Mag. Tomaž Rotar, dr.dent.med. je bil rojen 6.3.1972 v Kranju. Osnovno šolo je obiskoval v Radovljici, naravoslovno gimnazijo pa na Jesenicah. Po končani gimnaziji se je vpisal na Medicinsko fakulteto v Ljubljani smer stomatologija. Diplomiral je leta 1997 s povprečno oceno 9,1. Po diplomi se je odločil za magistrski študij in dobil učiteljsko mesto na Medicinski fakulteti. Magistriral je leta 2000. Od takrat dela v zasebni praksi v Radovljici, kjer ima dve ločeni ordinaciji. V zadnjih petih letih je naredil velik korak na področju implantologije in dobil naziv inštruktor pri mednarodni zvezi, ki skrbi za izobraževanje na tem področju (IFZI). Živi v Lescah na Gorenjskem, je poročen in ima dve hčeri. Ves čas ostaja zvest gorništvu in je osvojil nekaj markantnih vrhov širom po svetu.





Vsi prispevki Tomaža Rotarja




V čist kozarec vina si nalivam krvavo rdeč teran, strmim v zelena drevesa na domačem vrtu in življenje mi pomeni več kot nekoč. Sončni žarki počasi izgubljajo moč, sonce se počasi poslavlja, le za kratko noč. Dogodki, ki v dolini ne pomenijo nič več kot vsakodnevnega dolgočasnega ritma, v svetu ki sem ga zapustil pred kratkim, pa je resnica popolnoma drugačna. Kozarec je prazen, misli pa vedno bolj podobne tistim, ki nočejo zapustiti moje glave in so še vedno tam, kjer sva se z Johnom poslovila. V svetu, ki ni primeren za življenje, kamor je priti teže, kot pristati na Luni, sva spregovorila zadnjih par besed. “ I will tray to cross it”, je dejal in  v kratkem stavku dvakrat močno potegnil kisik iz napol prazne jeklenke. Vedel sem, da je preutrujen, do višine 8000 m je prišel prepočasi, skoraj uro za mano. Imel sem dovolj časa, da sem še pred njegovim prihodom, skupaj s Sherpo Timbo, pregledal vsaj dvesto metrov razpoke in ugotovil, da je najboljše mesto za prečkanje ravno tisto, ki sem mu ga pokazal, vendar je bila vrzel precej preširoka, da bi jo lahko preskočil. Sherpa se je odločil, da so pogoji pretežki in da se bo vrnil nazaj na tretji višinski tabor. Z Johnom sva ostala sama, izgubljena v neskončnem trenutku sva pri -55 stopinjah ob polni luni strmela čez razpoko in opazovala zloglasni steklenični vrat in vrh gore na drugi strani preklanega  sveta. Drobni ledeni kristalčki smrtonosno mrzlega zraka so se skupaj z zvedami lesketali v svetlobnih sojih čelnih svetilk. Nekje iz teme me je glas preteklih izkušenj opozarjal, da so težave le prehodne, slava pa je večna, pa kljub temu nisva mogla naprej. Obstala sva na robu večnosti, in odločila sva se vsak po svoje. John je bil dovolj pogumen, da je izbral večnost. ” I can not cross it, I am going down, good luck” , je bilo zadnje kar sem z njim spregovoril tisto noč in ostal sem brez kril.

Vedel sem, da se nisem poslovil le od Johna, ampak tudi od uspeha, kajti uspeh je vedno na drugi strani strahu, na drugi strani neskončno globoke in temne razpoke, zato ni za vsakogar, zato ni bil zame, zato naenkrat nisva bila več ekipa, ki lahko dela skupaj. Dolgi tedni dveh zaporednih sezon čakanja in zmrzovanja v bazi pod goro, ki sva jih preživela skupaj, so z vsakim spuščenim metrom postajali bolj podobni pekočemu in neželjenemu spominu, ki sem ga želel izbiti iz glave in le drveti proti sladki udaji. Z vsakim metrom niže na gori je bil občutek poraza večji in z vsakim metrom sem bil dlje od vsega, kar sem si takrat želel. Imel sem sanje, tako velike, da sem se jih bal, pa vendar sem bil na poti, da postanejo resničnost. Vse do tega trenutka sem te sanje živel, takrat so umrle in z njimi del mene.

Tako visoko na gori, skoraj osem kilometrov nad morjem sva bila takrat le midva z Johnom. Trojko nas je zapustilo skoraj deset, vendar so se vsi kmalu začeli vračati, nekateri zaradi nizkih temperatur, ki so se vrtele okrog petdeset stopinj pod ničlo, drugi zaradi odpovedi dihalnih regulatorjev, ki takemu mrazu niso kljubovali. Kmalu sem zagledal drobno lučko, v globeli pod sabo, bil je Pakistanec Ali, skoraj star prijatelj, s katerim sem pred dvemi leti skupaj stal na vrhu gore, ki ga je takrat postavila med alpinistične zvezde. Skoraj dve uri neskončno težkih korakov in tretjina utekočinjenega življenja v podhlajeni jeklenki, ki mu je štrlela iz nahrbtnika, ga je še ločilo od Johna, ki je takrat zmrzoval nad nama, nekje ob tisti ledeniški razpoki in zaspane možgane obremenjeval z vprašanjem, kako jo prečkati. Ali Sakhbara je zapusti trojko dve uri za Johnom, ker se je počutil precej močnejšega in predvideval, da ga bo ujel nekje do višine, kjer sva se z Johnom razšla. Na kratko sem mu razložil, da se vračam zaradi razpoke in da sem tam zapustil Johna. Z očmi, ki jih nisem več poznal, je strmel vame in upal, da me je razumel in : ”Ok” je bilo zadnje kar sem slišal izpod dihalne maske, ki je bila obložena z debelo plastjo svetlečega ledu. Nisem imel več moči, da bi si razlagal njegov odgovor, ki še vedno, skupaj z dihalnim šumom, moti moje sluhovode. Tu v domačem vrtu, ko gledam obrise Julijcev, ostre črte narisane z božjimi rokami, ga razumem drugače, morda bolje, morda pa je Ali celo želel, da ga ne bi razumel. Tudi on je bil na poti k zvezdam, kamor gredo le neustrašni, le tisti, ki se nikoli niso bali življenja, le tisti , ki so pripravljeni dobiti krila. Pretrgla sva navezo pogledov in oči uprla v temo, vsak v svojo smer.

Pol ure kasneje je iz teme pred mano stopil Pablo, brez čelne svetilke, lunina svetloba je bila zanj dovolj, da je polagal ozeble noge v sledi predhodnikov. ”Hi Tomas”, je izustil prav počasi: ”You are going down?”, je v španski angleščini zvenelo skoraj toplo in razločno. Pablo ni imel maske, bil je nadčloveško močan alpinist in poklicni gorski tekač, odločen, da bo K2 pozimi premagal brez dodatnega kisika. Zanj je bila borba s smrtjo v rokavicah brez pomena. Zanj je bilo življenje, brez bega pred smrtjo, brez pomena. Zanj je bila tudi smrt brez pomena, če jo ni mogel povabiti na ples. ”Yes, I am going down“, sem ponovno moral naglas priznati svoj poraz, dotaknila sva se s pestmi in demoni noči so bili spet z mano.

Ponovno tavanje in samodejno prestavljanje nog, misli med sanjami in resničnostjo, nečloveški boj s teškim spancem, ki vabi na drugo stran.
Vesel sem danes, da takrat nisem zaspal, vesel sem danes, da še vedno nimam kril, kot vsi trije, ki sem jih zadnjič videl tiste noči, skoraj osem kilometrov visoko. Lepo je danes čutiti sončne žarke na koži obraza, ki še vedno ne čuti dotikov prstov. Lepo je še vedno imeti vse prste, čeprav še ne čutim kože na obrazu. Lepo je slišati glasove svojih otrok in žene, ki jim sicer nikoli ne bom mogel razložiti vsega, kar me je gora naučila in kako lepo je, da tega , vsaj upam, nikoli ne bodo mogli razumeti.

Preden sem se ob sončnem vzhodu vrnil na trojko sem srečal še Sažida. Sin velikega Alija Sakhbare mi je potožil o slabem delovanju regulatorja in povedal, da sledi trojici.

Zavlekel sem se v šotor in poklical Noela, ki se mi je oglasil iz sosednjega šotora. Noel Hannah, v JAR živeči gorski vodnik, ki je osvojil že enajst osemtisočakov in devetkrat stal na vrhu Everesta, se je prejšnjega večera odločil da zaradi utrujenosti in prezeblih nog ostane na trojki. 21.7.2018 je bil tudi on del odprave, ki nam je omogočila, da smo stopili na vrh druge najvišje gore na svetu. Tokrat sva si dva meseca delila šotor in med nama se je spletla vez, ki naju bo najbrž držala skupaj do konca najinih dni. ”Thanks God you are back Tomas. I was woried obout you a bit, you know”, se je smeje oglasil iz svoje spalne vreče. ”Let“s go down, I have enough of this fuckin mountain”, je pomenilo kot ukaz, vendar se tisti trenutek nisem mogel niti premakniti več. Sherpa Pasang, mi je začel kuhati čaj. Bil je sicer moj sherpa, vendar se je zaradi ozeblin, ki jih je staknil prejšnjo noč, odločil ostati na trojki, tako se mi je na vzponu pridružil Timba, ki je sprva pomagal Noelu. ”Rabim vsaj uro, da pridem k sebi”, sem se tolažil v mislih. Vedel sem, da se moramo še isti dan umakniti z gore, vremensko okno se je namreč zapiralo in že v popoldanskem času naj bi vetrovi s hitrostjo vsaj trideset kilometrov na uro, kar pomeni vsaj sedemdeset stopinj pod ničlo hladilnega učinka, ponovno onemogočili bivanje na tej višini.

