Sunday, 30 July 2006 00:00

Ger McDonnell injured by rockfall

This morning the 30th as Ger, Banjo and Mick moved from Camp 1 to Camp 2, Ger sustained a head injury, incurred by a falling rock. Ger has returned to Base Camp with Mick and Banjo.

Medical aid has been provided by the Japanese and Russian team doctors. We are unable to confirm the extent of Ger's injuries at this time.

If weather conditions allow, he will be evacuated by helicopter tomorrow, accompanied by Mick.

We will keep you updated as further news unfolds.

Photo: Ger on Denali 2005

Our thoughts and prayers are with Ger at this time.

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Saturday, 29 July 2006 00:00

Irish climbers on the move

Ger McDonnell, Mick Murphy and Wilco van Rooijen have teamed up for a further summit bid. They left base camp this morning, climbing on the Russian permit. They plan to reach ABC this evening and if conditions are favourable will be making their summit bid on Wednesday, Aug 02.

The Japanese team are also moving up the mountain and are a day ahead of the lads. Banjo Bannon has also moved to ABC today.

We would like to wish all the climbers a safe and successful summit bid. Their motivation and will power shows great strength of character; conditions on the climb have been extremely tough and having spent over 60 days now at high altitude, the lads are bound to be physically quite exhausted.

The next few days will be exciting and we will keep you posted with current news as soon as it becomes available.

Photo Camp 1 (c) Wilco

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Ger McDonnell, Mike Murphy and Banjo Bannon are resting at base camp today and awaiting a detailed weather forecast. If this forecast show a stable weather window then they will go for a summit push as soon as tomorrow, if not then they will wait it out for another while.

Let’s hope that they have recovered enough to be able to push through if they decide to go-for-it.

Best of luck to the lads on their decision, I know its so frustrating to be at base camp especially if the weather is looking good. It plays on the mind for every minute that you are there, while knowing that if the weather turns bad that it could be the end of the expedition. As the season moves on there will be less chance of the weather getting better as the Jet stream winds and bad weather descends on K2.

Celebrating at K2 Base Camp:

I’m sure everyone will be celebrating the Italians success at base camp and that the lads will be checking out with them the conditions above camp 4 to the summit.

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Thursday, 27 July 2006 00:00

Weather forecast for K2 area

Karakoram Weather

Update 26/7/2006: Weather for K2/NP/BPks/GBI/GBII

Dry Weather will continue; High Winds on Thursday/Friday. The prevailing dry weather will continue for another few days over all main peaks except Nanga Parbat. The monsoon is very active in Pakistan and some strong currents may approach south of Nanga Parbat during next 2 days. The upper winds (at 20,000 ft and above) are likely to increase gradually from Thursday with NW direction. No significant change in weather is insight for K2/ BPks/GBI/GBII.

I'd like to thank Adrain Rahaill our 2004 base camp manager on Everest for forwarding this information to us.

We will be keeping a close eye on the weather in this area for the next two weeks until our Irish lads are finished on the mountain and keep you posted.

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All the Irish are back at base camp for a rest. Ger Mc Donnell, Mike Murphy and Banjo Bannon.

We will now need to sit back, relax and wait for the green light again for a summit attempt by the lads.

I believe that it will at least take between two to three days before a decision will be made before they will try to go back up for a summit attempt and this will be pending a good weather forecast.

Pat Falvey 11:00 July 25th

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Picture Italian Nives Meroi base camp K2
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Basecamp Netherlands update Monday July 24th

Team 1 is back in BaseCamp-K2. They had a terrible night last night. Three were awake all night because they continually had to vomit. That’s not a good start if you consider the task that lay before them. They still had to establish Camp 4 and afterwards had to secure the route above camp 4 towards the summit. That proved to be too big a problem. For a little while they considered waiting for reinforcements. After giving it some thought they decided to abandon their summit push and return to BaseCamp K2.

Gerard and Mick will try to transfer there climbing permit to Banjo’s permit. They still have time to consider another summit push. Wilco is considering the same thing. He will try to transfer to the Russian permit. Of course there is more to organize if he decides to stay a bit longer for another summit attempt.

On the way down Ryan was hit on the knee by a rock. Nothing really bad happened but it will mean the end to his expedition. Another member of the FTA expedition Michael (Dell?) was hit by another bigger rock in the chest area. Again nothing really bad happened but he is suffering more and is in pain.

All are back in BC-K2. Except an Italian expedition who today climbed toward Camp 3. Also the large Russian expedition is on the move.

Picture Wilco at base camp;

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Monday, 24 July 2006 00:00

Weather Forcast changing for the worst

The weather is holding good until Wednesday/ Thursday then it is to change with Jet stream winds heading for K2.

If this happens it will put severe pressure on all of the expedition teams on the mountain.

All the summit teams that have been pushing upwards for the last few days are exhausted after descending to base camp and will rest for a few days before making any decision on new a new summit attempt.

