The Long Goodbye

Well we have finally reached the tipping point. Today, after going up on the route with FINALLY improved weather, we returned to basecamp to make the decision that would point us in one direction or another. After observing the condtion of our route, rockfall, snow condtions, and knowing that teams on the Abruzzi Route just beside us have lost ENTIRE camps due to wind, we reached a conclusion.
Wendell Berry, one of my favorite authors, said it best; “When going back makes sense, then you are going ahead”.
The decision we have come to is just that. We have decided that given our timeline, the route conditions, and the forecast for yet MORE snow and wind, that this year is not our year for reaching the summit of K2.
While making a decison like this is always hard, and we are very hopeful that our colleauges and friends that remain here will reach the summit, our margin for safety does not in all good consience allow us to push higher. 3 others on our team will be departing with us as well.
I have told Katrina often that the mark of a seasoned mountaineer is being able to make decisions like this, and walk away with your head held high, understanding that by simply “showing up and giving it your all” that you have crossed a bridge that few dare to tread upon.
As another favorite saying goes; ‘”Their are old mountaineers, and their are bold mountaineers, but their are no old, bold mountaineers”. We all plan to be old AND bold, hence the path we have chosen.
This will be our last dispatch for this expedition, as the focus now will shift to the massive task of moving us and all our equipment down the valley. With weather potentially coming back in we are still undecided if we will go over a high pass to cut off a few days for the trek out, or if the weather does indeed roll back in, simply head back down the way we came up. Time will tell.
We would deeply like to thank our sponsors, STS Capital Partners and Sherpa Adventure Gear, and I personally would like to thank Outward Bound USA for truly believing in the spirit of adventure and personal growth, regardless of the outcome.
Till nextime, via con dios!

Katrina, Luis, Lakpa, and Tshering

Group at the base of the route

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