”Tomas, are you back? Fuck Tomas, I thought you are gone”, sem zaslišal Colina, mladega Američana. Močan in hiter kot konj, je prejšnjega dne prvi dosegel trojko in dve uri zmrzoval brez šotora, ko je čakal dve sherpi, ki naj bi prinesla šotor. Takrat je imel res razlog za preklinjanje, podhladil je telo in prsti na nogi so mu postali tuji. Bil je vajen mraza in razmere na trojki naj bi mu bile skoraj domače. Je najmlajši človek na planetu, ki je osvojil vseh sedem najvišjih vrhov in samostojno prečil Arktiko in Antarktiko, brez podpore. Antarktiko je prehodil v dvainpetdesetih dneh in pri tem postavil tudi hitrostni rekord. Kljub dosežkom, ki ga postavljajo med najvzdržvljivejše predstavnike svoje vrste, se je odločil da vzpon zaključi na trojki, celo noč namreč ni uspel ogreti stopal, prostora v šotorih je bilo za tak manevr premalo, prav tako pa smo imeli precej težav s plinskimi gorilniki, ki naj bi bili sicer testirani pri štiridesetih stopinjah pod ničlo.

Suh kašelj na drugi strani tresoče šotorske stene, me je streznil rahlega dremeža, bil je znan vsem v skupini. Tamara Lunder, italijanska alpinistična zvezda, ki je pred letom osvojila zimski Nanga Parbat, je bolehala skoraj vesčas odprave. Tudi ona se je odločila vzpon zaključiti na tretjem višinskem taboru. Plezala je brez dodatnega kisika, zato jo je mraz dotolkel še nekoliko bolj.

Slišal sem tudi glasove ostalih. Nemec Bernard se je prav tako vrnil na trojko, že sredi noči. Odpovedal naj bi mu regulat, prav tako njegovemu Sherpi. Po vrnitvi v bazo, me je poklical v svoj šotoro in in me prosil, naj mu pomagam sezuti čevlje. Najprej mi ni bilo popolnoma jasno zakaj, vendar mi je vzelo sapo, ko mi je pokazal stopala. Mrliško siva barva stopal je kazala na hude ozebline, stopalo je bilo zmrznjeno, brez čutil, v Bernardovih očeh pa se je zalesketala debela solza obžalovanja. Iz baze so ga odpeljali s helikopterjem, dva dni po sestopu. Bernard že okreva doma in le zaradi usode, ki ga nam ga ni hotela vzeti, je še vedno z nami.

Tudi Bolgar Atanas, ki mu osemtisočaki niso bili tuji, v žepu jih je imel že enajst, se je motovilil nekje zunaj in pripravljal nahrbtnik za spust. Odkrito rečeno mi ni bil najbolj pri srcu, njegov odnos do sherp je bil včasih ponižujoč in žaljiv, zato nisva veliko govorila. Prvič sva se srečala v bazi pod Kančendzengo, tokrat na trojki, pa sem ga slišal zadnjič. Na poti navzdol, nekje pod ”Črno piramido”, je napravil drobno napako in zdrsnil tisoč metrov globje. Slišal sem, da so ga našli nekje na višini ABC ja, na več koncih sicer. Naslednji dan v bazi sem nekaj trenutkov postal ob velikem stuperju, kjer smo imeli ”Pudžo” in tudi zanj zmolil eno črtico, naj tudi on dobi krila.

Grški alpinistični starosta Antonijo je bil kot vedno najglasnejši, največkrat, ko je šlo za samohvalo. V svoji karieri naj bi vodil kar nekaj nacionalnih odprav, vendar se nikoli nisem mogel znebiti občutka, da je bil človek, ki takrat ni spadal na mesto, kjer smo bili. S svojo angleščino, katere znanje ni presegalo sto različnih besed, se je tudi na tej višini glasno pogovarjal s svojim satelitskim telefonom in brez potrebe zasedal tesno odmerjen prostor v višinskih šotorih ljudem, ki so imeli resen namen poseči po vrhu.

Z nami ni bilo pomembnega človeka, velikega športnika in telesno vrhunsko pripravljenega alpinista Sergia. Njegovi alpinistični uspehi bi lahko polnili knjige, morda jih nekoč bodo, vendar sam za to ne bo vedel. Že pri prvi rotaciji, ko smo se spuščali z drugega višinskega tabora je zdrsnil proti vznožju gore in se ustavil skoraj na istem mestu kot kasneje Bolgar. Poškodbe so bile prehude, da bi padec preživel. Njegovo telo je bilo podobno zdrobljeni masi, ki smo jo karseda spoštljivo zavili v spalno vrečo in na tesno povezali z vrvjo. Pripravili smo ga za zadnjo helikoptersko vožnjo proti Scarduju. Prepričan sem, da je vso odpravo bedel nekje nad nami in skrbel, da jih med angele ni odšlo še več izmed nas.

Med prezeblo družbo v taboru so bili tisto jutro tudi sherpe, vsi skupaj precej prezebli in v upanju, da se vsi čim preje pospravimo vsaj nekoliko niže, do dvojke, kjer nam sprememba vremena ne bo več ogrožala življenj.

Skoraj se ne spomnim več, kako sem 5.2.2021 prišel do baznega tabora. Več kot dvanajst ur sem se nepretrgano spuščal po načetih in zmrznjenih vrveh, med katerimi so bile le nekatere zamenjane ob vnašem vzponu, vse ostale so čudežno vzdržale in najmanj leto kljubovale vsem vplivom okolja. Prav tako ne vem, kako sem lahko pozno zvečer , v trdni temi našel pot skozi labirint ogromnih ledenih kock , začetnega ledenika pod ABC jem. Pot sem prehodil sicer nekajkrat, vendar vedno pri dnevni svetlobi.

V bazo sem prispel malo pred polnočjo, prvi izmed nas, ki smo se vrnili nazaj v življenje. Nisem bil sposoben govoriti, vprašanja in pozdrave osebja sem le razbiral s premikajočih ustnic nasmejanih obrazov. Spominjam se, da sem poklical domov, govoril nekaj minut z Melito, z edinim angelom, ki je ostal ob meni. Zaspal sem za mizo, zjutraj pa sem se prebudil v svojem šotoru, najbrž so me tja prenesli sherpe in me zavili v spalno vrečo.

Jutro v bazi je bilo svetlo, šotorske stene so izgledale lesene, zrak je bil tokrat neslišen in občutek sem imel da sem na svetu sam. Rezek zvok kuhinjskega gorilnika me je poklical nazaj v življenje, veveričin smeh Sukre, čudežnega kuharskega dečka, pa me je vabil k sveže pečenim jajcem. Počasi sem začel premikati telo in z veseljem ugotovil, da še vedno živim in še vedno čutim vse kar vidim, tudi prste na nogi ki so štiri dni zmrzovali v višinskih čevljih.

Pri zajtrku sem bil sam, ljudi z gore še ni bilo, ali pa vsaj niso še prišli do zajtrka. V mislih sem si ustvarjal plan, kako bom počasi zapustil bazo in se podal nazaj čez ledenik, naredil prvi korak na poti proti domu, kjer že tako dolgo nisem bil, zapusti sem ga že 19. decembra prejšnje leto.

Vodja Sherpa Dawa, najmlajši človek, ki je osvojil štirinajst osemtisočakov brez kisika in njegov pomočnik Arnold Kostner, človek, ki je v svoji karieri vodil kar petinšestdeset odprav v Himalajo, sta  se mi pridružila, vsak s svojo kovinsko skodelico kave. Njun obraz ni bil tako nasmejan kot prejšnjega večera, ko sem se vrnil z gore, bil je mrk in zaskrbljen in vedel sem da ni vse tako kot bi moralo biti. Dan je minil v pričakovanju vsaj ene spodbudne novice o Snorriju, Aliju in Pablu. Vsi trije so bili izgubljeni na gori, brez stika z ostalimi in nihče ni vedel, kje bi lahko bili. Dawa je ves čas krožil po bazi in v rokah stiskal radijsko postajo, Arnold pa je izgubljal glas v velikem šotoru in nepretrgoma poiskušal vspostaviti stik s komerkoli na gori. Z gore je prišel tudi Noel, ki sem se ga iskreno razveselil, za njim pa tudi ostali, k sreči vsi, razen trojice. Dogodki tistega dne, so lahko pomenili le eno, ne bo jih več, pa če naredimo karkoli. Zaloge kisika so jim pošle že ponoči in če se v tem času niso mogli vrniti vsaj do trojke, se ne bodo vrnili nikoli. Tudi naslednjo noč sem še vedno upal, da se John pojavi v bazi ali vsaj pokliče iz enega izmed višinskih taborov, toda gora je molčala. Naslednje jutro je bilo še bolj tiho in zajtrka ni pojedel nihče. Vsi ki smo bili na gori, predvsem pa midva s Timbo, ki sva bila najviše, smo vedeli da je verjetnost za preživetje po tem času skoraj nična. Smrt je najboljši izum življenja, opominja nas, da moramo živeti, pa kljub temu jo je včasih težko sprejeti. Tudi Dawa in Arnold sta se tiho sprijaznila z usodo, da so odšli še trije, morda najboljši med nami.

