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K2 WINTER EXPEDITION 2020-21

Day 1 winter expedition k2.

20-12=2020/12-02-2021

Ladies and gentlemen, our Mission has begun!
Thank you all for your touching love and support
we are all together !!!

Day 2

Our mission in Pakistan has started…

We thank our amazing sponsors
 
Great sponsor
Aegean Airlines
 
Sponsors
Optima Bank
Midea Greece
Alpi Self Storage
Coco-Mat Greece
Papadopoulos cookies
La Sportiva Greece
Marmot
Dimitriadis Action Stores
EY ZHN Greece DMC
Melissa
Chemix Xoxacos Chemicals
 
and our wonderful supporters.
 
plaisio.gr
Avgouleas-Linardatos schools (www.avgoulea.gr)
Cross Train Center – CTC
TheSpeaker
Insurance Agents Company K2 - Nikos Kechagiaoglou
 

Day 3

Today we arrived at Skardu. A village forgotten by time with a view that takes your breath away. Amphitheatrically we see only beautiful mountains. The cold had made its presence felt, it is at 0 degrees at night it dropped to -9c
 
We thank our amazing sponsors
 
Great sponsor
Aegean Airlines
 
Sponsors
Optima Bank
Midea Greece
Alpi Self Storage
Coco-Mat Greece
Papadopoulos cookies
La Sportiva Greece
Marmot
Dimitriadis Action Stores
EY ZHN Greece DMC
Melissa
Chemix Xoxacos Chemicals
 
and our wonderful supporters.
 
plaisio.gr
Avgouleas-Linardatos schools (www.avgoulea.gr)
Cross Train Center – CTC
TheSpeaker
Insurance Agents Company K2 - Nikos Kechagiaoglou
 
 
 

Day 4

As you can see, whenever we can we will upload audiovisual material to make our communication more direct, so that you too have a better idea of what this beautiful end of the world is like.
 
We thank our amazing sponsors
 
Great sponsor
Aegean Airlines
 
Sponsors
Optima Bank
Midea Greece
Alpi Self Storage
Coco-Mat Greece
Papadopoulos cookies
La Sportiva Greece
Marmot
Dimitriadis Action Stores
EY ZHN Greece DMC
Melissa
Chemix Xoxacos Chemicals
 
and our wonderful supporters.
 
plaisio.gr
Avgouleas-Linardatos schools (www.avgoulea.gr)
Cross Train Center – CTC
TheSpeaker
Insurance Agents Company K2 - Nikos Kechagiaoglou
 
 
 

Day 5

Today begins the 70 km race for access to the K2 base camp.
Happy Birthday! Merry Christmas!
 
We thank our amazing sponsors
 
Great sponsor
Aegean Airlines
 
Sponsors
Optima Bank
Midea Greece
Alpi Self Storage
Coco-Mat Greece
Papadopoulos cookies
La Sportiva Greece
Marmot
Dimitriadis Action Stores
EY ZHN Greece DMC
Melissa
Chemix Xoxacos Chemicals
 
and our wonderful supporters.
 
plaisio.gr
Avgouleas-Linardatos schools (www.avgoulea.gr)
Cross Train Center – CTC
TheSpeaker
Insurance Agents Company K2 - Nikos Kechagiaoglou
 
 
 

Day 6

December 25, 2020
 
Last night before I slept in my tent wrapped in my sleeping bag the temperature was -13c I was thinking and wondering.
 
What am I doing here on Christmas Eve I have left my family alone to worry about me? I remembered my son saying in an interview shortly before I left for the mission. "It will be hard for me after 26 years of doing Christmas and New Year always with my father now he will be missing, and where will he be ?!
 
On the other hand, I read in the foreign press about our mission by some who are afraid that we might succeed, you know, they are not only jealous in Greece.
 
The article says: “Respected
8 to 10 of them will be killed or die from the cold. ” Another celebrity predicts: "They will sit for a week suffering from the cold and then leave to escape." And but that is not worth mentioning.
 
You know I want to be honest with you like most people so I have weaknesses, worries and insecurities regardless if I do not show something through facebook and Instagram.
 
I get cold like most people I get scared and I like all people, I constantly think so many good and so bad scenarios, especially at night, I wonder what we have to deal with.
 
I hear from the members of our mission, experiences from this mountain, four have climbed it this summer
but now it is winter and the difficulties are many, I have read and seen so many videos.
 
It makes sense for thoughts and scenarios to cross my mind, what is going to happen?
 
Where am I going; What do I ask of my life? Am I crazy? Why am I here? I opened my sleeping bag and found inside a mold from my only granddaughter Iris, just 7 months old, she writes to me:
 
My sweet grandfather, when you come back I will have learned to hug you, whenever you prepare for the smallest hug in the world!
 
Iris
In all this I continue to hear the voice of my soul. The voice of my desire and not of my vanity.
 
No I'm not crazy! No, I'm not a hero! I do not want to be, I am just alive at 58.5 years of my life I feel more young than ever, more experienced than ever. I want to try it, I want to know the unknown limits of myself I want it very much for this I am here to fight with the impossible.
 
I will stay alive, serve my dreams and kill my phobias and insecurities. After all, I do not do this alone, I am not alone, there is all of you, we all do it together! How sweet it is for them to believe in you, but sweeter to be told.
 
Dear friends, you are all wonderful, thank you for the nourishment offered to the power of my soul, thank you for your wonderful messages for your wonderful love.
 
Yes we are all together!
Σας ευχαριστώ για όλα!
Happy Birthday! Merry Christmas!
Antonis I. Sykaris

Day 6

December 25, 2020

 
Terrible landscapes, in a place that looks like a wildlife documentary. Every day and closer to our first goal, the K2 base camp.

Day 7

December 26
 
Very cold in the morning waking up, everything icy, my fingers froze to clear my tent. From here begins the Baltoro Glacier, the route moves first into the glacier but later to most of it to the right and east of the glacier.
 
All the way we saw around us difficult peaks, between them and the famous Trango tower. We reached Orducase, 4,030m, in 8 hours. Here, on a snowy slope, we set up our tents again and spent the night. At night the temperature dropped to -18c.

Day 8th

December 27
 
We continued walking in the Baltoro Glacier, never up, never down, between serracs and glacial lakes. Everything was covered with fresh snow, in front of us we constantly saw the legendary south side of Gaseprum 4.
 
The soft snow did not make it difficult for us because fortunately there are many people with the local porters, who carry our things, so we all open steps in the snow, but if you get off the trail you sink in the snow like when you leave the ski slope in deception .
 
We reached Core 2 at an altitude of 4,280m in 6 hours. The same here, we set up our tents and makeshift camp having around us, wherever we look, beautiful snow-capped mountains and the winter cold covering everything.

Day 9

December 28
 
Departure for our next destination, Concordia camps. We are constantly in the glacier and the fresh snow holds well. We came across a canister on a serac with Pakistani soldiers, it is unknown what exactly they are doing there.
 
After 5 hours we reached the end of Baltero. From here there are two directions one on our left which goes first to Broad peak and then to K2, and the right version which goes to Gaseproum 1 and 2.
 
I have Gaseproum 4. in front of us. We will stay here tonight and tomorrow is the last day of our winter trekking for the Bc of K2, about 5 hours, the cold as we go up is constantly increasing. It is now at -18c.

Day 10

29 Δεκεμβρίου
 
Wake up at 5.30, between snowfall and in the dark we gathered our tents and left for Bc. We passed under the Broad peak and its Bc, and in 5 hours we reached the bc of k2. On the way, when the snowfall stopped, the clouds slowly left, leaving us to see the fair majesty of this mountain. When the sun appeared two words could describe what this mountain is: Shock and Awe, in fact now in winter it is perfectly justified that no one has managed to reach the top until today.
 
Also, my finding is that the cold winter in Karakoram has nothing to do with the Spring and Autumn in the Himalayas of Nepal and the feeling is much greater than what the thermometer shows.
 
"I remain a slave of my dream and free in my steps in the hunt for the impossible!"
 
Stay tuned continues…
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The fur shown in the video is 100% synthetic and ecological in no case has an animal been abused to create it.

Day 11th

December 30
 
Stay tuned…
 
 

Day 12

December 31
 
Today I started to get to the advanced Abc base camp everything went well and I returned to the Bc base camp.
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We thank our amazing sponsors
 
Great sponsor
Aegean Airlines
 
Sponsors
Optima Bank
Midea Greece
Alpi Self Storage
Coco-Mat Greece
Papadopoulos cookies
La Sportiva Greece
Marmot
Dimitriadis Action Stores
EY ZHN Greece DMC
Melissa
Chemix Xoxacos Chemicals
 
and our wonderful supporters.
 
plaisio.gr
Avgouleas-Linardatos schools (www.avgoulea.gr)
Cross Train Center – CTC
TheSpeaker
Insurance Agents Company K2 - Nikos Kechagiaoglou
 
.

Day 14th

January 2, 2021
 
This morning I finally left for camp 1 with my rope partner Mattia Conte from Milan.
Παραμένουμε αισιόδοξοι.
 
Before I started, the famous Nims sent a message to the Greek climbers.
 
And I send you mine:
Ladies and gentlemen, I wholeheartedly wish you happy years and 2021 to bring you only what you wish in your life.
 
