As many of you know, I contribute to a number of other websites around the Internet in addition to covering the things that interest me here at The Adventure Blog. One of the sites I’m happy to work with on occasion is GearJunkie.com, as it has always been one of my go-to sources of information. In addition to providing them some mountaineering stories from time-to-time, I sometimes get the chance to do something a little deeper. Recently, that opportunity came in the form of an interview with mountain guide and high-altitude mountaineer Adrian Ballinger, during which we had the opportunity to discuss a wide variety of topics.
The interview was posted to GearJunkie last week and it offers a lot of insights into what it is like to climb K2, a mountain that Adrian recently summited without the use of supplemental oxygen. A few years back when I had the chance to talk to him following his no-o’s summit of Everest, he told me that he didn’t remember the final stages of that climb or being on the summit. That wasn’t the case on K2, where he remembers every excruciating detail, including spending more than six hours on the Bottleneck below some extremely dangerous seracs that looked like they could give way at any time. It’s because of those dangers that Ballinger told me that he’ll never go back to the mountain. It’s simply too unstable, difficult, and dangerous and he won’t take those risks a second time.
In the article we discuss plenty of other things, including the differences in the gear he used on K2 vs. Everest, the logistical challenges of climbing in Pakistan vs. Nepal, and his thoughts on climbing without bottled oxygen. He also shares what it is like to climb with Nims Purja, who helped install the ropes and lead the way up K2 even when it looked like there was no way to reach the summit.
All in all, I’m very happy with the way the interview turned out and my friends at GearJunkie did a great job of making it look good online. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but have an interest in climbing K2, you’ll definitely want to check it out here.
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