Odprava o kateri bi sicer lahko napisal knjigo ali posnel film je bila z drugega zornega kota zgodovinska in ena najbolj uspešnih odprav v zgodovini Himalajizma, saj je deset sherp v prvem vremenskem oknu osvojilo vrh K2 pozimi. Gora je bila zadnja izmed osemtisočakov, katere vrh do letošnjega uspeha, še ni bil osvojen v obdobju meteorološke zime, čeprav je to poiskušalo kar nekaj nacionalnih odprav z zvezdniško in profesionalno postavo alpinistov. Tudi sam sem skupaj s Johnom Snorrijem in Sherpo Mingmo G poiskušal osvojiti vrh tudi lansko zimo, ki nam je sicer postregla s precej slabšim vremenom kot letošnja zima, predvsem pa z občutkom, da je bila odprava prekinjena namerno s strani Mingme G, ki pa je letos vrh, skupaj s skupino Sherp, osvojil.

Odpravo je označila tudi precejšnja medijska pozornost, socialni mediji pa so postregli s kupom informacij, ki so bile lažne in nezanesljive, bile so  posledica medijske aktivnosti ljudi, ki sicer v zapisu niso omenjeni, saj nikoli niso dosegli višine tretjega baznega tabora in morda bi bilo bolje da jih v odpravi nikoli ne bi bilo.

Usoda trojice zaenkrat ostaja skrivnost. Rodilo se je na desetine različnih idej o tem kaj bi se jim lahko zgodilo in kaj je razlog za njihovo izginotje. Ena izmed njih, ki jo je sicer podprl Alijev sin Sažid pravi, da fiksnih vrvi nad štirico ni bilo in da se je trojica lotila vzpona skozi Botl neck v alpskem stilu. Pri tem bi izpostavil dvom o tem, ali je Sažid sploh kdaj stopil v kontakt s trojico na gori pri zadnjem vzponu, saj je za Snorrijem zaostajal vsaj dve uri in bi ga pri temperaturah okrog petdeset stopinj pod ničlo, Snorri zelo težko počakal na višini 8000m. Sam sem bil s Snorijem na tej višini precej manj časa, pa sem se hitro približeval točki brez povratka v življenje.

Idejo podpira javna obtožba Sherp, s strani Nazir Sabira, pomebnega Pakistanca in alpinistične legende, ki pravi, da naj bi Sherpe, ki so vrh osvojile, porezali vrvi skozi Bottle neck in s tem pripomogli k smrti trojice. Osebno gospoda dobro poznam, saj je izvajal logistiko mojega prvega vzpona na K2, ko sem vrh osvojil. Je zelo spoštovan in po občutku človek, ki si ne bi izmišljeval dejstev zaradi medijske pozornosti. Pomembno je poudariti dejstvo, da so sherpe pri vzponu uporabljali stare vrvi, tako kot vsi, ki smo jim sledili in da v tem primeru ne gre za vzpon v čistem alpskem stilu.

Če sklepamo, da vrvi skozi Bottle neck ni bilo, oziroma jih niso porezali na poti navzdol, se seveda pojavi vprašanje ali so Sherpe sploh osvojili vrh. Povratek v alpskem stilu po pobočjih modrega ledu z naklonom od 60 do 70 stopinj na višini 8300 metrov se, ne le meni, ampak tudi ostali alpinistični srenji zdi nemogoč, sploh pa v tako kratkem času. Prav tako podatek, da sta dve sherpi čakali na vrhu gore, na višini 8611 metrov, pri temperaturi od -50 do - 60 stopinj, skoraj dve uri na ostale člane skupine, da so skupaj osvojili vrh, izpostavlja precej neverjetno dejstvo o vzdržljivosti človeške vrste.

Pomembno je poudariti tudi dejstvo, da je John Snorri želel naskočiti vrh v istem vremenskem oknu, kot skupina Sherp, ki naj bi kasneje vrh osvojila, vendar je direktno s strani Mingme G dobil informacijo, da Sherpe v dotičnem vremenskem oknu ne bodo šli proti vrhu, vendar le do trojke, da preverijo opremo in šotore v taboru tri. Enako informacijo je potrdila tudi Snorijeva žena Lina. Če bi Snorri naskočil vrh v istem vremenskem oknu, bi ga najbrž osvojil, ker je domnevno to uspelo tudi Sherpam in se najbrž vrnil tudi v dolino.

Skupina alpinistov, ki je poiskušala osvojiti vrh v drugem, precej krajšem vremenskem oknu in v kateri sem bil tudi sam, je imela ogromno problemov z opremo. Pokvarilo se nam je najmanj deset regulatorjev na dihalnih sistemih, kar je pomenilo da se je alpinist moral takoj obrniti nazaj v dolino, kisikove jeklenke so bile napolnjene z zelo nizkim tlakom, kuhalniki nam na višini drugega baznega tabora niso več delovali, kar je pomenilo, da nismo imeli vode za tako pomebmno hidracijo na višini. Nobenega od teh problemov skupina desetih sherp, ki naj bi vrh osvojili, ni imela, čeprav so vsi (domnevno razen Nimsa), osvojili vrh s pomočjo dodatnega kisika.

Po mojem vedenju nihče izmed sherp, ki so veliki uspeh dosegli, ni imel prižganega GPS sledilnika, kar se mi zdi skoraj neverjetno, glede na to, da so bili na poti k zgodovinskemu uspehu.

Nikoli do sedaj niso ljudje, ki so osvojili vrh objavljali svojih posnetkov z vrha tako dolgo po osvojitvi le tega.

Na posnetkih ni nikjer desetih sherp, ki naj bi vrh osvojili, čeprav naj bi posamezniki ure čakali na vrhu na preostalo skupino, dokler niso dosegli vrha.

Ledeniška razpoka, ki je ustavila naše napredovanje je bila na mestu, kjer je bila napeljana vrv daleč preširoka, da bi jo lahko kdorkoli preskočil. Možno je, da so sherpe prišli preko razpoke s pomočjo lestve, vendar to zanikajo. Če bi se razpoka v štirinajstih dneh razširila na opisano širino, bi se vrv, ki je bila napeljana preko nje, za časa pred širitvijo raztrgala, vendar je bila za časa najinega prihoda povešena. Vrv, ki je bila napeljana preko razpoke, je bila vrv, ki so jo napeljali sherpe pri svojem vzponu na vrh in ni bila ostanek prejšnjih expedicij, kar mi je osebno potrdil eden izmed sherp, ki naj bi vrh dosegli.
Najbrž se v vseh svojih domnevah motim in prepričan sem, da bom kmalu dobil odgovore na vse dvome, ki se meni in mojim kolegom soplezalcem porajajo v zadnjem času. Vsi smo zelo ponosni na to, da smo bili del zgodovinske uspešne odprave, vendar pa se nakako ne moremo znebiti motečih vprašanj, ki so morda le posledica hipoksije in neprespanih glav.

Osebno bi zelo rad prišel do spoznanja, da je trojica pred svojo smrtjo vrh osvojila in nekateri podatki, ki smo jih dobili s strani vojaških obveščevalnih služb, ki so odkrivale položaj Snorrijeve sledilne naprave in njegovega satelitskega telefona, bi lahko govorile v prid temu. Pakistanska vojska se še vedno trudi odkriti trojico oziroma njihova trupla, na pomoč so poklicali najboljše helikopterje in tudi reaktivna vojaška letala, ki lahko edina dosežejo višino okrog vrha gore. Upam, da bo Snorrijeva družina nekoč dobila željene odgovore na vprašanja, ki si jih zastavljajo, sam pa njegovim šestim otrokom in ženi Lini sporočam, da je John najbrž tam kjer si je vedno želel. Vsak trenutek življenja se je zavedal , da je čas ko nisi srečen zares izgubljen. Skupaj sva preživela nekaj najtežjih in najlepših trenutkov življenju, v ledeno mrzlem šotoru sva se včasih smejala cele noči, skupaj sva pogrešala dom in domače, skupaj sva odpirala zamrznjene konzerve in prenašala drug drugega v najtežjih trenutkih. John je bil človek, ki nikoli ni živel na strani večine, samega sebe je našel na strani drugačnih in izjemnih. Skupaj sva se naučila edino resnico o življenju: ”gre naprej”. Preživela sva uspeh in poraz in poznal sem ga tako dobro, da vem, da nosi krila. Smrt se nam prav vsem nasmiha, vendar le veliki ljudje, kot je bil John, se ji nasmehnejo nazaj.



