(Deutsch) Kurzmeldung vom 16.08.2010

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(Deutsch) Kurzmeldung vom 12.08.2010

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Report about the accident on K2 – Fredrik Ericsson from Sweden took a fatal fall

06th of August 2010

After having consulted the father of our friend Frederik and having spoken to Gerlinde on the radio, I would like to give you the following account of the accident, which happened during the attempt to reach the summit of K2.

Last night at 1.30am, Fredrik, his friend Trey and Gerlinde left Camp IV on the shoulder of K2. As the weather had been pretty bad since 11pm, the other six climbers decided not to go for the summit and stayed in their tents. They decided to stay behind due to the strong winds and poor visibility. However, as Charly Gabl from Innsbruck had told us that the weather would improve during the night, Gerlinde, Fredrik and Trey stuck with their decision to push for the summit. When at 7am they had reached the bottleneck, Gerlinde told me over the radio that only Fredrik and herself were continuing towards the summit in poor visibility and extremely cold winds. Trey had turned back. An hour later, at about 8.10am, I received another call from Gerlinde and she sounded shocked. She told me that Fredrik had taken a fall and flew past her. She said she was on her way down to look for him. Shortly afterwards she called me again saying that the only thing she could find was one of Fredrik’s skis he had carried. It seemed as if Fredrik had fallen towards the flank on the right side of the ascent route. Due to the poor visibility it was almost impossible to see more. During further conversations, Gerlinde told me that Fredrik had been leading without a rope, and that it was very likely that he had tried to put in an anchor on a rock on the side of the bottleneck, slipped and was unable to hold his fall.

Gerlinde continued to descend very slowly in poor visibility and at about 9am she met Darek Zaluski and Fabrizio Zangrilli, who had gone up to meet her. At this point I would like to thank those two for climbing up to meet Gerlinde despite the bad conditions. Shortly afterwards all three of them were back at Camp IV on the shoulder.

In the meantime, the Russian Yura Ermachek had descended from the shoulder towards Camp III, which enabled him to have a closer look at the 800m high flank next to the ascent route. At about 400m above Camp III (7,200m) he could actually see Frederiks body and probably his rucksack. Yura, who is very experienced, continued to descend, however, he noticed that traversing towards the huge flank would hold extreme risks, such as avalanches and icefall. When he talked to Fredrik’s father at about 4pm Pakistani time, the father said that he did not want anyone to take any risks and that it would be the best to leave Fredrik where he was – with a view of his favourite mountains like Chogolisa and Laila Peak.

Gerlinde has just rung me (about 6.15pm) from Camp II. Rockfall, a snapped rope and belays that had come out had made the descent more difficult. She was going to wait for the night’s cold to set in and then continue down to base camp.

Now, the only thing left for us to do is say goodbye to an amazing person. Fredrik Ericsson was not only one of the strongest climbers here at base camp, he was also one of the most popular climbers. Like nobody else, he was always in a good mood, showed a lot of optimism and had infected us with his love for the mountains and extreme skiing.

Dear Fredrik, you were a fine person and we will all remember you very fondly. We are sending our condolence to your parents, your relatives and your friends.

Ralf Dujmovits from K2 Base Camp

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Newsletter K2 Expedition 2010

Thursday, 5th of August

Ralf reports from K2 Base Camp

Gerlinde and her climbing partners have had a long and exhausting day. The seven of them arrived at K2’s shoulder at 8,000m this afternoon. The conditions are surprisingly good up there. They hardly had to break trail and the wind is moderate. Our friend and meteorologist Charly Gabl from Innsbruck has also forecast good weather for tomorrow: the first part of the night is supposed to be cloudy, and at the moment, at 6.45pm Pakistan time, there is a huge cloud cover building up above the summit of K2. However, it is supposed to clear later in the night and tomorrow is forecast to be a fine day with moderate winds and a pleasant -15° C. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that it will work out this time – Gerlinde really deserves it.

Shortly after we had reached Camp III (7,200m) in good weather yesterday, we were immediately faced with K2’s imminent dangers. There had already been a lot of rock fall during our ascent, but fortunately without any nasty consequences. But once at Camp III, the warm temperatures were giving us grief. In the tent above us – the tents are pitched on platforms on a 45° slope at Camp III – Fabrizio and Kinga had already reported that a huge rock had fallen down. A little bit later, we heard the scary rumble and a rock, as big as a child’s head, hit the tent of the two Poles, Tamara and Darek, directly underneath us. The rock went straight through the outer and inner wall of their tent and through the carrier mat. Fortunately, nobody got hurt but despite being in a tent, Gerlinde and I decided to wear our helmets and carried on melting water. For about two hours, Gerlinde was even wearing her helmet to sleep.

The rock fall continued during the ascent to the shoulder. It may have been that we had been kicking off big rocks, which are normally stuck to the mountain by permafrost, during our climb through the steep and very crumbly rocky territory; or it may have been that due to the high temperatures, the rocks had just come off by themselves. When I slightly touched a rock with my crampons and triggered it to fall at about 7,500m, the climb had become a bit too exciting for me and I decided to finish the adventure ‘K2 2010’. As I had never ever been in such high danger of triggering rockfall, which could injure another climber or myself, I decided that the time had come for me to turn back. I guess, once you have already reached the summit, the dangers and risks become more imminent. In the afternoon – almost at the same time when Gerlinde reached the shoulder at about 8,000m – I was back at base camp, from where I will try and keep you posted about Gerlinde’s climb.

At 6.30pm I was able to talk to Gerlinde and she seemed to be fine. Apart from the two Americans Fabrizio and Tray, Kinga, Tamara and Tarek from Poland and Frederik from Sweden are camped in the tents next to her. A Russian and another Pole had also set up camp at the shoulder. Tonight at 1am they want to start their summit attempt. Even though we had been expecting other climbers from the Abruzzi Spur to reach the shoulder, nobody had arrived from that side. I guess they must have had a rest day at Camp III. Gerlinde said there seemed to be a lot of blank ice around the bottleneck, which made her hope that she would not have to break trail as much as last year.

Well, that’s it for today from K2 base camp. I will be in touch again tomorrow and I hope that I will be able to give you some positive news.

Warm Regards

Ralf Dujmovits

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