Keep posted for further updates.

updated comment Pat Falvey

If the weather worsens it will put a severe stress on the team as they try and hold a positive attitude on a summit push. The weather forecasts will play a crucial part in the decision making process on the team to go back up for a summit attempt.

Each forecast they will now receive will be dissected over and over again and will form the main discussion amongst team members. The longer they stay now on K2 the weaker all climbers will become from a stressful base camp life of sitting and waiting. At rest they will dream of nice steaks, pints of Guinness, hot showers and of their partners and family at home.

17:00 24th July 2006
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Picture Karakorum Range Including K2 and Broad Peak. (c)google earth
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Have been on to Maartan from team Netherlands and Simon Scott from Banjo's team, I can now confirm that the summit attempt has been aborted for now.

As stated yesterday, hard decisions would have to be made after they failed in making it to camp 4 at 7500 meters because of deep snow and not enough man power to push the route through for a final summit attempt from camp 3.

Tiring bodies need to re-energise themselves to make a summit attempt and the climbers are now weakened from the push of the last few days of getting food and shelter to these high camps.

Hard Decisions:
To return to base camp now is a good decision by all concerned, it may however be the end of the expedition for some of the climbers as their permit for the mountain will run out in the next few days.

Mick Murphy and Ger McDonnell have now decided to join forces with Banjo on his permit as his permit extends for a further few weeks, while their permit on the mountain will run out in the next few days. All Irish climbers will now join forces to have another go at the summit.

Comment on how they will be feeling:

Having had to abort the summit attempt in good weather will be a big disappointment for all the climbers. Now more so then ever they will need to stay focused on the objective of the summit if they are going to succeed. This is really going to be a hard time for them as they now have to readjust to the reality of having to spend more time on the mountain then they had expected a few days ago.

Will keep you all posted on the upcoming events as they unfold.

Pat Falvey 14:25 July 24th
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Picture Camp sites on K2 (c)Alan Arnette
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Update dispatch Saturday July 22nd

Wilco, Ryan, Gerard and Mick arrived at Camp 3 (7359m)
It was a very tough climb. It took us eight hours to get here. On the route from camp 2 they first had to negotiate “The Black Pyramid”. This is a technical and difficult part of the K2 ascent. The HAP’s are very disappointing. They should have climbed in front of the team but started this morning at exactly the same moment. Only one ! Hap has arrived until now and the team has some logistical problems. The Hap’s left a few hundred meters lower the oxygen for Ryan and Mick, a lightweight tent the team will need in Camp 4 and some climbing rope they will need on there summit push. That does NOT look good.

The French climber Antoine became ill on his way up. He is now in Camp 3 with the rest but will descent tomorrow morning. Wilco and Mick suffer from a light form of diarrhea. With enough fluids and medicine this should not be a big problem.
Wilco reports knee deep snow. That will be a problem tomorrow when they will climb towards camp 4. This will be their last camp before they will start their summit push on Sunday night 0.00 hr.

Thanks to team Netherland and Wilco for keeping us posted.

Report from Banjo's web site

Banjo has arrived at camp 2 - 22 July 2006

Speaking with Banjo this saturday morning he is currently at camp 2 - he has retrieved some gear at camp 2 and will
continue up to camp 3 to assess how much of his camp and gear now remain there.

Lets hope that his gear is still in tact. Pat Falvey

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Sunday, 23 July 2006 00:00

Update on summit Push Sunday 19;00 hrs

Summit Push update Sunday July 23rd from team Netherlands.

We got a visit from Hans van der Meulen who was the first Dutch climber (together with Ronald Naar) to summit K2. At the same moment Hans arrives at BC-Netherlands we receive a telephone call from Wilco. The whole team is back in CAMP 3. This morning they started without any HAP. They are all gone. The team of five climbers (Antoine feels better and joined the team) divided all necessary equipment and oxygen in backpacks and started their ascent towards camp 4. Camp 4 should have been build just on top of the shoulder. They did not reach that point. It was too heavy. Knee-deep snow and top-heavy backpacks and the very difficult glacier terrain made that impossible. They buried the equipment just below the shoulder and returned to camp 3. Tomorrow morning they will start allover again. They will try to establish camp 4 and continue their summit push Monday night.

At this moment there are six climbers in camp 3.: Wilco van Rooijen, Ryan Waters, Mick Murphy, Gerard McDonnell, Antoine and Banjo Bannon who has just arrived in camp 3.

Comment: Pat Falvey
Lets hope they can break through to camp 4 tomorrow, the longer that they spend up high on the mountain, the weaker they will become. It is impossible to gain strength at this altitude as the body screams out for oxygen in the thin air.

It is great to see all of the Irish Climbers now at camp 3.

Having 6 people at camp three will make a difference as they will be able to share the breaking trail of the route to camp 4 especially if they have to cut through deep snow.

For now we play a waiting game to see if the mountain will allow the lads through. The frustration will start now if they will have to remain at camp 3 for any longer then tomorrow and there will be hard decisions to make for the team.

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