(K2Climb.net) For Bulgarian Boyan Petrov, his only witness up there as Veikka Gustafsson recently put it in another matter, pushing for GII on his own would have made it very easy to claim a summit.
In fact, first reports stated Petrov was the only climber this season to achieve a double header after summiting both GI and GII. Yet Boyan himself contacted ExplorersWeb with a detailed report stating he stopped very close to the highest point.
His statement as brave as his bold climb (with type 1 diabetes) on a lonely 8000er, showing the way to go even on the tallest mountains, where a man's integrity will always count higher than any mountain top. Here goes Boyan's debrief:
Hidden Peak summit
My name is Boyan Petrov. This summer, I was a member in the Bulgarian team aiming for GI and GII, outfitted by Jasmine Tours. I am type 1 diabetic with previous experience in the Karakorum - I reached 7,300 meters on Broad Peak in 2001, and 8150m on K2 in 2005. With the present letter I would like to clarify some details of my ascent on Gasherbrum-2, back on August 1st.
"On July 26th, I summited G1 together with the other three members in our Bulgarian team, led by Nikolay Petkov; Veikka Gustafsson and Kazuya Hiraide topped-out with us, between 10:40 and 11:25 am."
"One day later we descended back to C1 from where I decided to attempt GII on my own."
Alone for GII
"On July 27th, I climbed all the way to Camp 3 (6,950m). I slept in the tent of the missing Spanish climber Luis Barbero - after getting permission from Luis team leader, Mr. Carlos Soria. On the following morning I attempted to reach the summit twice: on the first try I set off at 1:00am and turned back at 7,100m; on a second push launched at 5:00am, I reached 7,250m before being forced back by worsening weather conditions."
"I reached back C1 at about 1:00pm that day."
Second lonely push
"I took a rest day in C1 and, on July 30th, I set off again on my own, breaking trail from C1 to C3."
"On August 1st, I started alone for the summit at 3:00 am. Breaking trail in the soft, fresh snow at the traverse beneath the summit pyramid was the most challenging part of the climb. Around 12:15pm I was about 100m below the summit ridge."
"I was not fully prepared to climb GII after GI I had had no time to read the description about the last part of the the route; therefore, I was unable to estimate where the true summit is and decided to climb straight up the middle of the ridge."
"I reached the sharp, corniced ridge at 1:10pm and broke the cornice to see Broad Peak, K2 and beyond (check picture). Then I realized that the summit of GII was actually to the left of me, at a maximum of 40m."
I stopped 30 meters away from the highest point
"Having only one ice axe and a stick I started traversing towards the summit from the Pakistani side. Beneath the fresh, powdered snow I stepped on very hard ice I slipped and fell about 2 meters in a merely 10-12 meters-long section of the horizontal traverse. I decided to stop there. Thus, the highest point I reached was actually 30 (horizontal) meters away and 5-7 meters below GII actual summit."
"I reached back C3 at 5:10pm - Spanish Sechu Lopez and Iranians Mohamed and Hussein were there. All of them have planned to push for the summit on the following morning; I didn´t want to disturb their rest. After a short break, I continued down to C1, which I reached at 8:05pm."
"As morning came, I packed up my tent and gear, and proceeded down to BC."
Epilogue: Unexpected close-call
It was over or so Boyan though but yet a nasty surprise was awaiting. While crossing the Gondogoro la pass I fell 13 meters in a crevasse. I was rescued by Spanish Andres, Luis and Jorge, with the help of several porters, Boyan explained. Back at home, I have undergone a series of urological, neurological and endocrinological tests, to check the consequences of the fall.
Hopefully, some rest and sun will do the rest: Boyan is currently recovering from the injuries in Thassos Island, Greece, together with his family.
Bulgarian Boyan Petrov (35) is a zoologist working for Sofia's National Museum of Natural History , a WWF's Climate Witness, and a climber with previous attempts on Broad Peak and K2. He summited GI on July 26th, 2009.
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