As fate would have it, holding our position, listening to the voice of the mountain, humbly bowing down and accepting defeat, recognizing that our film efforts would not be fully realized, likely saved our lives. We held our position at Japanese Camp 3 and rather than joining our friends on their summit bid, we huddled together in a tent in -45c for the night and descended to safety.
Having turned back on mountains a number of times before, despite the let down, I must admit that I was tremendously relieved. This was winter K2 after all. As those who summited put it: it is simply unimaginable up there above 8000m. I knew in that moment that PK, Fazal Ali and I would be returning home. When all goes wrong goes right – nothing is more humbling.
Climbing to Japanese Camp 3 and discovering these bottles transported us back to that fateful night on February 4th. We were treading the edge of our abilities and when we hit the wall and all signs pointed to throwing in the towel we immediately accepted the reality of the situation. It was over.
And now we found it and it will once again, hopefully, if all aligns, be the enabler of our little 5 person operation high above the clouds.
A gift of circumstance and serendipity from the stars.