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your unwavering support and love Antonis.
We thank our amazing sponsors
Great sponsor
Aegean Airlines
Sponsors
Optima Bank
Midea Greece
Alpi Self Storage
Coco-Mat Greece
Papadopoulos cookies
La Sportiva Greece
Marmot
Dimitriadis Action Stores
EY ZHN Greece DMC
Melissa
Chemix Xoxacos Chemicals
and our wonderful supporters.
ΠΛΑΙΣΙΟ – PLAISIO
Avgouleas-Linardatos schools (www.avgoulea.gr)
Nutrilab.gr
Cross Train Center – CTC
theSPEAKERS
Εταιρεία
Ασφαλιστικών Πρακτόρων Κ2 –Νίκος Κεχαγιάογλου

Day 16n

January 4

Day 15th, 16th, 17th & 18th

4,5,6 & 7 January
 
Day 15, January 3
The night is long and cold, endless. From 5.00 in the afternoon it is night, it is winter, the temperature -27c.
We are in the sleeping bags all the time. Breakfast the same story. Our fins went up to the roof of the tent, they froze and now at the slightest shake of the tent pieces of snow or ice fall on our face. Likewise and around the tent, there is snow around and above our sleeping bags.
 
All the above translate into one word: Hardship !!!
The Swiss Jojet comes out of her sleeping bag really distressed, so she decides to return to BC. Sherpa chooses to stay another night for acclimatization, I think, we will sleep well two people we will have more space, but around 12.00 appears Mattia who comes from a previous camp at 5,700m the Japanese camp that spent the night yesterday, when we are three again.
 
Mattia is very distressed, she has obvious signs of lack of acclimatization, she still suffers from the cold and so the day passes with plenty of care for Mattia. Also, a lot of discussions about what awaits us above because tomorrow my plan says camp 2, we do not leave the stage at all. Tamara and Alex have arrived in the opposite scenes and are still there, the Slovak Thomas, and the Irishman Noel.
 
Another night passes, I would say, even more difficult, the wind does not stop beating the scene and does not leave us alone. The temperature -27c.
 
Day 16th, January 4th
 
Sherpa tells us that he has a headache and that he does not want to stay here anymore, so he leaves alone for BC. I do not know if there are others available. Mattia, who remains unwell, begs me to stay with him for another night at Camp I because he cannot follow me and would like me to stay with him. Problem now, how can you leave him? November
 
So I have to agree. At the same time, the others in camp I leave for BC, except for Sergio and JP who leave with enough air for Camp II.
 
The rest of the day passed in the tent with the exclusive care of Mattia who does not have the strength to cook, melt water, etc. At the same time, his condition was deteriorating. I was trying to keep his limbs warm by massaging.
 
You know, it's impossible to feel hot if you'm cold in such temperatures. If your feet get cold, your whole body gets cold and you feel trembling all over your body.
 
Indeed, his feet were "wood" as my mother Violetta says. He was wearing his feather suit and was also in his sleeping bag. I started to worry, I was wondering tomorrow how it will go down, we have at least 15 rappels in front of us. At the same time, his oxygen was low. Mattia, full of concern for himself, looking me in the eyes, kept asking me: "Antonio, in the situation I am in, will I be able to get off?"
He must have told me many times and then I spontaneously replied "Mattia
listen to me: First your life ! Second my life !»
 
His eyes looked at me with wonder but at the same time he calmed down, all the anxiety left him, I felt that he felt safe, so we slept.
 
This third day was also the hardest for me because I had to manage not only my own needs but also the needs of the person who was with me and of course although I felt a burden from all this, I was honestly glad inside that I was able to help him because the joy of the offer fills with joy and satisfaction more the one who offers it than the one who receives it.
 
Because in our life the greatest joy is in the offer and if you want to feel strong, strong, fair and blessed do not stop offering because in the most unjust version of our life somewhere in the background you will find retribution and justice.
 
Day 17th, January 5th
 
This breakfast, until we got ready, took us a long time. Mattia himself, it was so cold that I had to take off his boots again while we were about to leave to warm his feet with the MSR stove and put them on again, then the grabons etc.
 
We left the stage, the wind was blowing and clouds were covering the sky at that moment we met with the children coming down from camp 2 (video).
 
I reach the first rappel, I tell him I get off first I am waiting for you at the relay. He tells me no, wait, I have lost them, show me how to use the octave. "How;" I tell him.
 
Unbelievable and yet true, what can happen to the most experienced ... when he is confused!
 
Here I was really worried even more.
 
Our descent followed one by one, I put the rappels in and after he reached the relay first, I followed. The same continuous process. At the same time, the wind was beating us mercilessly.
 
In fact, I gave him my gloves because hers were handfuls and he could not handle the materials with them, so I stayed with the underwear. Believe me I was not cold, I felt so good about my offer that despite the cold I did not feel anything.
 
We had descended about half a rappelling and as he descends another one between the rocks and the ice and I watch him from the above relay he shouts:
 
«Antoniooooo, one of my crampon left,go on!!»
Oh my God what are we doing now?
 
I go down, I approach him and I help him to reach the next relay, there I show him how to go down without using his crampons but only with the posture of his body so that with the help of the ropes he can balance and go down.
 
I come down first now showing the posture of my own body.
 
I explain to him that it is not a problem and you can go down, it is a rappel we do not climb to need it so much. He follows me, he does it with absolute success,
he seems capable, that he has experience he is just overwhelmed by fear and wants support. 
 
Besides, he stays in Cervinia for several months a year, climbs well and does excellent skiing.
 
Now I feel better I feel we will get through this ordeal.
 
Several hours have passed, of course we have not eaten or drank anything at all, we finally get down to the base.
 
Mattia's first move was to hold me in his arms with tears in his eyes and without letting me keep saying a word: "Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Antonio".
When our hugs parted, his eyes looked at mine and then he asked me:
<< Why did you do all this for me? We are not old friends. You once saw me in Dhaulagiri, and then you helped me again now, why?
 
And then without any thought I answered him: We are blessed to belong to the mountaineering family, to love the mountains and the natural environment, this wonderful, natural clean space in which there is no competition, no championship. Mountaineering is a hobby, not a sport, it is a hobby with elements of solidarity, self-denial, altruism and camaraderie predominating. The definition of rope partner includes all of the above.
 
All these universal values that exist in mountaineering were taught to me by great people and climbers that I met at the beginning of my mountaineering life in 1990 at the Hellenic Mountaineers Association.
 
Spyros Antipas, Petros Semitakis, Stavros Nikolaou, Tassos Bousias, my mentor Costas Zoupis, Prokopis Kimouris and so many others that I ask to be forgiven for not mentioning them.
 
"Mattia, I could not do anything less than what I did today, that you would do to me if I needed you, it just happened now that you have my trial.
Αυτό κάνουν συνέχεια τόσα χρόνια όλοι οι Έλληνες ορειβάτες στην Ελλάδα και το εξωτερικό αλλά και οι ορειβάτες σε ολόκληρο τον κόσμο, γιατί η ορειβασία είναι χώρος που μας κάνει καλύτερους ανθρώπους όχι μόνο για τον εαυτό μας αλλά και για τους συνανθρώπους μας.
 
Ο Mattia είναι έμπειρος ορειβάτης και αναρριχητής όμως είχε δυσκολία να χειριστεί μια κρίση που ίσως δεν του είχα ξανασυμβεί. Για εμένα ήταν τρομερός που ξεπέρασε τις δυσκολίες και τον εαυτό του και τα κατάφερε.
Bravissimo Mattia, I answered him.
 
The glacier followed, many times in icy water and here several difficulties with a crampon but in the dark around 7.30 in the evening we both arrived safely in BC.
We have received so many hugs, so many, that Covid 19 has deprived us for so long in our daily lives.
Ugh. That's it too.
 
I thank the mountain, the gods but also those who determine our lives that allowed us to return safely back to BC.
 
I remain optimistic, strong and absolutely happy for the next rotation.
Let's go strong!
We are all together!
Thank you very much for your undivided support and love !!!
 
Day 18th, January 6th
 
Rest day in BC.
Happy birthday to all of us. Holy Epiphany.
Day 19, January 7
Rest day in BC.
Happy birthday to all Giannides. "A house without Giannis does not make a profit"
 
My only son, John! And the only wonderful father of my granddaughter Iris, John!
Happy birthday to all of you !!!
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We thank our amazing sponsors
Great sponsor
Aegean Airlines
Sponsors
Optima Bank
Midea Greece
Alpi Self Storage
Coco-Mat Greece
Papadopoulos cookies
La Sportiva Greece
Marmot
Dimitriadis Action Stores
EY ZHN Greece DMC
Melissa
Chemix Xoxacos Chemicals
and our wonderful supporters.
ΠΛΑΙΣΙΟ – PLAISIO
Avgouleas-Linardatos schools (www.avgoulea.gr)
Nutrilab.gr
Cross Train Center – CTC
theSPEAKERS
Εταιρεία
Ασφαλιστικών Πρακτόρων Κ2 –Νίκος Κεχαγιάογλου

Days 20 & 21st, 8 & 9 January

Day 20, January 8
 
Leaving my tent this morning (temperature -18c) to go to our main tent, unzipping it, I heard the following phrase in Spanish from the two Spaniards Sergio Mingote and Carlos talking to the Chilean Jp: "Tsarlatany sofà" and I understood something. I asked them, "What does that mean?" because I was impressed by the well-known "charlatan". They explained to me that a few, irrelevant, people in Spain, who have never been to the Himalayas, make them smart and predict our failure and such a difference. Immediately came to mind a chapter from the amazing book of my friend author Leonidas Karaiskos called "Ev" where in the 18th chapter says a myth: Once upon a time the best frogs in the world had gathered for a big race: who will manage to reach the top of the tallest tower in the world. The people who had gathered to watch him were waiting with interest for the fight but in reality no one believed that there was a frog that could do it.
 
