Occasional Climber

Baltistan – Concordia to K2 BC, August 1997

Naq-i plods up clean ice in the direction of Broad Peak, at the snout of the Godwin Austin glacier, as we set out for K2 Base camp
A fine view of Broad Peak and the route we took along the Eastern moraine of the Godwin Austin glacier
Endless rubble as we approach Broad Peak
And more rubble. K2 appears so close now, yet never seems to get much closer
At the foot of Broad Peak we came upon a Spanish climbing team who had successfully climbed the mountain. There was a feeling of relaxed contentment (and an assortment of surplus tasty morsels on offer) as we paused to hear about some of their experiences on Broad Peak
Eventually we approach K2 Base camp, with Vigne and Chogolisa way back down the Godwin Austin glacier, beyond Concordia
Perched above K2 Base camp is a rocky outcrop that has become home to memorials to climbers from all over the world who perished on K2 – a sobering reminder of our insignificance and impermanence in such a remote and inhospitable domain
Ibrahim lays mountain flowers on one of the memorials to those who perished on K2
The memorial site looks down upon the flat area at the base of K2 where base camp is often established. Beyond that, Godwin Austin glacier climbs North East, between K2 (left) and Broad Peak, towards Windy Gap
Our own K2 Base camp at about 5,200m – the highest place I have yet slept
From K2 Base camp, just across the Godwin Austin glacier lies Broad Peak and, way back down the glacier, Chogolisa and Vigne gleam in the evening sun. At base camp the immense shadow of K2 ensures that the temperature plummets
From this foreshortened perspective at K2 Base camp, Broad Peak appears as 3 separate peaks
Chogolisa (7,665m, left) and Vigne (6,874m), viewed from K2 Base camp
Chogolisa (7,665m), from K2 Base camp
Ibrahim silhouetted against the South face of K2
K2’s South face, above our base camp
Above base camp, looking back down the Godwin Austin glacier towards the Savoia glacier
At about 5,500m on the upper Godwin Austin glacier
Picking a way through the frozen stormy waters of the Godwin Austin glacier
Ibrahim contemplates our next move on our quest to reach Windy Gap (6,100m)
As we approach the shoulder leading to the Abruzzi ridge, the glacier became heavily crevassed
At about 5,700m we threw in the towel, encountering a crevass too difficult for us to tackle
From our highest point on the Godwin Austin glacier (about 5,700m), this was our view looking back towards base camp
Timing is everything so it’s said. I agreed as this avalanche crashed down from K2 to a point somewhere near base camp
Moon over Snow Dome (7,160m), from K2 base camp
A closer view of Snow Dome, from K2 base camp
A sunburst over Broad Peak tinges Snow Dome with dawn light  > Concordia to Gondogoro Base Camp

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