K2 lady summiteer Yuka Komatsu: "Mt.Fuji was colder!

Posted: Aug 29, 2006 03:40 pm EDT

Yusuke Hirai, who works at the same climbing store in Japan as K2 lady summiteer Yuka Komatsu and Japanese ace climber Hirotaka Takeuchi shot over an update this past weekend on Yuka's recent K2 summit:

"Yuka Komatsu and all the members of the Tokai Uni. K2 Expedition arrived Japan today (August 25) and I was able to talk with Yuka over the phone about the bivouac at 8200m."

Bivouaced at the lower section of the bottleneck

"Media and myself had it wrong about Yuka's bivouac. They did not bivouac at the triangle rock or even at the upper part of the bottleneck. They bivouaced at the lower section of the bottleneck; after traversing the section which seems to be the point where the Russians became caught in an avalanche."

"Yuka said that on August 1, the section didn't look avalanche prone. She also told me why she bivouaced at that dangerous altitude: Their headlamps ran out of batteries and Tatsuya Aoki was too sleepy to descend. Yuka figured it would be too dangerous to leave Tatsuya alone and that's why they decided to bivouac, approximately 3 to 4 hours before sunrise."

"Yuka also said that she didn't feel cold at all in the bivouac. She said that Mt.Fuji felt a lot colder in winter!"

Japanese Yuka Komatsu, 23, has become the 8th woman to ever summit K2. Not a professional climber and lacking sponsors, Yuka is back to selling climbing gear at a local sports store in the Tokyo neighborhood of Shinjuku-Nishiguchi. Her colleagues are seasoned fellow climbers such as Hirotaka Taekuchi - Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner and Ralf Dujmovits regular climbing mate.

Hiro also summited K2 from the Cesen route in 1996. Back then he was not much older than Yuka: Hiro summited at 25, just 2 years older than Yuka. Hiro succeeded on K2 right after reaching the top of Everest. Since K2, he has summited another 6, 8000ers. There is no doubt that peaks over 8500m are a different kind of mountains. We need to push ourselves to get to the summit, Hiro told ExWeb.

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As surprising as it may seem, Yuka's summit was not a question of luck or marketing. It was her will power and endurance that got her not just to the top, but a spot on the summit team in the first place. In the image, the three members of the summit team leaving BC. Image courtesy of Tokai University Alpine Club (click to enlarge).

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