"It is excluded, this is not possible" they said and repeated in all tones. The frogs listened and one by one, frustrated, they abandoned the effort and fell down in humiliation. No one succeeded, no one but one. He was a deaf frog !!!
 
I also told the children that my late father always said:
 
"Accepting criticism is an important and beneficial thing because it definitely makes you better at whatever you do in your life." But he added:
 
"You will only receive criticism from your superiors because only they are full and their criticism is well-intentioned and constructive, the rest are just jealous because they are not successful or experts."
 
So we do not hear anything other than the voice of our desire and all together we will strive for the best.
 
This is why this book mentions among so many but interesting:
 
"To be in love with what one does to make the impossible possible."
 
Day 21st, January 9th
 
We have a very strong wind that reached higher than 80km, maybe more like yesterday. We wait for the next few days to stop and start for the next rotation. We are ready.
 
However, I have to admit that although I have met many foreign climbers from different parts of the world many times, this is the best composition ever. All the guys, and the 18 climbers we are here, but also 11 sherpas and the 3 of the fixing team we have an excellent relationship with each other and with Nims and his 5 sherpas, the Englishman
his photographer, since they also belong to our team.
Also, with both the Pakistanis and the Norwegian of the other team.
 
And with Mingma g and the two Sherpa brothers who accompany him, of the third group. All 44 climbers work together harmoniously, without competition between us, without thinking about who will reach the top first. We have even agreed that even if one manages to reach the top it will be a success for all of us, if that happens we will all be proud to have participated in this mission.
 
Thank you friends for your love and support.
 
We are all together !!
 
Many thanks to the tireless staff of our kitchen
They are all wonderful and dear !!
 
Sukra Tamang Nepali Cook
Shawat ali pakistani Cook
M-Hussain Pakistani. Cook
Zahir dirle. Pakistani. Cook
Yousf ali Pakistani. weter
Aayoub Pakistani weter
Shar Ali Pakistani weter
Musa Ali Pakistani helper
M Rafiq Pakistsni helper
Nadem Pakistani helper
We thank our amazing sponsors
Great sponsor
Aegean Airlines
Sponsors
Optima Bank
Midea Greece
Alpi Self Storage
Coco-Mat Greece
Papadopoulos cookies
La Sportiva Greece
Marmot
Dimitriadis Action Stores
EY ZHN Greece DMC
Melissa
Chemix Xoxacos Chemicals
and our wonderful supporters.
ΠΛΑΙΣΙΟ – PLAISIO
Εκπαιδευτήρια Αυγουλέα – Λιναρδάτου (www.avgoulea.gr)
Nutrilab.gr
Cross Train Center – CTC
theSPEAKERS
Εταιρεία
Ασφαλιστικών Πρακτόρων Κ2 –Νίκος Κεχαγιάογλου

Day 22nd, January 10th

Sunny day but wind and very cold compose the landscape, we rest - as much as one can rest at 5,000m and with temperatures -20c and lower - discussing our ascent, the mountain and its difficulties. In the afternoon we receive the news from Nims who left in the morning for Camp 1 who tells us: "the tents in Camp 1 are damaged by the wind, but our things are in our tents". On the contrary, in Camp 2 everything has disappeared from the demonized wind that was blowing there the previous days.
 
Το βράδυ κυλάει ήσυχα και ο εγκλιματισμός μου φαίνεται ότι είναι επαρκής, αφού κοιμάμαι πολύ καλά και έχω συνηθίσει και το ψύχος που επικρατεί μέσα στην σκηνή μου.
 
One of the problems is the diet, we have 20 days to eat salad and fruit, especially for me who eats every day, in my daily life, two large bowls of salads of all kinds but also a lot of fruit. I miss them very much. We eat spaghetti, rice and some meat every day. Also eggs, omelets and enough starch. But does it make sense that fruits and vegetables can be preserved at these temperatures?
 
Day 23, January 11
 
In our mission, as in any mission, there is an army official from the government of Pakistan called liaison officer who lives with us and has the responsibility of order, so what? Is he watching all of us strangers if we are really dealing with the mountain or preparing something else?… Hahaha!
 
Of course, this does not happen whenever the daily reference to the superiors of this most likeable soldier from Pakistan is "all is well" !!
 
Day 24, January 12
 
After breakfast and 20 minutes from BC is the memorial point, is the place where memorial plaques have been left by relatives and friends of all climbers who lost their lives in the mountains.
 
I decide to visit it, I look at the names, the memory texts of my fellow climbers, respect, contemplation, thoughts and questions, why ??
 
Here in K2 more than 80 climbers have lost their lives adding their name to the list of the brave who fell in their attempt to bring the human soul to its limits.
 
Some of them are still on the mountain.
Their souls may have been lost but for those centuries the Himalayas will continue to be covered in snow and ice their bodies will remain intact as they were in their bravest moment.
 
You know, it is the honor that the high mountains do to those who fall trying to conquer them ..!
 
Thoughts about our late Greeks who lost their lives, not here, but in the wider Himalayas such as: Z. Kyriakaki, Naxakis, Kinatidis, Barouchas, Boumbalis, Tsoupras, Papandreou, Grigoriadis, Tsatsaragos, Boudolas.
 
I remain silent and as the day is sunny, I look at the memory plates, at the top of K2 and I think: how careful I must be… but at the same time lucky. I am slowly moving away from the point and the lyrics of the special songwriter Giannis Aggelakas in the song "When he chases" come to mind.
 
"When the first sigh breaks out, it comes out of the tightest lips, like a butterfly in the arch you fly looking for an opening to leave, if you are alone, if you are weak, the dawn will wake you up, it has the myrrh, it has the sigalia, it has the sun !
A new day, a new river at its mouth will offer, what was lost, what was forgotten and what no one knows about. Behind the hills, behind the eyelids, there is a place for you too !!!
 
Without the Bastille, without the curse, without the pursed lips! "
Tomorrow morning we start for our most difficult effort so far with the goal of reaching and exceeding 7,000m.
 
For this reason it would be wonderful for us your wishes and love to influence the story so that this time too it is generous with us and allows us to successfully complete this difficult rotation.
 
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your full support and love. Yes, we are all together!
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We thank our amazing sponsors
Great sponsor
Aegean Airlines
Sponsors
Optima Bank
Midea Greece
Alpi Self Storage
Coco-Mat Greece
Papadopoulos cookies
La Sportiva Greece
Marmot
Dimitriadis Action Stores
EY ZHN Greece DMC
Melissa
Chemix Xoxacos Chemicals
and our wonderful supporters.
ΠΛΑΙΣΙΟ – PLAISIO
Avgouleas-Linardatos schools (www.avgoulea.gr)
Nutrilab.gr
Cross Train Center – CTC
theSPEAKERS
Εταιρεία
Ασφαλιστικών Πρακτόρων Κ2 –Νίκος Κεχαγιάογλου

Day 25th January 13th

 

This morning I set off for Camp I with Tamara, Alex, Sergio, Jp, and Mattia. Many thanks to Tamara for her message to the Greek climbers.
 
Stay tuned, we will inform you very regularly about the progress of the second rotation.
 
Thank you very much for your love and support.
We are all together.

31 years of mountaineering

(14 .01.1990 – 14.01.2021)
 
Today marks 31 years of uninterrupted mountaineering life.
 
I remember:
It was Sunday, January 14, 1990 when we climbed at the urging of my late friend and climber Vangelis Kritikou through Houni to the top of Parnitha.
On the way we met the also late Antonis Koukoulas who later christened me a "climber" at the top of Aetorachi of Helmos.
 
I remember in the Buffy shelter I had seen a photo from Drakolimni of Smolikas and I was so fascinated that the next Sunday (21-01-1990) although I was completely irrelevant I tried to climb the top of Smolikas in the winter, together with my friend Iraklis Tsoumbo from Ioannina, but also Panagiotis Nakos from Kerasovo, Ioannina, who I happened to know. We could not reach the top because the snow was over our boy!
 
On Sunday, January 27, after I had first bought Galibier super Kit boots, crampons, an ax and a small backpack from Michalis Kottaris, there on Alexandras Avenue, I tried to reach the top of Smolikas on my own, but again I did not succeed due to a snowstorm. I tried again for the third consecutive Sunday (03-02-1990) and yes then I managed to reach 2,637m at the top of Smolikas. It was the beginning of a long journey that has lasted uninterrupted for 31 whole years.
 
A journey that went through the contact with nature, from adventures, explorations, climbing in the mountains of Greece, in the mountains of the world, living moments and days of real happiness that gave a special and real meaning to my life.
 