I pour a bloody red wine into a clean glass, I stare at the green trees in my home garden and life means more to me than it used to. The sun’s rays are slowly losing power, the sun is slowly saying goodbye, just for a short night. The events in the valley mean nothing more than the daily boring rhythm, but in the world I left recently, the truth is completely different. The glass is empty, and the thoughts are increasingly similar to those who don’t want to leave my head and are still where John and I said goodbye. In a world unfit for life, getting there is heavier than landing on the moon, we spoke the last few words. “I will tray to cross it,” he said, pulling oxygen strongly from the half-empty cylinder twice in a short sentence. I knew he was too tired, he had reached the altitude of 8000 m too slowly. I had enough time to inspect at least two hundred meters of the crack before his arrival, along with Sherpa Timba, and found that the best place to cross was exactly the one I had shown him, but the gap was too wide for me to could skip. Sherpa decided that the conditions were too difficult and that he would return to the third camp. John and I were left alone, lost in an endless moment, staring across the crack at -55 degrees at full moon and observing the infamous bottle neck and the top of the mountain on the other side of the split world. Tiny ice crystals of deadly cold air gleamed together with the stars in the light beams of the headlights. Somewhere out of the darkness, the voice of past experiences reminded me that the problems are only temporary, and the glory is eternal, and yet we could not move on. We stayed on the edge of eternity, and we decided on our own. John was brave enough to choose eternity. “I can’t cross it, I am going down, good luck,” was the last thing I spoke to him that night and I was left without wings. I knew I was saying goodbye not only to John, but also to success, because success is always on the other side of fear, on the other side of infinitely deep and dark crack, so it’s not for everyone, so it wasn’t for me, so all of a sudden we were no longer a team who can work together. The long weeks of two consecutive seasons of waiting and freezing at the base under the mountain we spent together, became more and more like a burning and unwanted memory with each meter I dropped, which I wanted to get out of my head and just scurry towards the sweet surrender. With each meter lower on the mountain, the feeling of defeat was greater and with each meter I was farther than anything I wanted at the time. I had dreams so big, that I was afraid of them, and yet I was on my way to making them a reality. I lived those dreams until that moment, then they died and with them a part of me.

So high on the mountain, almost eight kilometers above sea level, it was just John and me at the time. The camp 3 left almost ten of us, but they all soon began to return, some due to low temperatures hovering around fifty degrees below zero, others due to the failure of respiratory regulators that did not withstand such cold. I soon saw a tiny light, in the depths below me, it was a Pakistani Ali Sakbara, an almost old friend with whom I had stood together two years ago on top of a mountain that then placed him among the mountaineering stars. Nearly two hours of infinitely hard steps and a third of the liquefied life in the chilled cylinder, sticking out of his backpack separated him from John, who was freezing above us at the time, somewhere along that glacial fissure and burdening his sleepy brain with the question of how to cross it.  Ali Sakbara leaves the camp 3 two hours behind John because he felt much stronger and anticipated catching him somewhere up to the height where John and I broke up. I briefly explained to him that I was coming back because of the crack and that I had left John there. With eyes, I no longer knew, he stared at me, hoping he understood me and, “Ok” was the last I heardfrom under a breathing mask lined with a thick layer of shining ice. I no longer had the strength to interpret his answer, which still, along with the breathing noise, disturbs my ear canals. Here in the home garden, when I look at the outlines of the Julians, the sharp lines drawn by God’s hands, I understand it differently, perhaps better, or perhaps Ali even wished I hadn’t understood it. He, too, was on his way to the stars, where only the fearless go, only those who have never feared life, only those who are willing to get wings. We broke the bond of gaze and fixed our eyes on the darkness, each in his own direction. Half an hour later, Pablo stepped out of the darkness in front of me, without a headlamp, the moonlight was enough for him to lay his frostbitten feet in the wake of his predecessors. “Hi Tomas,” he uttered very slowly, “You are going down?”, Sounded almost warm and distinct in Spanish English. Pablo didn’t have a mask, he was a superhumanly strong alpinist and a professional mountain runner, determined to beat K2 in the winter without extra oxygen. For him, fighting death in gloves was meaningless. For him, life, without escaping death, was without meaning. For him, death was also meaningless if he could not invite her to the dance. “Yes, I am going down,” I had to admit my defeat out loud again, we touched with our fists and the demons of the night were with me again. Wandering again and automatically shifting legs, thoughts between dreams and reality, an inhuman struggle with heavy sleep that invitedme to the other side.

I’m glad today, that I didn’t fall asleep then. I’m glad today, that I still don’t have wings, like all three I last saw that night, almost eight miles high. It’s nice to feel the sun’s rays on my facial skin today that still doesn’t feel the touch of my fingers. It’s nice to still have all my fingers, even though I can’t feel the skin on my face yet. It’s nice to hear the voices of my children and wife, to whom I’ll otherwise never be able to explain everything the mountain has taught me and how nice it is that, at least I hope, they will never be able to understand it. Before I returned to the the camp 3 at sunrise, I met Sajid. The son of the great Ali Sakbara complained to me about the malfunction of the regulator and told him to follow the trinity.

I crawled into the tent and heard Noel, who called me from the next tent. Noel Hannah, a mountain guide living in South Africa who has already conquered eleven 8000 ers and stood on the top of Everest nine times, decided last night to stay on the camp3 due to fatigue and cold legs. On July 21, 2018, he was also part of the expedition that allowed us to climb to the top of the second highest mountain in the world. This time we shared a tent for two months and a bond created between us, will probably keep us together for the rest of our days. ”Thanks God you are back Thomas. I was woried obout you a bit, you know, ”he laughed from his sleeping bag. “We have to go down, I have enough of this fuckin mountain ”, meant as a command, but at that moment I couldn’t even move anymore.

Sherpa Pasang, started making me tea. He was my sherpa, but because of the frostbite he got the night before, he decided to stay on the camp 3, so Timba joined me on the climb, initially helping Noel. “I need at least an hour rest” , I consoled myself in my mind. I knew that we had to withdraw from the mountain the same day, because the weather window was closing and already in the afternoon the winds at a speed of at least thirty kilometers per hour, which means at least seventy degrees below zero cooling effect, would again make it impossible to stay on this height. ”Thomas, are you back? Fuck Thomas, I thought you were gone, ”sad Colin, a young American. Strong and fast as a horse, he was the first to reach the camp 3 day before and froze for two hours without a tent as he waited for two sherpas to bring the tent. At the time, he really had a reason to curse, he hypothermized his body and the toes became foreign to him. He was used to the cold and the situation we faced was supposed to be almost home to him. He is the youngest man on the planet who conquered all seven highest peaks and crossed the Arctic and Antarctic independently, without support. He crossed Antarctica in fifty-two days, setting a speed record as well. Despite the achievements that place him among the most resilient representatives of our kind, he decided to finish the climb on camp 3, because he could not warm his feet all night. There was not enough space in the tents for such a maneuver, and we had a lot of problems with gas burners, which are  supposed to be tested at forty degrees below zero.

A dry cough on the other side of the shaking tent wall, sobering me up with a slight nap, was familiar to everyone in the group. Tamara Lunder, the Italian mountaineering star who won winter Nanga Parbat, has been ill for most of the expedition. She, too, decided to complete the ascent at the third altitude camp. She was climbing without extra oxygen, so the cold hit her a little harder. I also heard the voices of others.

German Bernard also returned to the camp three in the middle of the night. He gave up due to regulator problems, as well as his Sherpa. After returning to the base, he called me to his tent and and asked me to help him take off his shoes. It wasn’t entirely clear to me at first why, but it took my breath away when he showed me his feet. The deathly gray colorindicated severe frostbite, his foot was frozen, numb, and a thick tear of regret glistened in Bernard's eyes. He was taken from the base by helicopter, two days after the descent. Bernard is already recovering at home and only because of the fate he is still with us.
Even the Bulgarian Atanas, who was no stranger to the eight-thousanders, who already had eleven in his pocket, was hanging out somewhere and preparing a backpack for the descent. Frankly, he wasn’t closest to my heart, his attitude towards sherpas was sometimes offensive, so we didn’t talk much. We first met at the base under Kanchenjunga in 2019, that time on camp 3,I heard him for the last time. On the way down, somewhere below the “Black Pyramid,” he made a small mistake and slipped a kilometer deeper. I heard they found it somewhere at the height of the ABC , at several ends. The next day at the base, I stood for a few moments at the big stupor, where we had a “Puja” and also prayed a line for him to get wings, too.

Greek mountaineering elder Antonio was, as always, the loudest, most often when it came to self-praise. He was supposed to lead quite a few national expeditions in his career, but I could never get rid of the feeling that he was a man who didn’t belong in the place we were at the time.

There was one very important man missing, a great athlete and physically fit alpinist Sergio. His mountaineering successes could fill books, they may one day, but he himself will not know about it. Already on the first rotation, as we were descending from the second altitude camp, it slid towards the foot of the mountain and stopped at almost the same place as the later Bulgarian. The injuries were too severe for him to survive the fall. His body was like a crushed mass, which we wrapped as respectfully as possible in a sleeping bag and tied tightly with a rope. We prepared him for the last helicopter ride to Scardu. I’m sure he watched the whole expedition somewhere above us and made sure no more of us went among the angels. In the cold company in the camp that morning, there were also sherpas, hoping that we would all get at least a little lower as soon as possible, to the deuce, where the change of weather will no longer endanger our lives.

