Dispatch 26 – Preparation for Summit Bid

Today, we woke up to a beautiful, clear, but frigid morning, had breakfast in the mess tent, then began preparing our equipment for our summit bid. We were told by our liaison officer that Oscar’s expedition had called a base camp meeting to discuss the coming summit plans. I knew that this meant that his Sherpas wanted to charge everyone for placing the fixed lines above Camp III (bear in mind that they are already paid well to come here and would have to fix any lines that hadn’t already been fixed for their clients anyway). Reminded of the meeting before the summit bid on K2, I immediately decided not to attend. I prefer not to count on anyone doing anything for me above Camp III. We will bring a climbing rope with us on summit day, so if the need arises, we can rope up to cross any hazardous terrain that isn’t fixed. Anyway, by the time Oscar’s Sherpas arrived to Base Camp, the fixed lines to Camp III had already been put in place by the Bulgarian and Polish teams, so their request for payment for work to be done was ridiculous. The Polish team attended the meeting and informed everyone in attendance of their intent to fix the three crevasses above Camp III and the rocky summit. And of course they didn’t even think to suggest a fee for doing this work. Oscar chimed in with a last attempt to earn some money by suggesting that his team had a doctor who would climb to Camp III and had brought oxygen in case a rescue was necessary. He suggested that everyone should pay a fee up front in case a rescue was necessary. Everyone in attendance found this suggestion ridiculous. If a rescue was indeed needed, the person rescued could either pay directly or use their rescue insurance to cover the cost. After the meeting concluded, I went down to the Seven Summits camp to visit Alex Gavan. We discussed plans for the coming days, wished each other luck, and went back to preparing our things for the summit bid. Our plan is to leave at 5am tomorrow (July 21st) for Camp II (6400m/21,000ft), continue on to Camp III (7040m/23,100ft) on July 22nd, and either spend July 23rd in Camp III resting or establish a Camp IV (~7400m/24,300ft) to shorten our summit day. If all goes well, our summit day will be July 24th.