Expedition: K2
Dispatch #7—July 31, 2011
Photograph by Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner
The team enjoys a picnic lunch at the Chinese Base Camp in the oasis of Sughet Jungal, a beautiful green contrast to the snowscapes of the upper camps.

When we were still on the mountain about a week ago, Charly had told us that we would have to deal with pretty bad weather for the coming days. With this in mind, we decided get some rest and breathe some 'thicker' air at our Chinese Base Camp—which the locals call "Sughet Jungal"—at 3,850 meters (12,630 feet). "Sughet Jungal" means virgin forest or jungle with bushes and that is exactly how we remembered it from our first few days of the expedition. We had left our personal tents as well as the mess and kitchen tents pitched in the middle of these beautiful meadows, bushes and small creeks as we had expected to come back to recharge our batteries down there. After having spent more than four weeks at the rocky and barren Italy Base Camp at the edge of the K2 glacier, it was great to get down.

Photograph by Ralf Dujmovits
Photographer Tommy Heinrich takes advantage of strong winds at Chinese Base Camp and passes time flying a small stunt kite he brought on the expedition.

We enjoyed walking through the lush and green landscape and we had time to rest and relax. When we were not spending our time reading, we tested our skills with Tommy’s stunt kite, which was difficult to navigate in the strong wind coming from the Shaksgam Valley. For three nights, we enjoyed breathing 'thick' air and we had the feeling that our bodies recovered completely. The lower altitude even healed our chapped fingertips as well as our burnt lips, so it was a good move to spend some time down there.

After a long chat on Thursday afternoon with Charly (Dr. Karl Gabl)—who we would like to thank once again for his excellent weather forecasts—we decided to return to our real base camp the following day. When we arrived there after about five hours walk, we were once again reminded that this place also has a lot to offer: first and foremost the incredible and motivating view of K2, which was only showing its beauty sporadically between the fast moving clouds. Just looking at this imposing mountain is a huge incentive to start again on Monday, when the weather is supposed to get better. During this period, we are hoping to reach and set up our last camp at around 8,000 meters (26,250 feet). However, until then we would like to send you warm regards from our completely remote base camp.

Ralf and Gerlinde and the rest of the K2 team