Rice climbed up to Camp 4 on summit day, and was resting there, while melting snow to use as drinking water for the final ascent. After filling a pot, he accidently spilled the water on his socks, causing him a two hour delay as he melted more snow and waited for his socks to dry. Thanks to that two hour delay, he never went up the mountain, as it wasn’t long after that the serac collapsed, beginning the tragic ordeal that would continue for several days.
The article sheds some light on what transpired in the lower camps while the climbers on their summit push struggle to survive higher on the mountain. Rice discusses how they saw someone fall at the Bottleneck, while others scrambled to assist him, and then proceeds to talk about how things went further down hill from there. At one point, Rice had to call d’Aubarede’s closest family members and tell them that he had died, a task that can’t be easy for any mountaineer.
The image with this post was taken the day of the climb by Rice, and shows the climbers heading up the mountain. Click on it to see a larger image, and you’ll be able to make out the very small black dots that are the climbers, and you’ll begin to get a sense of the scale of K2. In the photo, they are approaching the Bottleneck.
Thanks to the GoBlog for the tip on this article.
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