Keep K2 Clean Up Expedition 2010REPORT ON
KEEP K2 CLEAN EXPEDITION 2010
JULY 13- AUGUST 15 2010
CHIEF INSTRUCTOR, ALPINE CLUB OF PAKISTAN
DEPUTY EXPEDITION LEADER/LIAISON OFFICER
ALPINE CLUB OF PAKISTAN
IN COLLABORATION WITH
Ev-K2-CNR, SEED & OTHERS
K2, locally known as Chogori and never recognized as Mt. Godwin Austin, at an altitude of 8616m is the second high spot on earth and located in the remotest part of the Central Karakoram on Pak-China border. The mountain remained in focus for more than a century when different expeditions arrived to concquer it prominent of them were of Duke of Abruzi of Italy. Finally in 1954 an Italian Expedition led by Prof. Ardito Desio managed to scale the sheer difficulty of the mountain on the Abruzi Ridge by placing Italian and Pakistani flags on its summit.
It is then and by now that different routes have been attempted and climbed and Abruzi Ridge had been the prominent with more and more expeditions attempting K2 via that route. This resulted in polluting the entire Spur littered with fixed lines, abandoned camps, leftovers of the previous parties, empty oxygen containers, ladders, climbing hardware and even human bodies. This situation has worsened recently along the Abruzi Ridge and the mountain is no more in its pristine state. Realizing this a certain number of steps were taken by Ev-K2-CNR, the Karakoram Trust, Cesvi, SEED, and Alpine Club of Pakistan with the help of Governments of Pakistan and Italy to safeguard the busy high mountains like K2. A series of theoratical and technical courses undertaken which included conducting of Refresher Courses for Trekking Guides, Crevasse Rescue Courses for Trekking Guides and a fullfledged Mountaineering and Rescue Course for HAPs whom we now call as High Altitutde Crew. The HAPs course was followed by the proposed Keep K-2 Clean Expedition selection for which has been utterly made out of the best of the trainees of the last HAPs course.
August 30, 2010
Pakistan welcomes every year mountaineering and trekking expeditions to its greater mountain ranges. These mountain ranges are the home to long glaciers and complex glacier systems that are both great attractions and hazards not only for mountaineers, trekkers but also for accompanying guides, camp crew and porters. Due to the heavy flux of tourism mainly in Baltoro region which houses some of world’s highest mountains and K2 being the most prominent attracts climbers from around the globe.
Years of climbing activity on the pioneering route of Abruzzi ridge and others have created a huge challenge to the fragile environment of the mountain. Abruzzi ridge is littered with rotten fixed lines, abandoned tents which are messed up and frozen with ice, leftovers of previous expeditions and human waste. Every year climbing expeditions are coming to climb this mountain but no cleaning effort is being made. In the past only twice the mountain has been cleaned, firstly in 1990 by Italian Free K2 Expedition that was launched by Mountain Wilderness and secondly in 2004 by Han Korean Expedition.
On a trek and Base Camp we can say that porters, cooks and guides are mainly responsible for pollution but on higher mountain slopes without doubt mountaineering community and their high altitude porters are responsible. So “Keep K2 Clean Expedition” was aimed to clean the entire Abruzzi Spur up to Camp 3 from pollution of previous expeditions by involving Pakistani High Altitude Crew also known as High Altitude Porters so that not only the mountain could be cleaned but also the awareness to be given to the high altitude porters to help keep clean high altitudes camps as they go on expeditions every year.
The TeamThe Team
Maurizio Gallo (Leader), EvK2CNR
Muhammad Afzel Scherazi (Deputy Leader/ Rep Alpine
Club of Pakistan
Shahzada Maqpoon, EvK2CNR
Rozi Ali, HAC (Selected by EvK2CNR)
Ghulam Ali, HAP (Selected by EvK2CNR)
Ghulam Mehdi, HAC (Selected by ACP)
Muhammad, HAP (Selected by EvK2CNR)
Zahid Hussain, HAC (Selected by ACP)
Rehmatullah Baig, HAP (Selected by ACP)
Fazal Ali, HAP (Selected by ACP)
Hussain Parwana, HAC (Selected by ACP)
Muhammad Hassan, HAC (Selected by EvK2CNR)
Farman Muhammad Hassan, HAP (Selected by EvK2CNR)
HAC: High Altitude Crew (those who were trained in rescues by ACP/EvK2CNR)
HAP: High Altitude Porter
Execution and Sponsoring
Alpine Club of Pakistan executed the courses and the “Keep K2 Clean” Expedition while the same was funded by Ev-K2-CNR, SEED in collaboration with their auxiliary partners and Governments of Pakistan and Italy.
Finances detail has been given separately.
Venue of the Activity
K2 (8616m) Abruzzi Spur, Godwin Austin Glacier (Baltoro Region)
Kit was distributed to all in Ev-K2-CNR office Skardu
Departure from Skardu for Askole. Overnight camp
We arranged our loads and started engaging our porters. The local police in charge helped us a lot for engaging the porters. We left for Jhola after settling things. A big animal YAK was also purchased at Askole so that the same could be slaughtered for beef for porters. In the afternoon camped in Jhola. The camp is not found clean and facilities that once were found are all now in ruins.
Trekked from Jhola to Paiyu. Here we discovered that 07 jerry cans of kerosene were lost by porter. So we had to purchase a lot of kerosene en-route and in BC.
