I am aware, K2 might be the first and last 8000er I summit in my life time, Yuka Komatsu said. Image of Yuka back in Japan, by Yusuke Hirai.
Reality hits Yuka Komatsu: "I can't afford to climb in the Himalayas"

Posted: Sep 20, 2006 02:34 pm EDT
(K2Climb.net) Young K2 summiteer Yuka Komatsu is back to daily life in Japan. And reality is not exactly a bed of roses for the first Japanese female to summit K2. First of all, Yuka needs to save money, in order to refund what she had to invest for the K2 expedition, said her friend Yusuke Hirai.

The price of attempting K2

Yuka works selling mountain gear in a sporting goods store in Japan. She had no sponsors for her recent K2 expedition. Instead, she had to work three jobs and save every last penny just to pay for a spot on the team. It was very difficult for me, she recalled.

Yuka is of course dreaming of climbing further mountains," Yusuke told ExplorersWeb. "She has no plans for the Himalayas though, but maybe Patagonia and the Alps. She would like to prove herself a climber capable of reaching the summit of Fitzroy, or the West face of Dru (Chamonix).

Maybe Alps or Patagonia its cheaper

The biggest constraint of course is money. Himalayan climbs demand tons of money only to get a climbing permit, Yuka said. I just cant afford it. Thus, I'd rather focus on other ranges where there no climbing fee is required.

I am aware, K2 might be the first and last 8000er I summit in my lifetime, she said.

Yuka Komatsu was born on September 22, 1982 in Akita, Japan and graduated at Tokai University in March, 2005. She has done ice climbing in Korea and Banff (Canada). In 2004, without any Himalayan experience, she led a team in the Karakonglong Mountains, Pamir Range (central Asia) achieving a first ascent on a 6300m virgin peak.

Yuka summited K2, her first 8000er, together with Tatsuya Aoki (21) on August 1, 2006, after climbing from the SSE Spur route. She used supplementary O2 on her summit day. Yukas companion on the summit, Tatsuya Aoki 21, has become the youngest K2 summiteer ever.

Yukas Tokai University team was the only expedition to climb from the SSE spur. Yuka gave her all to fix ropes and high camps in order to be allowed a place on the summit team.

In 2005, Yuka attempted Everest as a member of the north side Japan-China Friendship Expedition. But by the time she reached BC, the summit team had already been selected. Yuka was not allowed a spot on the summit team and was prevented from climbing above ABC. "I will never forget how it felt. But the memory also gave me the power I needed to climb K2," she said.

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