I can hardly remember how I got to base camp on 5.2.2021. For more than twelve hours I descended continuously on the torn and frozen ropes, among which only some were replaced on the ascent, all the others miraculously endured and defied all the influences of the environment for at least a year. I also don’t know how late in the evening, in solid darkness, I was able to find my way through a maze of huge ice cubes on then glacier under the ABC. I walked the path a few times, but always in daylight. I arrived at the base camp just before midnight, the first of us to come back to life. I was unable to speak, I could only make out the questions and greetings of the staff from the moving lips of the smiling faces. I remember calling home, talking for a few minutes to Melita, the only angel left by my side. I fell asleep at the table, and in the morning I woke up in my tent, probably being carried there by sherpas and wrapped in a sleeping bag.

The morning at the base was bright, the tent walls looked wooden, the air was inaudible this time and I had the feeling that I was alone in the world. The sharp sound of the kitchen burner called me back to life, and the squirrel laughter of Sukra, the miracle cooking boy, invited me to freshly baked eggs. I slowly began to move my body and was happy to find that I was still alive and still feeling everything I could see, even the toes that had been freezing in high-altitude shoes for four days. I was alone at breakfast, there were no people from the mountain yet, or at least they hadn’t gotten to breakfast yet. In my mind, I was making a plan of how I would slowly leave the base and head back across the glacier, taking the first step on the way home, where I hadn’t been in so long. I had already left it on December 19th last year. Leader Sherpa Dawa, the youngest man to win fourteen eight-thousanders without oxygen, and his assistant Arnold Kostner, a man who had led as many as sixty-five expeditions to the Himalayas in his career, joined me, each with his own metal cup of coffee. Their face was not as smiling as the night before when I came back from the mountain, it was gloomy and worried and I knew everything was not as it should be. The day passed in anticipation of at least one encouraging news about Snorri, Ali and Pablo. All three were lost on the mountain, with no contact with the others and no one knew where they might be. Dawa was circling the base all the time, clutching the radio station in his hands, and Arnold was losing his voice in the big tent, constantly trying to make contact with anyone on the mountain.

Noel also came from the mountain, which I sincerely cheered on, followed by the others, fortunately all but three. The events of that day could only mean one thing, there will be no more coming down, even if we do anything. Oxygen supplies had already been exausted at night, and if they could not return at least to the camp 3, during that time, they would never return. Even the next night, I still hoped John would show up at the base or at least call from one of the altitude camps, but the mountain was silent.

The next morning was even quieter and no one ate breakfast. All of us who were on the mountain,especially Timba and I, who were the highest, knew that the probability of survival after this time was almost nil. Death is the best invention of life, it reminds us that we must live, and yet it is sometimes difficult to accept. Even Dawa and Arnold quietly came to terms with the fate of leaving three more, perhaps the best among us.

The expedition, about which I could otherwise have written a book or made a film, was, from another point of view, historic and one of the most successful expeditions in the history of the Himalayas, as ten sherpas in the first weather window conquered the summit of K2 in winter. The mountain was the last of the 8,000-meter peaks, the peak of which, until this year's success, had not yet been conquered during the meteorological winter, although several national expeditions with a stellar and professional mountaineers tried to do so. Together with John Snorri and Sherpa Mingma G, I also tried to conquer the summit last winter, which otherwise served us with much worse weather like this winter, and above all with the feeling that the expedition was interrupted deliberately by Mingma G, who, however, won the summit this year, along with the Sherp group. The expedition was also marked by considerable media attention, and social media served up a pile of information that was false and unreliable, the result of media activity by people wanted to promote themselfs.
The fate of the trio remains a mystery for now. Dozens of different ideas were born about what could happen to them and what was the reason for their disappearance. One of them, who was otherwise supported by Ali's son Sajid, says that there were no fixed ropes above the camp four and that the three of them set out to climb through the Botl neck in alpine style. In doing so, I would question whether Sajid ever came into contact with the trio on the mountain on the last ascent, as he was at least two hours behind Snorri and at temperatures around fifty degrees below zero, Snorri would find it very difficult to wait at 8000m . I myself, was with Snorri at this altitude for much less time, and I was quickly approaching a point of no return to life.

The idea is supported by the public accusation of Sherpas, by Nazir Sabir, an important Pakistani and mountaineering legend, who says that the Sherpas who conquered the summit  cut the ropes through the Bottle neck and thus contributed to the death of the trio. Personally, I know the gentleman well, as he was carrying out the logistics of my first ascent to K2 when I conquered the summit. He is a highly respected and sensible man who would not invent facts for the sake of media attention. It is important to point out the fact, that the sherpas used old ropes in the ascent, just like everyone we followed, and that in this case it is not a purely alpine-style ascent.

If we conclude that there were no ropes through the Bottle neck, and that they were not cut on the way down, the question naturally arises as to whether the Sherpas conquered the summit at all. Returning in alpine style along the slopes of blue ice with a slope of 60 to 70 degrees at an altitude of 8300 meters, seems not only to me, but also to the rest of the mountaineering community, especially in such a short time, impossible.

Also, the fact, that two sherpas waited at the top of the mountain, at an altitude of 8611 meters, at a temperature of -50 to -60 degrees, for almost two hours on the other members of the group to conquer the summit together, highlights the rather amazing fact of human endurance .

It is also important to point out that John Snorri wanted to jump to the top in the same weather window as the Sherp group, but received information directly from Mingma G that Sherpas would not go to the top in that weather window, but only up to camp 3 to check the equipment and tents. The same information was also confirmed by Snorri's wife Lina. If Snorri had jumped the summit in the same weather window, he would probably have conquered it, as Sherpas supposedly managed to do the same, and probably returned to the valley as well.

A group of climbers trying to conquer the summit in another, much shorter weather window and in which I was also, had a huge amount of equipment problems. At least five regulators on our respiratory systems broke down, which meant that the climber had to turn back to the valley immediately, the oxygen cylinders were filled with very low pressure, our cookers at the height of the second base camp no longer worked, which meant that we did not have water for such important hydration at altitude. None of these problems were experienced by the group of ten sherpas who were supposed to conquer the summit, although all (presumably except Nims) conquered the summit with the help of extra oxygen.

To the best of my knowledge, none of the sherpas who achieved great success had a GPS tracker on, which I find almost unbelievable, given that they were on their way to historic success.

Never before have people, who have won a summit, posted their shots from the summit so long after winning it.

There are nowhere in the footage the ten sherpas who are supposed to win the summit, although individuals are said to have waited for hours at the summit for the rest of the group until they reached the summit.

The glacial crack that stopped our advance was at a point where the rope was, too far wide for anyone to jump over. It is possible that the sherpas came over the crack with the help of a ladder, but they deny this. If the crack had expanded to the described width in fourteen days, the rope that had been routed over, would have been torn, but it had been hung for the time of our arrival. The rope that was routed over the crack was the rope that the sherpas ran on their ascent to the top and was not a remnant of previous expeditions, which was personally confirmed to me by one of the sherpas who were supposed to reach the summit.

I am probably wrong in all my assumptions and I am sure that I will soon get answers to all the doubts that have arisen for me and my fellow climbers lately.
We are all very proud to have been part of a historically successful expedition, but somehow we can’t get rid of the distracting issues that may just be the result of hypoxia and sleepless heads.

Personally, I would very much like to come to the realization that the trio conquered the summit before their deaths, and some of the information we received from military intelligence detecting the position of Snorri’s tracking device and his satellite phone, could speak in favor of that. The Pakistani army is still trying to find the trio or their bodies, they have called for the best helicopters and also jet military planes, which are the only ones that can reach the height around the top of the mountain. I hope Snorri’s family will one day get the answersthey are asking, and I am telling his six children and wife Lina that John is probably where he always wanted to be. Every moment of life he was aware that the time, when you are not happy, is really lost. We spent some of the hardest and most beautiful moments of our lives together, we sometimes laughed all night in an ice-cold tent, we missed home, we opened frozen cans together and carried each other in the hardest moments. John was a man who never lived on the side of the majority, he found himself on the side of the different and exceptional. Together we learned the only truth about life: "going forward". We survived success and defeat and I knew him so well that I know he wears wings. ”Death smiles to us all, but only great people, like John, smile back at her. ”





Že precej odprav je poiskušalo osvojiti K2 pozimi. Alpinistična srenja loči koledarsko zimo, ki traja do 21. marca in meteorološko zimo, ki se konča konec februarja. Vrh še vedno ostaja nedotaknjen v takšnem ali drugačnem zimskem obdobju in še vedno čaka na odpravo, ki bo imela dovolj sreče in poguma da ji uspe zgrabiti enega večjih alpinističnih dosežkov modernega časa.

Od doma sem odšel 3.1.2020 in naslednji dan prišel v Islamabad. Letalska povezava s Scardujem, prestolnico Gilgit-Baltistana, kjer čaka tudi K2, je pozimi slaba in le občasna, tako da smo se z letalom odpravili proti Gigitu, ki ima redne povezave od tam pa s slabimi avtom do Scarduja po zimski Karakorumski avtocesti. Vožnja je zaradi sneženja, cestnih del, predvsem pa zaradi zlizanih letnih gum in okvar na avtomobilu trajala 16 ur, čeprav smo premagali le 180 km dolgo pot. Vmes smo zamenjali tudi avto , ki je bil prav tako brez gretja in na pol odprt kar pri 20 tih stopinjah pod ničlo ni prijetno.

