This traverse is one of the most iconic and dangerous obstacles in high altitude mountaineering. You fall here and you will die. The serac destabilizes in any way whatsoever and you’re in a lot of trouble. I’ve studied this section, watched amateur videos, analyzed photos and mentally walked myself through it hundreds of times, knowing that one day my time would come to document it and negotiate the blue ice extremely carefully, camera in hand.
We left just after midnight and were gifted with a bright moon that lit up all the mountains below. Headlamps were unnecessary. The images on video that night are extraordinary leading up to this point.
I don’t have the luxury of only climbing, I have to think video, shots, coverage, storytelling and content. On the ascent, my filmmaking mind I knew I wanted Sajid crossing the traverse under the serac with the sunrise beneath him. By the time I traversed, it was 4am and Earth’s first light in Pakistan became the backlight of Sajid’s interview standing at the edge having just crossed the most dangerous section on K2.
It was hard to believe what I was filming. Where I was standing was absurd, but I was locked into the anchor and safety line and Sajid was comfortable standing on the foot and a half wide path with the abyss below, sharing his feelings about coming face to face with his father.
I didn’t have time to feel any pain or discomfort up there. I was occupied with wireless mics, focus, batteries and the most important task of adapting to Sajids every move, trying to anticipate what he might do and always ready to flip and drop any expectation or plan to accommodate his actions.
As a climber, athlete, human being and storyteller, I felt like the sum total of all of my experiences, in life, in loss, grief, creativity and performance all came together to ensure we had both the logistics safely in place and the recorded media we needed to tell this story.
With the right mindset, adversity and hardship become the greatest of enablers.