Between 15 June to 15 Aug I will be returning to Pakistan with an international expedition team attempting to summit the world’s second highest mountain. 2014 marks the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of K2 by Italians Lino Lacedelli and Achille Compagnoni in 1954, and it will be a fitting tribute to this historic feat to achieve a successful summit of our own.
2013 was indeed a tragedy on K2 with the loss in an avalanche at Camp 3 of Marty and Denali Schmidt, who decided to push on to camp 3 in unsettled snow conditions whilst 19 other foreign climbers, including myself, returned to base camp, Tragically, they were buried under an enormous avalanche that night – the night we all would have been in Camp 3 had we not returned. It was a salient lesson on risk and reward, one that those of us on the mountain last year will not forget.
However, as Ed Viesturs once commented ‘ courage is not the absence of fear, rather the willingness to face it’ and fear of the unknown is often far worse than fear of the known. And having been on the mountain – and despite the tragedy – it holds far less fear than it did.
2014 will mark the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of K2 by Italians Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli on 31st July 1954, and it will be an honour and ultimate achievement for me to set foot on its summit this summer. Nothing is guaranteed but, better prepared and wiser to its steep slopes and precipes, I will give every attempt to reach its lofty heights.