V Scarduju smo pet dni čakali vodjo Mingmo G in alpinista Gao Lija, ki naj bi zamudila zaradi vize, ki do časa ni bila pripravljena. Vožnja do Ascoleja je bila zimskemu času in že opisane problematike prevoznih sredstev “zanimiva”, za evropske razmere pa smrtno nevarna. V Ascoleju, zadnji vasici pred Baltorom smo ponovno čakali predolgo, razlog naj bi bili pakistanski nosači, čeprav som bili že nekaj dni v zamudi.

Do baze smo hodili devet dni, gazili mestoma tudi več kot meter snega, temperature pa so bile ves čas globoko pod lediščem in prispeli na cilj 22.1.2020. Bazni tabor smo postavili zelo nizko, kar šest kilometrov stran od vznožja gore, kar je celo niže od področja, kjer se postavljajo letni bazni tabori, kljub nasprotovanju s strani Johna Snorrija, ki je bil sicer glavni pobudnik zimskega vzpona.

Po dnevu počitka smo začeli z vzponom. Prva rotacijo smo zaključili nekoliko na ABC jem, ki leži tik ob vznožju Abruzzijeve smeri, ki je bila tudi naša smer. Druga rotacija se je končala na C1 (prvi višinski tabor, 6000m), do kamor smo ob tem tudi uspeli napeljati vrvi. Mingma G in Gao Li sta takrat povsem brez napovedi in brez kakršnegakoli obvestila drugim udeležencem, na C1 tudi predspala in se vrnila naslednji dan z “slabimi” izkušnjami. Mingma G je napovedal da se najbrž na goro ne vrne več, češ ,da je premraz in da se boji tudi za svoje tri Sherpe, ki naj bi bili med najbolj izkušenimi na svetu. Vsi imajo “pod streho” vsaj nekaj vzponov na Everest, zimski Lhotse, Anapurno, Kanchenjungo…

Tretja rotacija se je za Sherpe končala nekoliko kad C1 in po prespani noči  na C1, prav tako z argumentom o prehudem mrazu. S Snorrijem sva delo na gori nadaljevala sama, napeljala vrvi skoraj do C2, slabih 6700m in prespala na gori dve zaporedni noči brez problemov, ki naj bi bili večji od pričakovanih.
Mingma G je dva dni po tretji rotaciji naročil lastno evakuacijo zaradi domnevno slabega lastnega počutja in skrbi Gao Lija zaradi domačega Korona virusa, čeprav je bilo jasno da se Gao domov na Kitajsko zaradi karantene ne bo mogel takoj vrniti, z domačimi pa je bil lahko stalno v kontaktu preko satelitskega telefona. Internetne povezave, naj nam zaradi okvare Thuraya satelitskega sprejemnika, ni bilo moč vzspostaviti. Evakuacijo naj bi Mingma G plačal sam, nam to tudi zatrdil, saj Nepalci nimajo možnosti zavarovanja za reševanje zaradi prepogostih potegavščin in zlorab zavarovalnic v preteklosti. Za evakuacijo skrbita vedna dva helikopterja, kar pomeni šest prostih sedežev, cena je ne glede na zasedenost helikopterjev enaka. Tako smo imeli možnost transporta tudi drugi člani odprave. Odprava je bila teoretično končana saj so se brez vodje in enega člana odprave možnosti za uspeh precej zmanjšale. Če ne bi izkoristili te možnoasti prevoza, nas je v vsakem primeru čakala ponovna pot čez boltoro, brez osvojenega vrha in s tem dodatna nesmiselna izguba časa.

Kljub dejstvom je bil Snorri še vedno odločen ostati na gori, tako da v trenutku klicane evakuacije, tudi sam še nisem vedel, kako se bom odločil. Snorri je isto jutro, ko naj bi del odprave odletel v dolino, zaprosil tri preostale šerpe, naj začnejo z oskrbo C1 in morda C2 s kisikom in dodatnimi šotori. Podali so se na pot, vendar so že po dveh urah sporočili, da se je eden od Sherp poškodoval in da se vsi trije vračajo v bazo. Poškodovanec je sam prehodil šest kilometrov težkega terena, kar govori o “teži” poškodbe, vendar smo se kljub temu odločili da se bo vrnil v dolino s helikopterjem, ki je bil sicer že klican in napovedan popoldan istega dne. Nogo smo mu imobilizirali. Mingma G je sicer že sredi dneva evakuacijo preklical, češ da je predraga, sam pa sem ga postavil pred dejstvo in sicer:” če sherpa lahko hodi bo ostal tukaj in odprava se nadaljuje, če ne more hoditi potrebuje helikopter, ker namreč tudi Baltora v zimskih razmerah na poti nazaj, ne bo mogel prehoditi.” Helikopter je po preklicu preklica le prišel in vsi, vključno s Snorrijem, smo se tega dne vrnili z gore, saj so bile tudi teoretične možnosti za uspeh, pri tako okrnjeni ekipi, močno zmanjšane, oziroma nemogoče.

Nihče od nujnih evakuirancev (Mingma G in Sherpa) nista potrebovala medicinske oskrbe v Pakistanu, kjlub temu, da to oskrbo zavarovalnice Nepalcem krijejo. Morda nekoč dobimo podatke o tem kako zelo bolan je bil Mingma G in kako zelo je bila noga Sherpe poškodovana (Sherpa namreč ni šepal, ko ga nismo opazovali).

Opisani dogodki namreč postavijo sum, da je bila odprava pekinjena namerno, ne vemo zakaj. Sum podprira tudi neizpodbitno dejstvo, da so vizumi Sherpam pretekli konec februarja, torej bi morali glede na opisane pogoje na Baltoru in pogoje na Karakorumski cesti, bazo zapustiti že vsaj deset dni pred tem, torej v času, ko bi se obdobje za vzpon na vrh, šele pričelo.

Sam se izrazu “komercialna odprava” sicer izogibam, ker do sedaj še nisem dobil razlage zakaj bi bila neka odprava kalsične in druga komercialna, kljub temu da se vse odprave poslužujejo istih lokalnih nosačev in sherp, preko istih lokalnih agencij in vojaškega osebja. Ob tej odpravi pa se ne morem znebiti občutka, da je ta odprava res služila le komercialnim ciljem nekaterih ljudi. Upam da bova s Snorrijem nekoč dobila zadovoljivo razlago, ki bo logično podprla dogodke na gori, kajti izgovori o prehudem mrazu enostavno ne bodo dovolj, saj smo bili tam ljudje, ki smo bili na vremenske pogoje, ki so bili na tej odpravi boljši od pričakovanih, pripravljeni. Vsi od članov odprave smo najmanj enkrat že stali na K2, vsi imamo za sabo vsaj nekaj osemtisočako, kar je zadosten podatek ki podpira dejstvo o naši pripravljenosti. Vremenski pogoji so bili letos presenetljivo dobri, vetrovi v bazi nikoli niso presegli 20 km/h, na gori pa vsaj na višini , ki smo jo dosegli, nikoli 40 km/h . Cena odprave je bila previsoka, da bi se zadovljila z dosedanjo razlago Mingme G, ki temelji na smešnih “naključjih”, ki se na tako resni odpravi nikoli ne bi smela zgoditi.




There have been many expeditions trying to conquer K2 in the winter. Mountain climbing separates the calendar winter, which lasts until March 21, and the meteorological winter, which ends in late February. The summit still remains intact during one winter or another, and is still awaiting an expedition that will be fortunate enough and courageous enough to grab one of the great mountaineering achievements of modern times.

I left home on 3.1.2020 and arrived in Islamabad the next day. The air connection to Scardu, the capital of Gilgit-Baltistan, where K2 is waiting, is poor in the winter and only occasional, so we departed by plane to Gigit, which has regular connections and from there to Scardu via the winter Karakorum Highway. The driving took 16 hours because of snow, road works, and especially because of slippery tires and car breakdowns, although we only managed a 180 km long route. In the meantime, we also replaced a car that was also without heat and half open at 20 degrees below zero. We got the replacement car only due ingenuity of our guide Serbaz , who made a deal with a local driver of 50 years old Toyota pick up.

In Scardu, we waited five days for Mingmo G the leader and mountaineer Gao Li ,to be late for a visa that was not ready at the time. Driving to Ascole was "interesting" in the winter due  to the already described transport problems, and also life-threatening for the European standards. We waited too long in Ascole, the last village before Baltoro, for the, even though we were already delayed for several days.

We walked to the base camp for nine days, trailing more than a meter of snow in places and the temperatures were deep below freezing all the time and reached our destination on 22.1.2020. The base camp was set very low, six kilometres away from the foot of the mountain, which is even lower than the area where the annual base camps are set up, despite opposition from John Snorri and me, who was otherwise the initiator of the winter climb.

