to share their remarkable experience.
We are very relieved to report that Tommy and Ralf were able to meet Gerlinde, Maxut, Vassiliy und Darek at the deposit camp, which is at the end of the heavily crevassed glacier.
They are on their way down to the base camp and after a short rest will continue to the Chinese base camp.
The camels are already waiting there and the team will start their way back into civilisation tomorrow.
We are sending our heartfelt congratulations to the whole team, especially gerlinde for their amazing success.
Gerlinde short bevor reaching Camp III - International K2 Expedition
Update 10AM Local Time
At midnight last night, Gerlinde, and a little later also Darek, reached Camp IV at 8,000m. Vassily and Maxut stayed the night at their bivouac at 8,300m, from where they left at 7am. They have now almost reached Camp IV.
Today, they are planning to descend to Camp I at 5,300m, where they will spend one last night at the foot of the North Pillar before they will go down to our deposit camp tomorrow. I am planning to go up and meet them there.