I made friends and life companions and shared with them moments that can not be exchanged for any material goods !!!
 
For many years, as I worked, I looked at various photos on the walls of my office from the mountain peaks I had climbed with my rope companions and I always thought:
 
nothing can exchange these moments I lived in the mountains no business success and no material reward can surpass the spiritual nourishment I enjoyed in the mountains these thirty-one years.
 
Today, at the age of 58, I want more than ever to continue climbing, fulfilling one goal after another, perhaps because the fulfillment of one dream immediately highlights the next. Although the duration of a lifetime is not enough to carry out as many mountaineering projects as you dream of, nevertheless as long as you remain immobile and try then you only really live !!!

UPDATE!

After 3 nights and 4 days on the mountain (2nd rotation 6.600m was not the final effort of the summit) Antonis returned late on January 16 safe in BC on the same day and at the same time where the 10 people all sherpa (Nepal) arrived in top and they were writing history, on the same day and at the same time his friend the Spaniard Sergio, the leader of the mission, left. Where he slipped from Camp I and arrived at Abc Camp.
 
We will have newer ones tomorrow with a more detailed description from him.

January 17, 2020, 29th day of the shipment

Hello, my name is Antonis and I am talking to you from the BC of K2.
As it will be known, ten climbers from Nepal wrote history yesterday afternoon, climbing K2 for the first time in winter. It was the team of Nirmal Purja but also the team of Mingma G
a. Nirmal Purja
b. Gelje Sherpa
c. Mingma David Sherpa
d. Mingma G
e. Sona Sherpa
f. Mingma Tenzi Sherpa
g. Pem Chhiri Sherpa
h. Dawa Temba Sherpa
i. Kili Pemba Sherpa
j. Dawa Tenjing Sherpa
as I told you before Nirmal Purja belongs to our SST team.
 
It was fair and fortunately it was done. Sherpa had to be the first to reach this deceptive peak and Sherpa could be the first to do the impossible and for that reason we were very happy. But at the same time, almost at the same time, the leader of our mission Sergio Mingote lost his life from falling on the icy eastern slope of the mountain from camp 1 to ABC.
 
Confirming that in mountaineering success with tragedy is far less than one can imagine!
 
As for the rest of us, most of them at least, for the last 3-4 days we made the last rotation on the mountain whenever we were not ready for a final effort.
 
Below I describe my experiences from these days in this and the next post.
 
January 13th 25th day of shipment.
 
The leader had told us the night before that at 7.00 in the morning we will start from BC for camp 1,
the group known Sergio, Jp, Tamara, Alex, Matia and I. Breakfast is very simple, I just ate an egg and only a cup of tea because I did not want to be late for our morning appointment.
On the way I stopped because a sherpa was running behind me to give me a radio to communicate with BC. I did not fail to throw rice on my head and stand for a minute in front of the stone altar of Sherpa and ask God to be with us this time too !!
 
The same happened in the above scene but this time in a Pakistani ceremony.
 
The Declaration of Tyrol for the best practice of mountain sports states, among other things, in Article 6:
"Under no circumstances should we offend religious conscience
of the hosts of Ias >>
 
And adds:
Understanding a foreign culture is part of an integrated climbing
εµπειρίας >>
 
This second time seemed more difficult instead of easier, as is usually the case. Mattia told me the same, on his way I told him that all this is a result of the difficult and harsh conditions we have been living for a month now, the cold, the overexertion, our lack of nutrition, all these definitely affect our performance since there is no real rest even in BC at -25c.
 
We arrived at ABC after 3.5 hours and there we realized that to get to camp 1 we need at least another 6-7 hours at the pace we move.
 
So, I thought of spending the night in the intermediate camp, the Japanese camp, at 5,700m, but we did not have a sleeping bag and a mattress or a stove to melt ice, to drink water or tea, it was all left in camp 1.
 
Arriving there we found a tent set up that had nothing inside and a damaged one that had a sleeping bag and a mattress under it.
 
But nowhere, whenever I had two options or to continue for camp 1 so fasting thirsty and drowsy that I was, that is another 3.5 to 4 hours, or to stay there and take it out with what we had. I decided to stay because I did not feel strong enough to continue and I did not want to go up alone again in the dark, but also to stay with Mattia since he told me I would stay here no matter what.
 
I also spoke on the radio with General Dawa and informed him of our decision.
 
The night is hard like all the nights higher than BC, cold, altitude, now in addition we are thirsty we have nothing to drink, so fatal come the thoughts, the same thoughts, the same thoughts always and at the same time images, images from something very well known in me my bedroom.
 
So I wonder why Antonis you ask me the same things again, why you bring me the same images in my eyes again in my memory because since you know that I do not listen to you, I do not count on you I listen and we lead only by the voice of my desire and not her my logic, the logic of every normal person!
 
One sleeping bag is not enough to cover our bodies, so I decide to cover ourselves with the rags of the tent we found outside. I look at the clock, I am thirsty and I can't wait for dawn, at the same time the plastic of the tent is wet and shortly after it freezes at -22C.
 
January 14, 26th Day of the mission.
 
The first rays of the sun hit our tent rekindling the hope that camp 1 is near and that someone will go up or down to give us some water. We are really thirsty, I suggest Mattia to go first because in half an hour I will speak on the satellite in a morning show. Indeed, Mattia starts thirsty but moves on, I stand a little higher hanging on a relay and wait for them to call me, they do it and while I wait to talk I hear in the show what exactly they are talking about.
 
One of my hands is frozen to hold the phone in the direction that the satellite is sending a signal to the device while I always look upwards to avoid some stones falling from above. The presenters keep commenting on a comment or a letter from a celebrity, is it so surreal I wonder if they could see where I am they would stop talking about what they are saying now and talk to me directly? Fortunately this conversation ends soon, I continue and find in front of me Thoma, the Slovenian, is a doctor, as he descends rapping, in the few seconds of our meeting, a stone passes between us and beats my helmet leaving a prolonged sound in my ears, something like humming and as I am surprised I do not speak but I rest my head on the icy slope Thomas with real human interest and as a doctor he is meticulously looking for me to see where the stone found me. "You are lacky Antoni, helmet protect you"
 
Oops, that's my answer.
 
I continue, I reach Mattia, let me go ahead my friend I will go make tea to find it ready, ok?
 
The always good and cooperative Mattia answers me: Yes, whatever you want Antonio, go ahead.
 
It is a sunny day, I am so thirsty that every two or three steps I stop. It is incredibly cold, but I am thirsty, I want water immediately. Now I envision my wife, Popi, bringing to a rectangular serving tray three large tubular glasses with ice cubes, one with tap water, the other with lemonade and the third a pomegranate juice.
 
My friend Michalis Eumorphidis also likes pomegranates very much and we usually eat after a half marathon that we run together. I continue climbing every two or three steps I swallow my saliva bringing a little moisture to my throat.
 
Now I find another solution, I cut with a small sharp stone a piece of ice transparent water ice but not too big because the big one immediately freezes my mouth and I can not bear to hold it and spit it, I need a smaller one so that its small size melts quickly in my mouth offering me a few drops of water but at the same time not to burn my palate and tongue from the cold. I do, crisp drops of water mixed with sand or shavings of soil mixed with ice give me the feeling of water. Last difficult measures,
αναρωτιέμαι τι έκανα εκείνο το βράδυ μόνος μου, πως το έκανα τότε πιο εύκολα.
 
I arrive at Camp 1, just a tent set up. I see the 24 year sherpa who will help me here today. I make sense to him, I thirst for water please.
You should gently drink 3 liters of water.
 
The tireless brave Mattia arrives. You know I may have felt a little weird with him at some point, but when you share such experiences with a person you easily feel your own person and you think and love him as he does for me as yourself ..
 
So, arriving, I tell him you are the best Italian climber, your stubbornness is unsurpassed, you are brave, you are great. "Bravissima Mattia" and he answers me "You are" !!!
The sequel tomorrow.
.
.
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Ασφαλιστικών Πρακτόρων Κ2 –Νίκος Κεχαγιάογλου

January 15, the 27th day of the shipment.

The tent where we slept at night in camp I was downhill with two stairs, so we were 40cm apart from each other. I had spent the other three nights on this small balcony at the edge of Abruzzi (camp I 6.050m) which offers a beautiful view, looking north and east but the lower mountains that are heavily snowed by the relentless winter of Karakoram. But I had never looked up, that is, west, to see what was waiting for us, what we had to climb.
 
I did not do it because the previous three days I spent the night here the weather was closed and the dense gray-black clouds prevented visibility upwards. Now the weather is clear, but the cold does not stop stinging if you take off your gloves for even a few seconds in order to have better adhesion to something you catch.
 
In a few seconds it hurts so much that even if you still put on your gloves again you need three times as much time as you were without gloves until you start to assemble,
in such a simple and normal movement the risk of frostbite is great. Looking up again now, rocks and peaks rise above us mixed with ice and some pieces of icefeld and all this together compose this hard, unknown to me landscape (first time in K2) so that you can not discern exactly where is camp II.
 
Climbing on slopes begins, I immediately follow the fixed ropes, which are not the same, differ in thickness and color, there are several from previous years. Every time I reach a relay I pull, shake I would say better the following available in order to find out which is the strongest the newest and the least worn or tattered.
 