After a day of rest, we began our ascent. We finished the first rotation a bit on ABC, which lies just at the foot of Abruzzi's direction, which was also our direction. The second rotation ended at C1 (first altitude camp, 6000m), to which we also managed to set the ropes. Mingma G and Gao Li completely unannounced and without any notice to the other participants, decided to slep on C1 and returned the next day with “bad” experiences. Mingma G has announced that he is probably no longer returning to the mountain, claiming on to low temperatures and that he is also afraid for his three Sherpas, who are among the most experienced in the world. They all have “under the roof” at least some climbs on Everest, winter Lhotse, Anapurna, Kanchenjungo…

The third rotation ended a bit above C1 and after a sleepless night on C1for sherpas, also claiming on to hard conditions. Snorri and I continued our work on the mountain by ourselves, roping almost to C2, and slept on the mountain for two consecutive nights without any problems, to be larger than expected.
Two days after the third rotation, Mingma G ordered his own evacuation due to his bad health and  due to Gao Li's  concern over the domestic Korona virus, although it was clear that Gao would not be able to return home immediately to China due to border quarantine. He was also in contact with his home via satellite telephone. We were unable to establish an Internet connection due to a Thuraya satellite receiver failure. The evacuation was supposed to be paid by Mingma G himself, as confirmed by us, since Nepalis have no insurance option to deal with because of too many pranks and misuse of insurance companies in the past. Evacuation is always provided by two helicopters, which means six seats available, the price is the same regardless of the occupancy of the helicopters. So we had the opportunity to transport other members of the expedition. The expedition  was theoretically complete, since without the leader and one member the chances of success were greatly reduced. If we did not take advantage of this possibility of transportation, we were in any case waiting for another journey across the Boltoro, without a conquered summit, and thus an extra pointless waste of time. Two days before evacuation John Snorri , as the initiator and also the theoretical leader of the expedition, was trying to convince Serbaz, Passang Namke, Tamting and Phur Galjen to stay on the mountain and proceed with the expedition. At that time he also discovered the fact, that we do not have enough food for planed expedition. People responsible for food supplies only order one month amount, following Mingma G orders, despite the logical fact, that the Expedition should be at least two month long. The end of meteorological winter is 21. of february and we have been planning our arrival to base camp approximately on 16.2.2020.

Despite the facts, Snorri was still determined to stay on the mountain, so at the time of the evacuation call, I myself, did not know how to make the decision. Snorri asked the three remaining sherpas to start supplying C1 and possibly C2 with oxygen and additional tents the same morning as part of the expedition was to fly to the valley. They set off on the trail, but after two hours, it was reported that one of Sherpas was injured and all three were returning to base. The injured man walked six kilometres of difficult terrain alone, which indicates the “gravity” of the injury, but we nevertheless decided to return to the valley with a helicopter, which had already been called and announced the afternoon of the same day. We immobilisedSherpas leg. Mingma G canceled the evacuation in the middle of the day, saying it was too expensive, but than I spoke to Mingma G: "If the sherpa can walk, he will stay here and the expedition continues. If he cannot walk, he needs a helicopter because winter conditions on the way back, he will not be able to pass. " The helicopter came after the cancellation of the cancellation and everyone, including Snorri, went to Scardu.

None of the emergency evacuees (Mingma G and Sherpa) needed medical care in Pakistan. The medical insurance cover the expenses of the treatment  to Nepalese. Maybe one day we get information about how bad Mingma G medical conditionswas and how badly Sherpa's leg was injured (Sherpa didn't limp when we weren't watching him). We both think that we need the clear explanation about the reasons for that kind of behaviour of crucial members, while the costs for both oh us were 88.600,00 USD, transport to Islamabad not included.

The events described here, raise suspicion that the expedition was baked on purpose, we do not know why. The suspicion is also supported by the fact that the Sherpas visas expired at the end of February, so, given the conditions described on Baltaro and the conditions on Karakorum Road, the base camp should have left at least ten days before (15 day transport is usually expected), at a time when the peak period would just started.
I myself avoid the term “commercial expedition”, because I have not yet received an explanation as to why some expedition would be cliche and other commercial, despite the fact that all expeditions use the same local carriers and sherpas through the same local agencies and military personnel. With this expedition, however, I cannot get rid of the feeling, that really only served the commercial goals of some people. I hope that Snorri and I will someday get a satisfactory explanation that will logically support the events on the mountain, because the excuses about the cold will simply not be enough, since the weather conditions on the mountain were better than expected. We've all stood at K2 at least once, and we all have climbed at least a few eight thousand meter peaks, which is sufficient information to support the fact that we were ready. The weather conditions were surprisingly good this year, the winds at the base never exceeding 20 km / h, and on the mountain at least at the altitude we reached, never 40 km / h. The cost of the expedition was too high to satisfy Mingma G's interpretation so far, based on ridiculous "coincidences" that should never have taken place on such a serious expedition.




Članek z naslovom Komercialna odprava na K2 pustila grenak priokus, objavljen na portalu delo.si, si lahko preberete na naslovu https://www.delo.si/magazin/svet-so-ljudje/komercialna-odprava-na-k2-pustila-grenak-priokus-279237.html



Morda bo zapis spominov in doživetij s tretjega najvišjega vrha na svetu nekoliko drugačen od prejšnjih dveh. Ne bo poln problemov, s katerimi sem se spopadal na veliki višini ob slabem veremenu, mrazu, lakoti, samoti… Dogodki na zadnjem osemtisočaku, ki mi je odprl svoja vrata, so bili zelo podobni kot na prešnjih dveh, zato bi bila samo zgodba o vzponu in spustu dolgočasna.

Po nepričakovanem naklučju sem se na Kanče znašel v pretežno ženski ekipi, ki je bila v celoti zelo uspešna. Na vrh sem imel čast priti skupaj s prvo Mehičanko, Japonko, Čehinjo in Švicarko na tej gori. Profesionalne ali polprofesionalne alpinistke, ki jim lahko pripišem vrhunsko telesno in psihično pripravljenost, izkušenost in poštenost do soplezalcev. Omenjene nimajo otrok in družin, razen ene, ki sta jo doma čakala dva osnovnošolca. To je bil njen prvi poiskus na gori, v času ko to pišem pa je že namenjena na K2, ki jo je spodnesel že dvakrat. Ko sem poslušal njeno življensko zgodbo o poklicnem in športnem  uspehu, sem jo na podlagi zakoreninjenih arhaičnih pogledov sam pri sebi označil za nenormalno, skoraj noro, saj je svoje otroke tako rekoč zapustila doma, v oskrbo možu in svoji sestri, sama pa stalno potuje po svetu in hodi po vrhovih Himalaje (bila je tudi prva dama iz svoje države, ki je osvojila Everest s severne strani). Ko sem dolge ure strmel v strop šotora, ki je drgetal zaradi neusmiljenega vetra sem spoznal , da imam sam podobno slab odnos do svoje družine in kar je najslabše, sem do takrat menil , da je moški in oče do takih dejanj bolj upravičen kot ženska oziroma mama.

Treking po deževnih gozdovih vzhodnega Nepala, ko smo vsi lahko le upali, da bo prenehalo deževati, je bilo megleno in mokro doživetje brez primere. Ko sem si s cigaretnimi ogorki odstranjeval pijavke in se zavijal v vlažno spalno vrečo, me je počasi začelo najedati domotožje. Občutek, ki sem ga tako dobro poznal, se kot večer s svojo samoto zahrbtno priplazi in nevarno razjeda upanje na cilj odprave. V trenutkih nemoči se sebično najprej obrnem na svojo ženo, ki vedno ve kako se problemu streže. Tople besede, ki so me v pragozdovih pod goro lahko dosegle le preko satelita, so kot topel čaj pogrele osamljeno dušo in vrnile upanje na uspeh. Nikoli nisem pomislil, da bi tudi ona doma potrebovala podobne besede. Sicer jo ne zebe, ni mokra ima streho nad glavo in hladilnik poln hrane, vendar ni hujšega kot samota, pogrešati nekoga daleč stran. Komu je torej težje, meni ali njej? Na odpravi skrbim samo zase in svoje preživetje, ona skrbi še za otroke in , kar je najteže, skrbi, da otrok ne bi skrbelo. Bi se bil sam sposoben postaviti v njeno kožo?  Bolj ko iščem odgovor na to vprašanje, bolj sem prepričen, da ne. Bi lahko krotil svoje ljubosumje, ko bi spremljal njene posnetke v družbi postavnih kolegov alpinistov z drugega konca sveta? Najbrš še teže.

