Lacedelli and Compagnoni climb up to recover the sacks and overcome the wall of ice above camp VIII. After a traverse to the left, they establish camp IX over eight thousand metres high, in a position out of sight compared with the line of the climb. Gallotti and Bonatti descend to camp VII and then climb up again with Abram and the Hunza carriers Mahdi and lsakhan. Isakhan stays in camp VIII while Bonatti, Abram and Mahdi continue the ascent carrying the bottles needed for the last leg to the summit. In the late afternoon Abram gives up and returns to camp VIII. In the evening Bonatti and Mahdi are unable to find Lacedelli and Compagnoni's tent, which is not in the place decided the evening before and so they are forced to spend the night in a makeshift bivouac on a steep slope, without any shelter, at 8,100 metres.
High altitude porters: great Himalayan mountaineers
The weather on K2 today is terrible. No news therfore, as we wait for a favorable weather forecast. It's time to talk about the high altitude porters...
We've mentioned the fact that we're getting ready for the next attempt, and the program absolutely requires a spell of good weather, one of those famous "weather windows" that allow mountaineers to reach to summits of these Himalayan giants. According to forecasts, there seems to be little chance of the weather improving in the next couple of days...
While we're sitting it out, we're pleased to introduce you to some important members of the Scoiattoli team. These are four mountaineers from Pakistan (Hassan Asad Sadpara; Iusuf Ali Sanaf Mahmad; Mahmad Sanap Ali; Mohamed Sanap Akam)and four from Nepal (Thilen Sherpa; Mingma Sherpa; Neem Dorchi; Mingma Ongiel). They we're chosen by Kari Kobler, the leader of the expedition, to take part in the K2 expedition.
You've probably understood that they are what is "conventionally" called "high altitude porters." This term was coined by the first Himalayan expeditions, which made use of these people who, living beneath some of the highest mountains in the world, have developed exceptional qualities and resistance to high altitude. A prime example is Tenzing Norgay, who together with Edmund Hillary made the first ascent of Mount Everest in 1953. Not to mention hunza Mahdi who, in 1954 on K2, helped Walter Bonatti in the exceptional (and courageous) undertaking of transporting the oxygen bottles to 8100m. These were indispensable for Lino Lacedelli and Achille Compagnoni's successful summit.
After 50 years (and not without considerable difficulties encountered along the way) the "high altitude porter" figure has evolved and changed. Rather like what happened to the inhabitants of the valleys who accompanied the first explorers, above all English in the Alps, and later became the forefathers of the modern Mountain Guides. And it is because of this that initiatives such as the mountaineering school in Lhase have been established. It has to be added that this "emancipation" of local mountaineering, even in the Himalalaya, has always had the support of the greatest mountaineers, as it is above all they who encountered and appreciated the complete value of the "strong men" on the highest mountains in the world.
The companions of the Scoiattoli, divided into two groups and currently preparing themselves for the higher sections of K2, are without a doubt extremely strong mountaineers. A quick glance at their curriculi suffices: one of the youngest, Mingma Sherpa, has already climbed eight of the 14 8000m peaks (Everest an Cho Oyu 3 times) while Thilen Sherpa has taken part in 17 expeditions to Everest, reaching the summit a staggering 8 times. These are important climbing partners therefore, and definitely great Himalayan mountaineers!
Pakistani mountaineers: Hassan Asad Sadpara 36 (1st group) Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrum II, Gasherbrum I, Broad Peak, K2 (attempt) Iusuf Ali Sanaf Mahmad 34 (2nd group) member of the Gondogoro La Pass Mountain rescue. First experience on K2. Mahmad Sanap Ali 33 (2nd group) Gasherbrum II (2 times), K2 (2 attempts). Mohamed Sanap Akam 36 (2nd group) K2 (3 attempts), Broad Peak (attempt). Had to turn back on K2 due to breathing problems.
A weak ridge is situated over Afghanistan. It may at times affect the K2-area during the first days giving only risk of occasional showers. Then it seems to become more unsettled with frequent showers due to lows over Kashmir and Tibet.