You know when you climb rope company you have control in your hands. Your ability to climb, to place fuses, offers you the absolute confidence from your own movements from your own ability but also from your rope partner. Here it seems to be easier to climb since you pull the ropes with the zoomar, but it is much, much more dangerous for a rope to come off or be cut, especially now in winter. Today here I climb with my soul in my mouth, every now and then I think that some rope will leave, it will come off, it will be cut.
 
There are times when I imagine what will happen in such a case. I'm not ashamed to say it because I thought about it and I never write something I did not feel or something I did not think, looking down at the chaos I start thinking about my 8 month old granddaughter Iris and it crosses my mind that if that happens she will not know me she will never understand me in her life. I may not have had so many negative thoughts on a mountain before, like here. , compose the continuation of the fragile and precarious field. Stones fall from above by those in front. "Rocssss" you hear from above, it is the word, the sound that advises you to be careful, to look up to see if a stone is coming at you or to kiss the slope and to pray to be lucky so that the stones do not hit you.
 
There are times when I imagine what will happen in such a case. I'm not ashamed to say it because I thought about it and I never write something I did not feel or something I did not think, looking down at the chaos I start thinking about my 8 month old granddaughter Iris and it crosses my mind that if this happens Endless uphill, in always the same field, after 4.5 hours and after passing one last fairly upright, dangerous, rocky passage I see camp II (6,600m). Here we place our tent, we tie it with many ropes because it is on a rocky eyebrow that on both sides loses the chaos and the width of the eyebrow just fits the tent. Behind us, if you reach out, the Chimney starts and then above is the well-known Black Pyramid spot.
 
We sleep in the tent of the two people me and two Sherpa who were there as there is no space to place another tent. There are two more scenes, one with the two Americans and the other with Ali the Pakistani and John the Icelander where Mattia slept. The night was difficult, 6,600m altitude, but also because I am on the side of the stage and not in waist and so I rest her icy cloth at -31c.
 
January 16, 28th day of the mission.
 
Everyone decided to return to Bc, for me it was the 6th night over 6,000m (satisfactory acclimatization) but I wanted to cross the chimney and then return to BC. But I was completely alone and decided to go back to BC. The return was just as difficult and strange with plenty of small stones falling on me, just before camp I a large stone hit me in my right arm and opened a big hole in my
my feather outfit.
 
Fortunately, the thick feather mattress acted as a decompressor of the stone's strength. Arriving at camp I, the beautiful and always smiling Tamara, as she is versatile, takes my handkerchief and ties my arm so that I stop losing feathers. It is 4 in the afternoon and we start for ABC me, Tamara and the nicest Alex from Romania. Behind us come the Chilean JP and our leader the Spaniard Sergio. I start rapping, I am always so careful, my satellite phone rings, I stop answering because I know he is my son and I really want to know if the Nepalese reached the top, I lose a lot of time there and I can not talk to him. I continue slowly, while lower down I see Tamara and Alex moving for ABC. The phone rings again, I decide to stop on the balcony of the Japanese to talk quietly there and not hanging on the ropes. I arrive and immediately behind me I see the excellent photographer man and climber Oswald Rodrigo Pereira who is photographing me and I immediately grab the satellite and call my son who tells me: “Dad, the Nepalese stopped ten meters before the top for the others to go up together ". "Yes, Yupiii, they did it," I say to Oswald in front of me. At the same time I look back at the huge icy eastern slope and…. a long crawling noise comes, a hum is heard and it grows, I see two small objects rolling on the right slope and behind a climber body falling, bringing bumps, beating endlessly on the icy slope, the speed it has developed is terribly high. "Oh my God, my God", I freeze !! At the same time my satellite phone is still in my ear and back in Greece my son is listening to all this. "Mattia is, no go ..go ..because…" ..
 
He is wearing a red suit and I imagine it is Mattia.
Osvaldo kicks the ball away from the goal.
At that moment Jp arrives and I tell him "Mattia and that". He also leaves the ball down, I call Dawa on the radio,
"Dawa this and this happen"
"Calm down Antonio, calm down" !!
"What color suit are you wearing?" he asks me, I answer "red,
it's probably Mattia, "I tell him.
"Okay, go down Antonio, go down now and keep me informed to see what I do."
 
I start rapping in a hurry, but I always pay attention, now I miss one of my grabons, I care a little because in fact the grabbon stays on my leg but I lose the front brace that holds it in my boot when the grappon no longer works. Now, I hear from the radio Alex saying to our common network "I am
above it "it's not Mattia it's Sergio". "Sergio?" I wonder. I continue and hear from Alex: "he is crippled but he lives, he breathes a little,
send a helicopter now "he continues. Dawa begins contacts with the Pakistani army (there are no private companies flying only army helicopters). Now I hear Alex say on the radio: "Sergio, please stay with us please we are all here for you".
 
I finally arrive and I stand there on top of him I see his face I do not want and I can not describe to you more about how he was but I remember, exactly the same picture, when I was with Popi in the Alps de Ecrins, in 2018, in France, when two French girls tied ropes slipped and fell, fell on the icy slope, passed by us with great speed and passed through the balconies of the seraks and we from above saw their crazy course down. Then I was one of the first to get close to the two girls and the picture was the same as that of our beloved Sergi. Then 7 helicopters came one after the other and collected the victims and the friends of the girls. It's a story I never made public because any help I wanted was kept secret.
 
But I do it now at this given moment because it came to my mind and I want to share it with you.
Dawa tells us that a helicopter can not come today but tomorrow because that is what the Pakistani authorities call him. Then I immediately call my son, my John, and I tell him take the global rescue in America now, tell them that I am the one who is safe to come immediately. "This is not happening, my dad," replies Giannis. "Nice to tell them to come now we will pay as needed" The children tell me
"Antonio stop, he's not breathing anymore!"
 
Two hours later, our doctor, the excellent Thomas from Slovenia, arrived and it was already dark. He made the journey through the glacier from BC to ABC in 90 minutes, while it is three hours, together with the Irish Noel. When he arrived, he ran and put his feet between Sergio's lying body, opened his clothes and put his ear to his chest.
 
We all looked at him anxiously and waited for him to tell us something, something, something that would have the word life in it, that it breathes, that it will live. But in vain, Thomas raised his head and looked at us all: "No, finish, No option".
 
Then we all stood on top of him, touched him and one of us said something in Sergi's ear. Then we started crying, crying and hugging each other tightly. We put him on a mattress and tied him around with a rope and then the brave and tireless sherpa carried him to BC. On the way back to the glacier, in complete darkness, I stopped and asked Thomas
 
"If a helicopter came immediately would it live?" he replied: "no, Antonio, no, his body is like jel no hope, unfortunately".
 
Sergio Mingote was more experienced than all of us, his CV:
 
11 successful peaks over 8,000m in them and K2. All without supplemental oxygen, without sherpa. Many northern routes in the Alps, marathon runs under three hours, great rock climber, ultra marathon athlete and so much more.
 
So are the mountains, they offer you endless happiness but doom always awaits.
 
Now we have another great reason to reach the top, for our Sergi.
Goes on..
 
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Ασφαλιστικών Πρακτόρων Κ2 –Νίκος Κεχαγιάογλου

January 17, 29th day of the mission.

A day of contemplation and question marks, what was wrong, what could be done…?
 
We later held a small modest ceremony in his presence, in memory of the undefeated Sergi. Two brand new army helicopters arrive in BC (here in the area for safety reasons two helicopters always fly to monitor each other).
 
The general of the Army of the area and the deputy commander come down, we talk with them. They have the kindness, as good hosts they are, to offer us fruit and an amazing local dessert.
 
The principle of human nature is repeated: "only when you lack something can you appreciate its value" (we have 30 days to eat a fruit, a vegetable). The result is known: "the most beautiful fruits I have ever eaten in my life, not something special, a small apple and a mandarin, but indeed the most beautiful ...".
 
The helicopters leave with Sergi where later in the next few days the authorities will forward his body to his family in Spain.
 
January 18, 30th day of shipment.
 
The heroes of the first winter ascent to K2 have arrived since last night. On their cheekbones are the strong marks from the frostbite. We hug them and congratulate them. Despite their great success, they remain modest, humble, taciturn, proof -apart from all the other natural assets of this breed- and its greatness !!! Note that according to the same statement, everyone used oxygen except Nims.
 
Many conversations with them about what they encountered up there, the difficulties they encountered. The weather did them a great favor, January 16, 2021 was a very good day with almost zero air and temperatures that did not exceed -40c, according to the bulletins.
 
But Mingma G Himself told me that in his opinion, it is much colder, maybe -58c, at least the first hour they started, then it was better.
 
January 19, 31n day of shipment.
 
The government of Pakistan decided to pick up by military helicopter from Concordia - 4 hours walk from here - the 10 heroic sherpas along with their belongings and transport them directly to Skardu, (save 5 days walk in the glacier) where after After a few days of events and local ceremonies in their honor in Skardu, they will go to Islamabad and be welcomed at the Presidential Palace by the Prime Minister and President of the Republic of Pakistan.
As impressive as it may seem, I personally consider it absolutely fair and reasonable, because the achievements of mountaineering should also receive such recognition and reward, because in life the reward does not justify and only rewards its effort and success but opens the way wide for new achievements and at the same time motivates, inspires others to strive for something more, for something bigger !!!
January 20-21, 31st -32nd day of the shipment.
 