Bazni tabor na Kanče je 5500 m.n.m.  in je tako najvišji bazni tabor na svetu. Osamljen otok rumenih šotorov obdan s prekrasnimi hribi kot  sta Janu in Jalunkang je tokrat gostil približno dvajset osebnih šotorov ločen tuš in sanitarije, ter dve kuhinji. Ekipa Seven Summits, ki sem se ji pridružil tokrat, je štela sedem članov in prav toliko šerp. Šef Dawa, najmlajši človek, ki je brez kisika preplezal vseh štirinajst osemtisočakov in je še vedno “predmet” raziskav višinske bolezni, se je pridružil nekoliko kasneje, ko je šlo “zares”. V bazi so bili tudi člani prve nacionalne Indijske odprave na Kanče, prepričani, da je gora sveta in da ženske ne sodijo v bazo. Zanimivi prepiri med šefi skupin so pripeljali tako daleč, da so predlagali celo odvzem dovoljenj naši skupini. Na koncu so jim morali celo bogovi poslati sporočilo in kot se spodobi za bogove , jasno in kruto. Pod vrhom sta umrla dva Indijca, višinska bolezen jima je zameglila um, kisik pa je prišel prepozno. Tudi precej drugih je dobilo resne ozebline in nepopravljive posledice. Z našo ekipo so bili prizanesljivi, prav vsem so dovolili na vrh, tudi meni, morda zato, ker spoznal, da je korajža in nesebičnost res ženskega spola in da je le ena tista, ki se jo splača imeti rad, ki se stalno sprašuje  kako mi gre in ki me bo vedno pričakala na letališču, ne glede na uspeh in moje sebično vedenje. Ima lastnosti, ki jih sam nimam in se jih na žalost niti ne trudim pridobiti. Je vedno z mano , čeprav mi ne sledi v globokem snegu, vedno čuti in razume moje trpljenje , čeprav ji ne zmzrzujejo prsti. Skrbi ,da nepogrešljivi Garmin kaže pravo pot, ji stalno sledi, ve kje sem, v megli, mraku, noči, slabem vremenu, čaka na moja sporočila obupa in nanje odgovarja premišljeno, brez tresočih znakov strahu. Zna napovedati vreme, opozarja na hude vetrove, ki lahko tako hitro toplo sapo spremenijo v ledeno smrt. Zdravi bolezni, ki jih ni mogoče dobiti nikjer drugje, me rešuje pred pljučnimi in možganskimi edemi, brez klinične slike, brez aparatov, na daleč, s skromnimi sms sporočili. Ko me egoizem žene više in dlje skrbi za dom in posel. Hčeri sta varni pred zaskrbljujočimi in žalostnimi vestmi z gore, vesta le za lepe in sončne novice, ostalo obdrži zase, pogoltne, čeprav je grenko, boli in peče. Prenaša nestrpne znance, ki jih zanima kako nam gre tam daleč, njihovo radovednost poteši s premišljenimi  odgovori, ki ne obljubljajo ničesar izdajo le tisto kar je potrebno, da sreča nesebično ostane tam kjer mora biti, predvsem z mano. Sama jo namreč ne potrebuje, ker ve kaj počne, ker ima glavo stalno na pravem mestu in nikoli ne pusti, da bi jo zanesla čustva, niti strah in žalost, ki prideta, ko so noči mrzle in dolge in dnevi dolgočasni brez majhnih nepomembnih prepirov, brez petminutne kave zjutraj pred službo, brez utrujenega “Oj” ob koncu delovnega dne, brez tople roke v njeni ko zaspi dan. Sebi in hčeram odreka dobrine, ker so odprave drage, brez zagotovil o vrnitvi in uspehu,  ker se sam ne znam odreči, ker smo alpinisti najbolj sebični ljudje, ker sta vedno pomebna le vrh in uspeh, ne glede na posledice, zdravstvene, finančne, čustvene…Ker živimo v transu, ker sanjamo da je življenje le pot na vrh, tudi če se tam konča. Ker živimo le zase in le občasno za svojo družino. Ker si v svoja zamrznjena srca ne dovolimo spustiti toplino, ki jo nudi le družina in predvsem tista ki jo vodi, moja žena. Ženska, ki pogumu daje ime, brez katere najbrž mojih odprav ne bi bilo. Ženska, ki opravlja najtežji poklic na tem planetu, ki nima plačila, le zahvalo. Zato enkrat za vedno, vsi moji vrhovi so njeni, brez dvoma, brez zavisti, brez laži, brez pretiravanja.

Na spodnji povezavi si lahko preberete tudi članek o mojih podvigih:
https://www.delo.si/novice/slovenija/osvojitev-everesta-je-bila-zame-nekaksna-odresitev-190403.html





Podobe iz ameriških reklam za sončne kreme in ”Pirati s Karibov” so nam dali idejo, da se odpravimo v konec sveta, med obema Amerikama, kamor je pred približno pol tisočletja nasedla Kolumbova Santa Maria in korenito spremenila podobo sveta, kakršnega poznamo še danes. Svilene ceste in države bližnjega vzhoda ter Jugovzhodne Azije je počasi prekril prah, kasneje pa so pastale uradno strelišče za preizkušanje Ameriškega in Ruskega arzenala. Evropa je postala stičišče vzhoda in zahoda, nekoč razviti Mediteran turistična destnacija za njene petičneže, države Srednje Amerike z bližnjimi piratskimi otočki pa obljubljena dežela za Ameriške upokojence in bogataše, ki nekako pozabljajo da so potomci ljudi, ki so zapustili , v tistih časih zaostalo Evropo, kot begunci, kriminalci, prinesli s seboj bolezni, ki so zdestkale primarne populacije rajskih dežel in pobili skoraj vso pisano paleto živastva. Odločili smo se, da izognemo preobljudenim delom sveta, ki so jih okupirali Američani (Bermuda, Barbados, Dominikana, Bahami, Kuba, Karibi…) in deželam, ki zalagajo prej omenjene dežele z belim zlatom (Kolumbija, Panama…) in se odpravili na Kostariko in Trinidad ter Tobago, ki sta bila nekoč v preteklosti del Južne Amerike oziroma Venezuele.

Kostarika je mirna dežela, 50 % njenega ozemlja predstavljajo nacionalni parki, pred petdesetimi leti se je odrekla lastni vojski, razvila je šolstvo in socialno zdravstvo, turizem predstavlja glavno gospodarsko panogo. Severni del so, podobno kot v ostalih turističnih in relativno varnih deželah tega čudovitega dela planeta, pokupili Američani, južni del, ki meji na Panamo, pa ostaja precej ”Kostariški”. Toplo tropsko sonce vzhaja na Atlantski (Karibski) strani in zahaja pa na Pacifiški, kjer še toplejši morski valovi šepetajo spomine Piratov, ki še danes ugrabijo kakšnega naivnega pomorščaka. Najlepši nacionalni park Korkovado, kamor smo se z velikim čolnom pripeljali po delti velike reke Serpiente (kače), krasijo primarni deževni gozdovi, dom velih papig, najbolj strupenih žab in kač na svetu, jaguarjev, pum, triprstih lenivcev in tisočih insektov, ki jih ne odženejo tudi najmočnejši repelenti. Precejšen del poti do glavne postojanke Korkovada, kjer domujejo čuvaji in občasno sprejme nekaj turistov, ki morajo spati na prostem, smo naredili ob pacifiških plažah skupaj z delfini, kiti, želvami in kitovci.  Nepozabni trenutki, katerih bodo, upam, lahko deležni tudi naši potomci, če bomo sposobni združiti pohlepne glave in začeli živeti primerno “najintiligentnejši“ vrsti na planetu. Kostaričani so pionirji ”ziplainov”, spustov po jeklenicah in tudi sami smo si privoščili enega najdaljših na svetu. ”Let” nad in skozi tisočletne tropske gozdove je vreden petdesetih dolarjev po glavi in ni samo cenena turistična potegavščina, je doživetje, ki ga ni mogoče izkusiti nikjer drugje. Tudi viseči mostovi, ki se v rahlih tropskih sapicah zibljejo v nivoju visokih dreves in približajo povsem svojevrsten ekosistem obiskovalcu, so znamenitost Kostarike na katere so domačini ponosni. Ohranjanje naravnih znamenitosti, čistega okolja, neokrnjene narave in tekoče pitne vode, ki je povsod na razpolago, je lastnost dežele, ki jo bomo, če bo v naši moči, še obiskali.

Trinidad, v nepostredni bližini politično nemirne in obubožane Venezuele, je najjužnejši otok Južnih Antilov, kjer so se Piratski otoki najbolj približali Ekvatorju. Črna črta na njihovi rdeči zastavi je sled tekočega bogastva, ki ga država črpa izpod morskega dna. Prijazni domačini so, v času karnevalov, ki so jih “izumili” prav oni in so odsev njihovih starodavnih vraževerij, nekoliko ”drugačni” zaradi preglasne Soka glasbe in ponočevanj. Država je varna, čeprav samostojno gibanje v tem času sredi neči, odsvetujejo, ker mnoge maske pregloboko pogledajo v kozarec ali podihajo preveč opojnih substanc.

Majhen polični bratec, severovzhodno od svojega gospodarskega in oblastnega sedeža Trinidada, je turistični biser, mestoma skoraj neobljuden, poraščen z deževnim gozdom in obdan s peščenimi in sklanatimi plažami. Kolibriji, papige, in stotine drugih ptic obletava tisoče različnih vrst dreves in rož, ponoči jih zamenjajo rastlinojedi netopirji, ki se do čudovitih sončnih vzhodov hranijo s papajami, mangoti, bananami. Ceste po otoku so sicer asfaltirane, vendar ozke in izredno strme. V nekaj urah je mogoče obkrožiti celoten otok, čeprav s hitrostjo kolesarja, z  visokih točk pa pogled sega v neskončnost preko obeh oceanov in kot kamenček majhnih otočkov, vsepovsod. Tobago je destinacija, kjer lahko še danes okusimo podobe raja, kakršen je bil nekoč, v času, Piratov, Krištofa kolumba in morda celo Adama in Eve, ki sta s svojo idejo prišla na otok s knjigami krvoločnih krščanskih gospodarjev Špancev, ki so jim sledili Angleži, Nizozemci, Francozi…Današnji prebivalci so večinoma potomci sužnjev iz Indije in Afrike, ki pa danes za precej zavidljive denarje služijo turistom iz držav bivših gospodarjev.