20 June – 20 August 2012
After climbing for 24 years, Swee Chiow is finally on his way to attempt K2, the peak with many awesome names – The Mountaineer’s Mountain, The Savage Mountain and The Killer Mountain. Stay tuned as he embarks on the hardest climb of his life.
August 27, 2012
One Moment In Heaven
I reached the summit on 31 July, 10:23am.
23 out of 26 in our team reached the summit on a single day. That’s a record in the history of K2.
The mountain was kind to us. Thank you everyone for your prayers.
July 7, 2012
7 July – Base Camp, finally
We finally arrived in BC yesterday morning, 2 weeks after leaving Singapore. It seems like ages ago.
The 6-day and 100km trek was an eye-opening experience. The 1st 40km are in the valleys and riverbeds. This part of the trek is hot and dusty. The next 60km is on the mighty Baltoro Glacier. Being my 1st time in the Karakoram, this is an awesome place. The peaks are all jagged like knives, very scary-looking and yet inspiring. It’s pretty hard to describe in words. You need to be here to experience it.
BC is located at 5000m, at the foot of K2, on the South Face.
Today and tomorrow are rest days. The Sherpas are preparing for the Puja (Buddhist prayer ceremony) tomorrow. Monday 9th July, shall be our 1st climbing day.
I am feeling good, acclimatising, eating and sleeping well. I am also very remindful constantly of this rare opportunity to be here, to attempt this awesome mountain.
There have been 3 accidents already on K2 this season. One Russian lady was evacuated yesterday afternoon by helicopter with a broken leg. One Swiss fell and one Pakistani HAP (High Altitude Porter) was caught in an avalanche sustaining a severe cut on the head and arm. Both evacuated on horseback.
2 Polish climbers have been up to C2. They reported deep snow. That’s a concern.
Cheers. Swee Chiow
June 27, 2012
Land of K2
Greetings from Skardu, in northern Pakistan. I arrived in Islamabad last Friday, in sweltering 42C! A visit to the Faisal Mosque, biggest in Pakistan, was interesting. It was designed by a Turkish architect and resembles the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul. It can house a staggering 10,000 people.
The journey to Skardu took 2 days on the famous Karakoram Highway. It was 2 very long days, 16 & 15 hours in the bus. The scenery was breathtaking but not without danger. The road was washed out by landslide at two different places. At the first location, we had to walk across the landslide and transferred to another bus. At the second location, we waited for 4 hours while the road was being cleared. While the bus snaked through the mountain road, I couldn’t help noticing the gigantic boulders gingerly balancing on the steep slopes. It wouldn’t take much for one to come off triggering a rockslide, flying to the bottom of the hill, crashing whatever is on the road. Having travelled so many mountain roads, I rate this as the most dangerous road I have ever been on. And we have not even got to K2 yet.
Two days of rest is welcoming after the bus ride.
The entire team is now in Skardu. 11 climbers and 15 sherpas, total 26. That’s not all, we will have more than 100 porters when start the trek.
This is the last major town with cell signal. We are leaving on Friday to Askole, the last village and the start of the 9-day trek to base camp. I was told the road to Askole is even more treacherous. Wish me luck.
ETA at BC is 8 July, and the real difficult challenge begins from there on.
Cheers. Swee Chiow
June 15, 2012
Media & gadgets
This week, busy with media interviews. Here is the 1st media article. A few more on the way.
Yesterday, I collected the major expedition gadgets:
Seagate Backup Plus, 1 x 1Tb, 2 x 500Gb
Canon 5D Mark III & Powershot D20
Oakley A Frame (clear lens for night climb)
Go Pro Hero 2
I plan to spend the next few days testing and familiarizing with these functional and fun gadgets.
Departure is 22 June but I am still anxiously waiting for my Pakistan visa. They say it takes 3-4 days but it’s been more than a week. Time for another visit to the Pakistan Embassy. This will be my 4th trip there!
June 7, 2012
Rushing to the Starting Line
The frantic pace of expedition preparation has begun. The expedition was confirmed on 24 May, giving me less than a month to prepare, which is absolutely crazy. But, this is déjà-vu after numerous expeditions year after year.
So, I am doing a balancing act – logistic planning, equipment sourcing, visa application (which I forgot to do until a Pakistani friend reminded me!), website update, sponsorship meetings and at the end of every day, training. Exhausting to say the least. But this is K2. So, no complaint. Let’s get on the job.