We remain in BC, the weather is very bad, stormy winds blow at the top at a speed of 180km per hour, temperatures reach and exceed -65c. We are looking forward to the improvement of the weather. After the loss of Sergi, but also three departures, we are now 14 people and 10 Sherpa.
 
The general leader of the Dawa mission, through his Dutch colleague, Arnold - always smiling and cheerful - announces that in the final effort for the top not everyone will take part, there will be restrictions. Any of us who will not be able to meet at a specific time, from one camp to another, for his safety trial should not continue but retreat, return to BC and this because if any of us is exhausted and can not continue, in danger of losing his life. There is no rescue in these conditions and in fact so high.
 
Therefore we must all properly measure our strengths and decide whether to continue or stop the effort.
 
My opinion is that all 14 of us will continue normally.
 
We always expect the weather to improve.
Ladies and gentlemen, whatever happens to us, what difficulties we have faced and will face, were and are known in advance. Personally, I came here with an opportunity to reach the top but at the same time to go back to Greece as I left. We will move forward together and we will succeed.
 
Thank you very much for your undivided support and love !!!
 
We thank our amazing sponsors
 
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Ασφαλιστικών Πρακτόρων Κ2 –Νίκος Κεχαγιάογλου

January 22,23,24,25

34th, 35th, 36th, 37th day of shipment

 

"Victory is often not immediate and rarely comes at the peak of courage, but what I think happens at the peak of courage is liberation. The liberation that comes with the awareness that no obstacle or force on earth can win, perhaps because the only thing you would never want to leave you is your priceless spirit and that in the end the courage of your actions is what moves things and makes the impossible possible !! "
 
All these last days, waiting for a window of better weather, I am constantly thinking the above words, trying to remain faithful to my will, faithful to the word, to the cause that I am here. The struggle with my own existence again, holds well, but victory is almost never immediate and patience is part of it.
 
Last night I was about to start with Pakistani Ali Sadpara, son of Sajid Sadpara
and the wonderful and always smiling John Snorri from Iceland. But I did not do it because all the members of the mission thought that the window was too small and this particular effort is very dangerous, so no one wanted to follow me.
 
Their plan was to leave the night before last at 21.00 and direct forward to low camp 3 at 7.100m, an overnight climb of 17-18 hours. After 4-5 hours of rest there, they would start yesterday afternoon for the summit with the aim of being there today at 6.00 in the morning. Later the wind would increase to 50 km per hour and the sense of temperature would be -65c. Therefore, it was marginal if they would catch up.
 
There were a lot of discussions last night between the Dawa leaders and the Dutchman Armont who did not agree to start, not even a Sherpa came with me. Our appointment was at 21.00. Time passed and the phones with my family, Costas Gabriel, our meteorologist continued. Dawa (the general manager of our mission, he has 14 x 8.000m in his palmare) in his attempt to hold me told me "If you go and climb it will be the biggest advertisement for my company, SST,
ίσως και να τα καταφέρεις, όμως για μένα 100% θα χάσεις κάποια δάκτυλά χεριών ή ποδιών ή την μύτη σου, επίσης αν την γλυτώσεις και πάθεις μόνο ελαφριά κρυοπαγήματα για τα επόμενα δυο χρόνια θα πρέπει να ξεχάσεις το πρόγραμμα σου για το 14×8.000m».
 
The last phone call from my family was clear: "As long as no westerner follows you, sherpa alone will not go anywhere."
 
I slept and kept thinking about the kids I was almost sure they would make it. The Pakistanis, father-son, but also John are extremely fast moving and many strong climbers. I was with him
Ali in Makalu in 2018 and in Dhaulagiri in 2019, I know him very well, maybe they are the best Pakistani climbers right now.
 
Of course I always thought that I might not be able to follow them. The group also included a Canadian filmmaker, Ellia, and three assistants, a Sherpa Pasang Sherpa and two Pakistani climbers, Fazal Ali and Jalal. Finally, in an amazing effort of strength of strength and high self-confidence, only the three of them arrived at camp 3 yesterday at noon, while the crew for the film stopped at camp II. The three of them rested for a while and waited for the afternoon to start, but the wind got stronger earlier than they expected and the situation became very difficult, so they never started.
 
Today I was on their main stage from 7.30 in the morning and I had, via radio, communication with them. I was told that it was blowing a lot and that everyone was going back to BC.
Ladies and gentlemen, in a mission of 8,000m and especially now in winter, its success is judged in many small details and it needs, in addition to the best planning and the appropriate preparation and a lot of luck. But what you demand most is the mental strength, your inexhaustible spirit to stay high so that you can wait, wait until you are justified.
I remember in the spring of 2018 in Kangchenjunga, 8,586m, we were there 44 climbers from more than 20 countries. We waited for over 20 days for the coveted window to come, on May 25 the monsoons would start and the season would end. The mountain had to be climbed for 3 whole years, two final attempts were made that stopped at 8,000 m, so more than thirty climbers left.
I remember recommending patience to everyone, patience we finally had the luck of two Greeks (Fotis Theocharis), an Italian and 8 Indians and some more sherpa, on May 22, in a historic ascent, to reach the top.
The words of my late father come to mind again. "If you cut the fig before its time, your hands will be full of milk and you will only itch, but if you wait, it will fall into your hands by itself and then you will enjoy sweets and only sweets."
 
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your undivided support and love, we are all together !!!
 
We thank our amazing sponsors
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Sponsors
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Ασφαλιστικών Πρακτόρων Κ2 –Νίκος Κεχαγιάογλου

26,27,28 January 2021

38th, 39th, 40th day of shipment

"Our life in the freezer continues."
The weather reports are like religions, they differ from each other, but they agree on something, they all ask their believers for faith and devotion and promise that the god of every religion will be reciprocal to every believer and will satisfy his desires.
Where the weather reports agree so far is the bad weather that continues.
The members of the mission consult different models that some give us a day of good weather some but no, but when the weather is bad all the models agree with each other and we remain faithful to all the "religions" and remain in BC.
waiting to reciprocate our desire. More specifically, two days of good weather, two days like the 15th and 16th of January when Sherpa went up. That is, air up to 20km and temperature up to -50c.
But we break our inactivity with a walk every day, north to the ABC or south to the BC of Broad Peak. Two hours of walking is the best recipe to stay active and especially to maintain your acclimatization.
In all this we have a significant advantage here, unlike all the others who live in cities, we do not take any precautions for Covid 19 and in fact we have forgotten it because none of us have Covid 19 and no one comes in contact with us - here where we are - with no one from the outside world.
So although we are not so well known to each other and especially to the kitchen staff consisting of 7 Pakistanis and Captain (Liaison officer) Nadeem Mayo (excellent and honest man only 26 years old), although it is the first time I meet them in in my life I feel so much my own people, I really love them, so I have the pleasure to hug them every day, every day to tell them how important they are for us who offer us food morning and noon and untouched, in these so hard conditions, carry at least 17 bags, a total of 500 kg of ice, in the back, every day, from the glacier. They put it in pieces in the huge cauldron to melt the ice so that we can all have water to drink, cook with this water and then wash all the kitchen utensils and ours. A lot of hard work that starts at 6.00 in the morning and ends at 9 in the evening.
They are all Heroes and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. We are all a family now.
a family from 17 countries. We may have different habits, we may believe in different gods, but every day we give tight handshakes or give tight hugs and kisses. It's all so beautiful.
I look into the honest eyes of these ordinary people, they all wish me well and believe that we can reach the top.
This is what we expect, this is what we want so much!
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your full support and love.
Yes we are all together!
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Ασφαλιστικών Πρακτόρων Κ2 –Νίκος Κεχαγιάογλου
 

January 29, 2021

41st day of shipment.

 
8.00 in the morning.
The bad conditions that prevail in the camp did not help us much in our communication with Antonis. That is why the video is from the previous days where it came to us now, the situation in the base camp is still today as shown in the video, we are waiting for a "window" of weather for the great effort.

February 1, 2021

44th day of shipment

"The big day has arrived"

 

Ladies and gentlemen, one of the greatest adventures of my life continues and even peaks after the big day I have been waiting for has arrived. Tomorrow, February 2, we start our effort to reach the top of K2, 8.611m.
Our plan is the following:
February 2, Camp 1, 6.050m,
February 3, camp 2, 6,600m,
February 4 crossing the Chimney and Black pyramid and arrival at noon at Camp 3, 7,400m. If everything has gone well there, we will rest for a few hours and at 18.00 or a little later we will start for the biggest and perhaps most important day of our mountaineering life… We do not know where we will manage to reach and what we will face. What our meteorologist Costas Gabriel tells us, is that the wind will be up to 20km
και η θερμοκρασία -46c αλλά το chill factor ίσως φθάνει τους -58c.
If we manage to cross the Bottle Neck, the coveted peak will follow on the morning of the 5th of February, but we will have to return to camp 2 on the same day because on the 6th of the month in the morning the bad weather will start again.
All this will be extremely difficult
since this last day can last more than 24 hours.
Ladies and gentlemen, from the beginning of this mission we are all together, but now we need you more. Pray for us that God be with us, pray and
send us your warmest wishes, we want to return as we leave and the gods of K2 to leave us for a few minutes to touch this mythical peak in winter. Just for a few minutes. There will be no conquest if we succeed, but only a small visit. K2 is much stronger than us, we can not conquer it just to worship it !!
My team in Athens will keep you informed with constant updates on social media, as I will keep them updated via my satellite phone.
I know it, I feel it, I feel that we are all together. For this:
"Brothers, let's raise Greece to the 7th heaven !!"
Thank you very much for everything.
.
.
.
We thank our amazing sponsors
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UPDATE

Antonis is at Camp 1 and is resting, he is in good health. It has -27 in the tent and the wind is at 20km.
We will be back with new ones soon.

