K2: Survivors Recount Tragedyby Melissa Thomasma - Alpinist.com Aug/2008
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The last known survivor of the disastrous ice avalanche on the upper flanks of K2 has descended to base camp.
With the assistance of an American mountaineer and two Sherpas, Italian climber Marco Confortola was able to reach base camp and is currently awaiting helicopter rescue. As soon as weather permits, Confortola will be picked up from base camp and flown to Skardu, Pakistan, where he will receive advanced medical care. He is said to be suffering from extreme frostbite on his feet, like the other survivors of the avalanche.
"Up there it was hell. During the descent, beyond 8000 meters, due to the altitude and the exhaustion I even fell asleep in the snow, and when I woke up I could not figure out where I was," Confortola told his brother Luigi in Italy via satellite phone.
Last weekend Dutch climbers Wilco van Rooijen and Cas van de Gevel were flown to a military hospital in Skardu; they are receiving treatment for their own frostbite.
"Everything was going well to Camp 4 and on summit attempt everything went wrong," van Rooijen reflected. He said that while earlier expeditions had fixed lines through the Bottleneck, they had placed them at incorrect places, making them unsafe. "We were astonished. We had to move [the fixed lines]. That took of course, many, many hours. Some turned back because they did not trust [the lines] anymore," he explained.
Read the full report by Melissa Thomasma on the Alpinist Website