Leaders: Jim Adler, Evan Samuels
HPS CONQUERS K2!!! The 1989 HPS K2 Expedition met at 8:00AM at the highway junction, and after waiting a reasonable amount of time for no shows commenced the vehicular portion of the trek. After certain would-be expedition members dropped out, apparently unaware of just how far K2 was from Orange County, and others failed to join the expedition, the climbing team numbered six. The team included assistant leader Evan Samuels, Luella Martin, Erich Fickle, Karen Leonard, Kathy Price and myself (Jim Adler).
Attempts to contact the local warlord in order to obtain passage through the "Locked Gate" proved fruitless and it was necessary to proceed on foot from this point forward. Due to certain labor strife conditions (or perhaps it was a local religious holiday, our sources were unclear), Sherpas were unavailable and we elected to reduce our gear requirements by leaving all our ropes, crampons, ice axes, oxygen, helmets, ice screws, ascenders, pitons, etc. at home.
As we prepared to commence our assault on the peak I was concerned that the heavy winds would become worse as we reached higher elevations and that we might encounter the same fierce winds that had forced abandonment of Kathy's and my prior K2 attempt. After consultation with K2 veterans Luella Martin and Evan Samuels, a consensus was reached to abandon the original plan to ascend via the challenging" Large Boulder Ridge" route and to both ascend and descend by the famous "Character Building Scree Slope" route, as this appeared to be less exposed.
The ascent up the road and scree slope proceeded without incident and on schedule. All six expedition members reached the summit. On the summit, the successful ascent was celebrated with a champagne brunch featuring bagels and cream cheese. Conveniently when we reached the summit the wind died down and the sky was sunny. After brunch, the team then descended back down the scree slope but took a nice route down a side ridge back to the road and the "Locked Gate."
Savoring our success, most of the team then drove up the road and conquered mighty J2 in short order.
Many thanks to all the team members for their dedication, perseverance and determination to reach the summit regardless of obfuscation, distance, and the risk of inebriation.