Observed rest day on the request of Shahzada Maqpoon and Rozi Ali in Paiyu.
Trekked to Urdukas. The campsite was found clean.
Trekked to Gore-II. The camp area was not found clean. So we did some cleanup around the camp.
Trekked to Concordia. Concordia was found clean, thanks to Ev-K2-CNR initiatives. The toilets built there are fully functional and are a great idea in keeping glacier safe from human waste. This is a great beginning and hopefully it goes around all glacial camps in Pakistan!
Arrival at K2 base camp. Established Base Camp. There were six expeditions already at BC. The Abruzzi and Czechen routes were already active.
Base Camp fully established.
Bad weather, no activity on the mountain, we did some cleanup around BC
Bad weather, no activity on the mountain, again continued with cleanup around base camp.
Cleared base camp from rubbish left on the moraine, collected some 200 KGs of rubbish – the same was transported down by Ev-K2-CNR
Bad weather, all members visited ABC, established a tent and brought down 150 KGs of collection from there. The rubbish included, packing materials, empty cans, bottles, EPI containers etc
Established camp-1. Fixed line placed on Abruzzi ridge by Koreans was used for the ascending purpose. Brought down rubbish collected from
Camp-1 and also rescued a Korean woman climber who was partly hit by an avalanche.
Bad weather, collected rubbish from around base camp.
B-team was sent for Camp-1, but due to bad weather they could not go beyond ABC, they stayed there and cleaned the entire ABC.
B-team arrived back in base camp.
A-team ascended Camp-1 and Camp-2 and did cleaning activity
A-team returned to base camp bringing down all collected material
B-team left and ascended Camp-1 and Camp-2 in extremely bad weather and did cleanup work
All teams left for Camp-1, Camp-2. While Hussain Parawana and Ghulam Ali remained in ABC and Zahid stayed in base camp. Camp-1 and Camp-2 were completely cleaned up.
I myself along with Maqpoon went to ABC to see the last progress and lowering of loads from Abruzzi ridge. Muhammad and Fazal Ali went up for visiting Camp-3, took some pictures from there (slightly below the camp) and returned. All team arrived in ABC and then in base camp.
Rest day – work in base camp
Bad weather – cleaned lastly base camp and also cleaned leftovers of departed expeditions
Cleared the ABC and brought down all rubbish taken from mountains
Bad weather, packed rubbish for transportation down
Bad weather, packed rubbish for transportation down also packed camp
Trekked down to Concordia, the porters called by Rozi Ali from Hushe for crossing Gondogoro La never showed up. This created a big problem due to which a lot monetary loss was suffered by the expedition.
Trekked to Gore-II
Trekked to Paiyu
Trekked to Jhola, originally we had planned to come to Korofong but due to sickness we had to wait for Maqpoon, this resulted in wastage of a full day and an extra day’s payment to HACs/HAPs and cooks.
Arrived to Askole, found road blockade and walked to Thongal and crossed Khewa block to Apoaligun, jeeps didn’t arrive due to road blocks enroute and spent another night there.
End of expedition
Expedition was a great success. ABC, Camp-1 and Camp-2 on Abruzzi ridge were cleared from abandoned tents and leftovers. However, bases of the tents were messed up with ice so they could not be removed. Fixed ropes were also not dismantled as American climber George attempting mountain with Sherpas didn’t allow. Ropes piled up by the Koreans were brought down. Some old ropes found near Camp-2 were also carried down.
A total of 650 KGs (250 KGs from around base camp and 400 KGs from the mountain) was brought down. The members worked mainly during bad weather, as we didn’t find good weather spells during the course of expedition.
K2’s Abruzzi ridge was cleared. Bad weather was a risking factor. Number of days were not enough to safely clean the mountain.
At time when the HACs/HAPs were finally engaged they did not agree to the wages and thus the same was enhanced up to Rs.2000/- per day. Later, at the mountain I discovered that none of the HAPs hired by the other expeditions were paying this much amount. It was between Rs.1000 to Rs.1500.
Kit provided was not satisfactory to the HACs/HAPs. Down jackets, rucksacks, sleeping bags were locally made and procured from Skardu. Sleeping bag was not good even for sleeping in the base camp. They also did not agree on return of some of the items and demanded Rs. 50000 in lieu.
I was not provided with ice axe and crampons, although they were brought for me from Italy and same were very much necessary for negotiating ice and Gondogoro La.
Shared responsibility is of no body’s responsibility. Future cleanup expeditions, if any held, either should be handled by Alpine Club of Pakistan by itself or Ev-K2-CNR may do it by its own for smooth working of such operations.
For such expeditions, a tour operator may be arranged for making necessary expeditionary arrangements this will help in smooth working of the things on trail and also would safe unnecessary expenditures to be incurred.
Idea of relying upon Pakistani HACs/HAPs did not work well, there should be some foreigners involved in such operations on the mountain as well, although it will create royalty problem but they can be solved on the pattern of Free K2 Expedition of 1990.
A certificate of commendations be issued to all such participants of this expedition who really worked hard for its success. If desired so I can give their names, based on genuine performance. Ghulam Mehdi of Hoshe remained outstanding in all of them.
HAPs who took part in this expedition should be given HAC training in the future courses without considering their origin to any tour operator.