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Alpinists of K2 expedition fell through a crack

03 august 2011, 12:17
0
Expedition to K2. ©NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC/Maxut Zhumayev
Expedition to K2. ©NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC/Maxut Zhumayev
During a trip from the base camp to the height of 5300 meters two of the members of the expedition to K2 – Maksut Zhumayev and Ralf Dujmovits – fell through a crack in the ice. They managed to avoid any serious injuries.

Here is what Zhumayev has to say about it: “The strong wind that has been raging in the past several days has covered up with snow a lot of cracks in the glacier along the way to the first camp. I fell in first. Gerlinda and Ralf had pass on that same route right in front of me and I was following in their footsteps but it took me only one moment to completely loose the ground under my feet. I immediately stretched forward with my entire body and managed to hold to the edge of the crack with my chest. I got out fast and got off with nothing more than a fright. Then Ralf fell into a crack further along the way to the first camp. He fell through neck-deep, but luckily we were all tied together with a rope, so we quickly got him out,” Zhumayev said.

According to the Kazakh alpinist the main difficulties still lay ahead on the slopes of Chogori: “The storm brought around 20 cm of snow. The sun is blazing hard now and the snow is melting and getting saturated with water; this makes it heavy and dangerous. Now we are watching avalanches going down the K2 slope.”

Zhumayev said that the routes that the team laid in the previous three ascents have been covered up with snow and it is likely that the road to the fourth camp will have to be made almost anew. “We hope that there is not as much snow above the first camp are there used to be during our second acclimatization ascent and we will be able to reach the height of 6600 meters fast. Tomorrow is going to the most difficult and dangerous day for the expedition. The snow and is heavy and we will have a long way to go. We will pray, really I mean it that we will pray the way we can,” the climber said.

The goal of the fourth ascent the team is making now is to set a summit camp at the height of 8000 meters.

The international expedition to K2 includes Maksut Zhumayev and Vassiliy Pivtsov from Kazakhstan, Gerlinda Kaltenbrunner from Austria, Ralf Dujmovits from Germany, Darek Zaluski from Poland and Tommy Heinrich from Argentina.

Chogori is located in the Karakorum mountain system in Kashmir province at the territory of Pakistan. Its height is 8,611 meters.

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