National Geographic’s Adventure Blog, the official blog of Adventure Magazine, conducted an interview with Wilco Van Rooijen, one of the survivors of the K2 tragedy yesterday, and posted it online for all of us following the story to read.
Wilco begins to shed a little more light on the events that transpired on K2 beginning last Friday, when the teams were making their summit bid, with personal accounts on his trip to the summit, and what happened afterwards. He paints a fairly grim picture of what happened up there, and weighs in on the subject of inexperience on the mountain.
According to Wilco, there was no real avalanche at the Bottleneck as has been widely reported. He says that a serac collapsed, we was part of previous accounts, and that it claimed the lives of three mountaineers, while also sweeping away the fixed lines. After that, he said there was panic on the upper slopes, with people scrambling off in all directions and some of them perished because they couldn’t find Camp IV in the chaos.
He also discusses his own descent, down a very technical part of the mountain, without rope of any kind. He says that he was pushed to the limits of his own climbing ability to reach a slope that was easier to descend. At that point, he was exhausted, dehydrated, and not thinking clearly in the thin air, but he focused on just getting down as quickly as he could, stumbling into Camp III, and not even realizing that’s where he was.
There is a lot more to the interview as well, and it’ll begin to fill in the blanks of what it was like on K2. At this point, it seems that the collapsing serac is just the beginning of the story. Great work out of the team over at Adventure on getting this story together so quickly.
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