Moving on from Camp 1 after breakfast in his tent this morning, Fredrik Sträng commences the climb to Camp 2 and beyond.
DISPATCH # 7 Fredrik Sträng K2 2017
Our last Dispatch report on Fredrik Sträng’s K2 2017 expedition, we detailed his recovery from a torturous neck injury and a few failed attempts to reach Camp 2 due to the weather.
Still snowing each day since his arrival on K2, Fredrik Sträng has made the best of the weather and window opportunities afforded to him on the mountain, always keeping physically active and exercising his mental capacities to remain in top shape for the summit.
This morning he enjoyed breakfast in his tent, where he sleeps in his yellow Marmot down suit inside of his down sleeping bag, after boiling some water in his Primus stove pot. He recounts having made a successful carry to Camp 2 yesterday and announced that the team would be moving upward to Camp 2 soon.
A few hours ago, he traversed the 50-meter (164 ft.) off-width crack known as House’s Chimney, first climbed by Bob House in 1939, on the Abruzzi Spur Route to Camp 2 – it is an awkward, shoulder-width crack that is notorious for being annoyingly difficult to traverse. Fredrik stated:
It’s been 9 years since I squeezed myself through this awkward way to C-2 but can still remember which footholds and handholds work fine.
Tomorrow, if weather permits, he is expected to venture to Camp 3.
Dealing with the Death of Alberto Zerain
This week we informed Fredrik of the untimely death of a great climber, Alberto Zerain. Personally, it was a very hard thing to do. First, I was upset about it myself, second, I did not know how Fredrik would react, but trusted his level-headed approach to life would see a positive response to this news – one of remembrance and nothing but good things to say about a man many perceived as one of the most humble and worthy climbers. I was surprised to learn that Fredrik was unaware of the fate of his friend. I’d have told him sooner, and thought to, but wasn’t sure about how much access he had to the story. I stopped what I was doing, grabbed my phone and emailed him the news.
His reply was true to his character, full of empathy and understanding. It took him most of the day to process the information but remembered his dear friend with fond memories of their first meeting on K2 in 2008 and their encounters during their climb on Nanga Parbat in 2011.
Still feeling the heartbreak that the death of his friend and fellow climber, Alberto Zerain, had on him, he remembered him with great admiration for his humble personality and can-do attitude. He dedicated a Facebook post to his late friend that read:
It breaks my heart to write about the fate of climbers Alberto Zerain and Mariano Galvan who tried to reach the summit of Nanga Parbat via the formidable Mazeno Ridge but went missing in an avalanche. I met Alberto the first time on K2 in 2008 and was impressed about is athletic, yet humble, approach to climbing K2. In 2011 I had the honor to climb with him on Nanga Parbat and got to know a very kind and always so relaxed man. Alberto was a great role-model for mountaineering but furthermost a passionate and great man.
Life on K2 For Fredrik Sträng
Those who are familiar with Fredrik know he is direct, takes life as it comes and everything he does, he turns into an experience. Life on K2 so far, and on every other mountain he has been on, has been full of experiences he makes it a point to feel and take in so that in the future, he can’t ever say he was caught up in something else and barely remembers what it was like to live on the mountain and be among the elements.
It’s a humble experience being part of an 8,000 m. expedition if you indulge in it completely, leaving your life back home behind you, not worrying about bills, what rating the newest blockbuster movie got and the incomprehensible “FOMO” (fear of missing out) syndrome that is way too present. I just need to raise my head when I look out from my 2,5 square meter big “home” = tent every morning and I see two giant, incomparable massive rocks that rise to the sky. Surprisingly enough, there are people on expeditions like this that don’t see this. They are too busy working on their updates.
Taking it in, letting life flow through you is one of my prime goals wherever I go. I want my senses to be alert and suck it in like if it was the last time I walked on this earth.
Life at Base Camp is simple, consisting of the smaller things in life where Fredrik starts his morning with some meditation and breathing exercises in between putting on his clothes before a 50 m. trip to the toilet tent. On his return, he rations out his water intake for the morning and takes his much-needed supplement pills to compensate for the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables, and frankly food in general, that is available to climbers on K2 and on many isolated mountain environments.
But at the same time, Base Camp in 2017 is a much stranger place than he is used to, full of technology and drones flying around – he says, it is not the circus that Everest hosts each year, but still, it’s a strange change.
Fredrik’s updates remain captivating, and by captivating, I mean in the sense where he explains from the smallest to the more substantial experiences he has on the mountain with great detail, leaving you always a part of his world so high up in a place where he is technically as isolated as he can be from the rest of society. He says,
Right now outside my simple dining tent, it’s snowing. My feet are cold so I move the toes back and forth. … Apart from a detailed description of how I take a shit in the morning, there are other routines that of course needs to be done in BC. Washing clothes, washing yourself and every 10 days or so make a new platform for your tent since the glacier melting is so prominent here. We had 5 hours dry weather yesterday so that was when I decided to make a new comfortable platform. Now it’s like entering a new home.
Has K2’s Bottleneck Serac Collapsed?
According to Sträng, he is excited to venture past C-2 toward C-3 and discover for himself whether the rumors of the changes above C-2 are true; rumors of the collapse of the bottleneck serac that would make it less treacherous to climb the route and the changes to the location of C-3. With avalanches having wiped out the original Camp 3 various times over the years, climbers and expedition companies are preferring to place their C-3 just below the original site.
As he makes his way to the summit, he takes with him a piece of well-wishes from Base Camp Magazine, myself and the rest of the readers following along via our Dispatches and his Facebook updates.
We’ll keep you updated on Sträng’s journey back to K2, his experiences and let you follow along. Click for Dispatches on Fredrik Sträng’s K2 2017 Expedition. Click the link for all of our content on Fredrik Sträng.
About Fredrik Sträng
Fredrik Sträng is a Swedish climber, personal trainer and motivational speaker. Sträng has summited 8 of the world’s 8,000 m. peaks, and in 2017, Sträng will be attempting K2 again. He has worked with charitable organizations through the years to help those in need and has been given various awards including Male Adventurer of the Year twice in 2007 and 2010. Sträng is partnered with Sigma Technology. To learn more about Sträng, read “Get to Know Climber Fredrik Sträng.”
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