Thursday, July 09, 2009
More on K2 Ski Descent Tragedy
A few weeks back I posted the sad news that Italian climber/skier Michele Fait had died while skiing down K2. Now, the National Geographic Adventure Blog has posted a follow-up with a little more information on the accident and a link to a first hand account from the mountain.
According to this article Fait, and climbing partner Frederick Ericsson arrived in K2 Base Camp on June 18th, planning to spend three weeks acclimatizing before going up the Cesen Route. The pair climbed up to C2 and spent the night acclimatizing and were descending back to BC at the time of Fait's accident. C2 is located at 20,000 feet while, base camp is at 16,500.
Ericsson was skiing ahead of his friend, and had apparently put a good distance between them when Fait lost his edge on a patch of ice, which sent him tumbling down the 3000 foot face. By the time that Ericcson arrived at the body, some 20 minutes later, Fait was already dead. Ericcson and one of the guides secured Fait's body on the mountain, then returned the next day with eight others, to hold a ceremony for their friend. They then buried the body not far from where he fell.
Most of this was already known, but as the story points out, Ericcson has stopped sending dispatches from Pakistan, and has reportedly left the mountain. Few could blame him of course, and he is likely still grieving for the loss of his friend, and not ready to speak of it publicly yet.
One person who has posted his thoughts is climber Sean Wisedale, who wrote about it on his blog. You can find the two pertinent posts here and here. In the first post, Sean breaks the news of Michele's fall, and in the second he talks about the solemn ceremony that they performed.
Lets hope this is the only fatality on the "Savage Mountain" this season.