UPDATE!

Antonis is in low Camp 2 exhausted but with an appetite for the sequel. He described to us that this route was the hardest thing he has ever done in his life at -32⁰ C and also had no sherpa up to this point.
Unfortunately, 5 members of the team left, while another 9 continue and among them is a Greek, where he is older!

UPDATE

Camp 3 7440m
Half of the tents were destroyed, resulting in seven people being placed in one tent, making it extremely difficult for them to rest for the final effort.
Five sherpas have been frostbitten and you doubt if they will continue upwards. Antonis feels extremely strong and ready for the final effort, it remains to be seen if this will happen, due to the terrible cold that reaches minus 50 degrees since he is already in danger of frostbite.

Update

Antonis decided not to continue his effort for the top as he is currently facing frostbite of probably 3rd degree on his toes, as well as he was informed that the weather is changing and making his effort prohibitive.
Specifically, he told us:
"I got here with a lot of mental and physical effort. Most sherpas have frostbite and we all try to repair the damage.
Unfortunately my sleeping bag is at C2 and I will have to stay at 7440m all night at -38 C.
4 people from the whole team have started but 2 returned due to the cold. "
Για οτιδήποτε νεότερο θα σας ενημερώσουμε.

UPDATE

Antonis arrived at Camp 1 exhausted.
We are waiting for news about the condition of his limbs. He will spend the night in this camp, and tomorrow he will continue for Base camp.

UPDATE!

Antonis is in Camp 3.
We expect news about the evolution of the mission.

UPDATE

Antonis arrived at Base Camp safe.
The condition of his legs is now being examined by the doctor at the base camp.
We will be back with more news.

Update!

Antonis told us.
My dear friends, thank you for all your wishes in all the media, I would not have done what I could have done without you.
As soon as I arrived at the base camp, my very good friends and camp cooks offered me hot tea.
Thank you very much.

Update

Antonis is in the Military Hospital in Skardu. All procedures and protocols are followed for his full recovery. He will stay in the hospital tonight.
Tomorrow will start for islamabad.
We all look forward to these hours when he is calm to describe to us the shocking days that have passed.
My dear friends, my dear friends.
Good evening from Islamabad, Pakistan.
I am fine and I will return to Athens tomorrow Friday 12 February at 11.15 with an Air Qatar flight from Doha.
These days I understand why athletes with full podiums perform many times more than the athletes themselves in licenses, these days I realized that the positive aura of those who think and care about you can be felt no matter how far away you are from those who give it to you they send and finally these days I realized a great amount, an important amount is to love you and even more important to show it to you, to tell you.
Thank you for being with me, the
I felt, I understood, that we were all together!
Thank you very much for everything!!!
Below and in the next 2-3 posts I will describe to you what happened from February 2 until today in this unique and unforgettable international mission that I had the honor to participate in and that cost the lives of 2 great friends and my fellow mountaineers.
Sergio Mingote from Spain, Athana Skatof from Bulgaria and also my friends Mohamed Ali Sadpara from Pakistan, Juan Pablo Mohr from Chile and John Snori from Iceland who are officially still missing!
February 2, 2021
45th Day of the mission.
The agony was at its peak, all the previous night I was thinking about the route and its difficulties. It finally dawned and everything was ready to go. I spoke on the satellite phone with my family filled with plenty of wishes and optimism. The breakfast was followed by the warmest hugs and wishes from the wonderful kitchen staff, the Pakistanis, that is, -Inshallah -Inshallah you listened while they hugged you - followed the standard prayer in the improvised stone temple of the Buddhists, we threw rice on our heads and we stood for a couple of minutes reverently looking at the top of K2 through the background of the colorful Buddhist flags.
I started with Noel Hanna , τον Bernhard  🇩🇪 και τον Peter  🇧🇪 , looking at the clock to calculate the time it would take us to get to camp 1 was necessary. A good time would be 7.30 -8.00 hours because whoever did more time would have to retreat to BC, as this would be a sign that he is not able to go any further, he will not be fast enough, he is in danger and he will have to go back.
On the way I met Elia the Canadian cameraman, together with his Nepalese assistant and he took several pictures of me. Arriving at ABC Memories, fresh memories from where the unfortunate Sergi Mingote ended up, a short stop to drink some tea was not just desirable but absolutely necessary. Some people may think that the cold alone bothers you, that is, you get cold, and if you dress well, the issue will be resolved. But it is not like that, the cold weakens you, causes you thirst and hunger so that you immediately need to replenish the calories that you suddenly lose. But at the same time, the high altitude sends you messages of anorexia, whenever you have to find the strength to impose on yourself something to eat, something to drink, even if it does not go down.
It is also difficult because as you climb you have to constantly take out your backpack to get your warmth and drink hot tea. So, you avoid doing it, you constantly postpone it and the fatigue and exhaustion is immediately reflected in your body and mind.
Noel, as he looks at me anxiously with time, replies: "Forget the limitation of time Antonio, as long as we do, do not rush".
We entered the fixed ropes, the slope had been covered by more and harder ice since our last ascent. I always went first. Arriving at the Japanese camp we ate half a bar of chocolate and drank two cups of tea. Now the Belgian, Peter, went first and soon started to be late, so Noel from Northern Ireland (9 times Mount Everest, K2 summer with the 4th time but also 18 peaks in total - efforts and successful - over 8,000m) shouted Antonio first, Antonio first.
So I went to a relay first again and then Peter followed with Noel and Bernhard. I was going up quite fast but gradually my performance dropped, it was natural, we had about 17 days away from the high altitude and the acclimatization had started to decrease, on the contrary our appetite to reach the top had not decreased at all. I arrived at camp 1 with a lot of effort, in 7 hours and 55 minutes and back, always but very close to me, Noel and Peter. Inside the tent I found Josette, Switzerland, IFMGA international mountain guide who
always climbs with sherpa as most internationally renowned climbers do, they have one or more Sherpa with them because they help during the ascent, sharing some weight with them and so working with them increases their chances of success.
I on this mission, while I had arranged sherpa (at the request of my family) did not see him at all except for a day.
I carried everything myself, sleeping bag, materials, curry mat, food, LPG. The only benefit I had was that I found a tent set up in camp 1 and 2.
In this final endeavor I would meet my Sherpa at camp 2 and he would help me carry some things together from camp 2 to camp 3 and from there to the top.
So while all the previous days I was climbing with the Italian Mattia, this time I had arranged to spend the night with the Swiss
Jossete, who had left BC overnight and so had arrived earlier, we cooked together and the night passed. With us on stage, later, 2 sherpas entered and so we were 4 people in a tent of two people.
I slept with only one thought: when I will reach the top I wanted it very much!
Goes on..
In the photo on my left:
Ali Sadpara 🇵🇰 και δεξιά μου :John Snorri 🇮🇸
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Ασφαλιστικών Πρακτόρων Κ2 –Νίκος Κεχαγιάογλου

February 3, 2021

46η Ημέρα της αποστολής.

