Di Gilbert is one of Britain’s leading mountaineers and expedition leaders. In the Summer of 2016 she guided an expedition to K2. In this article Di describes 5 things you might not know about climbing, and getting to K2.
1. Getting to base camp isn’t as easy as it sounds. In fact getting into Pakistan isn’t as easy as it sounds. Nobody had mentioned the fickle weather when trying to fly from Islamabad to Skardu; nobody mentioned the knuckle clenching drive from Skardu to Askole and nobody mentioned the hard core trek into base camp. Simply getting to base camp is an expedition in itself.
2. The Godwin-Austen Glacier in which K2 base camp is situated on is littered with human remains. You really don’t have to look too far to see the evidence of previous expeditions. Every bone, every boot, every gaiter, every down/wind suit will have a sad story to tell. One only needs to make the 30-minute walk to the Gilkey Memorial for a sobering and emotional experience.
3. There simply is not enough room at established camps above advance base camp for the numbers of tents that are now frequenting K2.
4. K2 gets a raw deal when it comes to the media. K2 is a giant amongst giants who glows in the evening light. A truly magnificent mountain with aesthetic lines all around her. She is the undisputed Queen of the Baltoro Glacier.
5. The climbing on K2 is enjoyable, really enjoyable. A mixture of 40-degree snow slopes and Scottish Grade II/III mixed climbing. Super views as far the eye can see and campsites that will beat any 5* hotel.
About Di Gilbert
Di Gilbert was the Expedition Leader for the Adventure Peaks British K2 Expedition 2016 which came to abrupt end when an avalanche destroyed camp III. This was the first British expedition in 12 years to K2. No humans were hurt but the same can’t be said for the equipment.
View Di Gilberts Scarpa Team Page Here
Photo Credits: Jake Myer
Scarpa Mountaineering Boots