All night Josette pushed me to try to find a little more space, it is true, since Josette slept on the left side and I on her right, that those who sleep on the edge of the stage suffer more from the cold (especially now in winter conditions). This is because fatally when there are 4 people in a tent of two people, one of your sides will constantly rest on the sail of the tent that is frozen or you will go out from the substrate since the tent at its edges is curved and the substrate can not cover as straight is the semicircle of the curve, so you lean on the floor of the stage, the tarpaulin. There is ice under the tarpaulin, only ice, so to give it a little more space I forget the back position and turn only sideways.
Anyway, at dawn, we are waiting for the sun to rise… how to start at -31c. It is possible, but you say do not let the sun rise a little later, it will be a little better (if it is sunny of course).
Now, after melting the ice that you have collected since last night around the tent (not where some of our climbers needed it, hahaha) and it becomes water, you will make tea for breakfast and after drinking it the process begins of preparation.
First of all, you have to damage the sleeping bag, that is, push the feather sleeping bag into its small case with your fists, and after you succeed (oh, oh, you are at an altitude), the case itself has 3 straps around it that work compressively so that reduce its volume, you start to fill the backpack. The sleeping bag comes in at the bottom, after the MSR (cooking device) stove, pot
, bottles, substrate, food, various personal items, snacks, flags for the top, camera, phone and flashlight, two thermos with 2kg hot tea and more, you can easily reach 12-14 kg.
Now you have to wear your bodier, your boots (three pairs), your grabons.
You are at 6,050m and all these preparations are made not only in reduced oxygen that cause you to pant but also with the cold that it is a combination that makes you incredibly tired.
Our current time for camp 2 should not exceed 5 hours. The terrain known for climbing up to 6,650m from 6,050m where we are in an upright mixed field of rocks and ice, something like the yellow band on Mount Everest, following the precarious ropes, having to choose from the many that exist which is the right one. , the safest way to get to this zoomar and of course you really pray that it will withstand you, that it does not come off, that it does not come off and that the rope reaches the next relay, because some ropes stop existing before the next relay, because part of them is buried under the ice.
So, you take out your axes and climb it freely until you find the rope above.
Now I remember the words
of the members of our mission in our discussion in BC, how lucky you can be when you climb and have five sherpas with you, yes five sherpas to help you. I am referring to the otherwise excellent climber and man Nims. You know the successes and results of people and climbers can not be based on individual efforts alone but are usually the result of teamwork and work. In the 1990s in my first missions to the Himalayas we were 7-10
people just to support one or two of us, the strongest to be able to get to the top. It was the result of teamwork and collaboration. From 2000 onwards, maybe even earlier, there are no national missions and if there are some, they now use sherpa because this teamwork and cooperation is not done by the members of the mission but by the sherpa. This is their great role, that's why today they are the best climbers in the world, that's why they climbed K2 in the winter while all the other westerners until recently did not succeed, that's why today there are 78 sherpa IFMGM certified international mountain guides.
Because it is the rule of life, the constant pursuit of something makes you better, makes you successful and of course very experienced and capable.
Then they have another natural gift in their DNA, the adaptation to the hypoxia of both them and their ancestors is recorded because simply all these generations of Sherpa were born and raised in the mountains at high altitude!
A sherpa is highly paid - especially for Nepal's financial level. His monthly salary or if you want his salary in a 45-50 day mission reaches $ 4,500 to $ 5,000, if he is even more famous. As an example, I would like to mention that the basic salary in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, is $ 150 to $ 200 per month, in the provinces even less, not counting the summit bonus that reaches $ 1000 to $ 1,500. Relatively now for those who do not use personal sherpa again they are helped by them since some of them belong to the fixing team, ie they are the ones who place the fixed ropes using supplemental oxygen at the peaks of 8.000m whenever this is the biggest help they offer and to those who do not use sherpa staff.
But the most important thing in these missions is the management, that is, who decides on how and when you will move on the mountain, what will be the day or days you will choose to try to reach the top what will be the tactics that will sequences.
I remember in 2017 on Everest together with my rope partner Mike Eumorphides we left the bace camp alone and unlike the others who followed the instructions of the head of the commercial mission of Asian trekking, and we belonged to this group, only the two of us managed to reach the top while the other 23 people did not succeed, not because they did not have the ability but because they preferred to follow the window of good weather days suggested by Asian trekking. We listened to our own god, Costas Gabriel, who led us to the top with complete success.
The same happened at the very technically difficult peak Kangchenjunga, 8.586m,
(the mountain was without ascent for the last three years 2015,2016,2017)
and out of the 48 western climbers we were there, in the Spring of 2018, having patience and following our own climbing program, we finally managed to climb only 11 climbers to the top together with my rope companion Fotis Theocharis. The same happened at Lhotse where I was with Christina Flampouri. Then, changing the design of the Mingma G, we stayed two nights at camp3 at 7,100m and successfully climbed to the top on May 14, 2019. Still at Manaslu, 8,163m I climbed without any help from Sherpa throughout the mission and without supplemental oxygen per day to the top.
The climbing starts and the weight of the backpack is felt, the negotiation with the ropes in each relay holds well but I have to reach C2 and in fact in 5 or 5.30 hours. Usually when you know a route it is easier because you do not have to face the frightening unknown and it seems shorter, but this time it is very tedious and difficult. I talk to my son on the phone and he inspires me:
"Dad, you are the biggest there, Dad, you are the most experienced, you are a professional, do what you know best from everyone, let's go to camp 2".
At the same time he says to me "do you know how many Greeks are watching you? Do you know how many thousands of messages they send you? "We are all with you! We are all with you!"
I was really shivering and at the same time forces were activated that I thought I had the best energy fuel that came from these words, really how much power, how much endurance there is in us that we do not know and when you hear such words all your hidden forces are activated immediately. I arrived at the camp
2 at 6.650m in 4.50 hours.
I immediately informed my son that I am here, everyone was very happy.
Here talking to BC I learn that now five of the 14 that we were did not continue to camp 2 but returned from camp 1 in BC and they were:
Jon Kedrowski 🇺🇸, Magdalena 🇵🇱, Oswaldrp 🇵🇱, Peter 🇧🇪, και ο Mattia 🇮🇹.
Low camp 2 is located just below the entrance to Chimney.
The view from camp 2 is magnificent, the glacier below looks like a river of ice that disappears away in our eyes. Broad peak dominates west with its three peaks. Above us the great black pyramid is waiting to show us all its hidden difficulties.
Another night at altitude begins, but my dream tonight is to reach the top of K2.
Goes on..
Photo with Chilean Juan Pablo 🇨🇱
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February 4th

47th day of shipment

It dawns, in our tent I sleep with Josette and two serpents, we wait for the color of the tent cloth to turn yellow from black visible in the dark, the light of dawn will give it its true, bright color and at the same time to me the feeling less frozen from the light
of the east and later by the sun's rays.
We are preparing our things, my sleeping bag is quite heavy, I do not take it with me but the sherpa who is now with me does not take it either. I think, I will stay in camp 3 for a couple of hours then we will go to the top and on the way back the joy of the top will offer me so much heat that I do not need it. We start at 10.00 in the morning, it is so cold -31c that no one even thinks to leave earlier. In front of us is the chimney, a narrow upright icy gutter with vertical rocks to its right and left like a chimney, about 20 meters. Josette starts first, I follow her, a small steep icy slope leads you straight to the chimney entrance. We are at 6,600m and the fame of this point is really justified. It takes a lot of breaths and plenty of ice climbing experience to get through it. The fixed rope is rather difficult compared to having two axes, you will definitely climb it easier but not safer. At the most difficult point you have to change the rope to get to the next one. I finish it quickly and at the exit I feel the joy that I had a comfortable time. Despite the 6,600m I continue. A snowy slope leads you to the upper camp 2 at 6,700m, here ruins of damaged tents are scattered from previous years, different mountaineering materials give you the image of aron aron abandonment from the previous ascents of summer.
Now above spreads the whole black pyramid, a black icy slope made of difficult rocks covered or sprinkled with verclass, ie water ice that makes it very difficult to climb. Here I remember the words of my five rope companions who climbed it in K2 summer and now he is here with us. The climb to K2 in winter has no comparison with the summer, not only because it is much colder, but because in summer the rocks themselves are not covered by a thin layer of ice that makes it so difficult to climb and so many other difficulties that the winter.
I look at the ones ahead - small colored dots - the colors from their feather suits indicate where the path goes on the hard black relief of the pyramid.
We continue to climb endless cliffs, rocks, passages of all difficulties, we reach low camp 3 at 6,980m and here a small loft offers the possibility for two or three tents, no more and immediately after another hard icy ice begins
gutter about twenty to twenty-five meters. The same here, I pass it quickly but at the exit a sherpa is late and forces me to stay hanging on the ropes, I look down my gaze reaches directly to the abc I think if you leave here…
Coming upstairs I call my son, he had told me I want you to call us often to know that you are fine.
My thoughts go back to the 1990s
-2000 in those unforgettable missions, then there were no satellite phones, then I was missing for two whole months without any news my parents, my wife. I remember in 1992 on the mission to Kongur 7.719m, in faraway China, I called my house after 56 days and the answering machine answered and left a message:
"Hello, I'm an old friend, remember me", as in 1994, on another mission, I returned home after 59 days without my family having any news from me if I was alive, if I was well, I returned on August 9th. 1994. My son was born on August 24. I did not know if I would be able to be at his birth.
The rocks look endless but somewhere I start to see Seraks - volumes of icy snow -, it finally ends, we enter the icy snow between the seraks I meet and pass Ali's son Sajid and after a while I meet John Snory. I am so happy to see him, I always felt so beautiful when I was with him, his wide sweet smile remains here at 7,400m, he is just as optimistic as ever. Let's go to the top John I tell him, yes let's go Antonio we are now close.
From here on there is no fixed rope, I take out my ax and start, it is night for good but my joy is very great, I know that in a very short time I will be in camp 3 7.440m and then begins the biggest day of my life my. After two hours we will start for the top. Now I see the first scene, it is by Tamara, she is at the entrance, inside is JP I see another scene of SST, I am so happy, it is not so strong but according to the forecast the cold is from -39c to -41c.
Girlfriends and friends the sequel…
As I promised you, we will do another live for K2 where I will describe what happened on the night of February 4 at camp 3 at 7.440m and I will answer your other questions.
I apologize for the previous live that for technical reasons was not uploaded online to my page but only to my profile on Fb.
The next one will be done normally on my Fb page
Antonis sykaris Greek alpinist and on Instagram at the same time,
on Sunday 28 February at 19.00 I am waiting for you all.
Thank you very much for your true and moving support.