Monday, August 04, 2008

The Accomplishment Incomplete

Climbers attempt to ascend K2 because it is more challenging, more difficult, and a greater accomplishment than reaching the top of Mt. Everest.

They fight against their own bodies, against the elements, against the planet itself, to reach the peak. Where oxygen is low, the cold intense, they struggle to get up, but then they must struggle to get back down.

Gerard McDonnell reached the summit of K2, a dream he failed to reach on a previous attempt when his climbing partners succumbed to altitude sickness and they had to turn back. This time, he made it to the top. On Friday, he became the first Irishman to scale the mountain.

On the descent, storms blew in and a rescue operation was mounted. It is believed that an avalanche then took out fixed ropes that climbers need to cross an ice wall. Two of the rescuers were killed, and the number of climbers lost has not yet been finalized.

There were twenty-two climbers in the slopes of K2 at the time. Twenty-two determined people who sought to achieve what very few human beings achieve.

It is a difficult and technical climb, to the peak of K2. Gerard McDonnell made it to the top, but his accomplishment was not completed. The weather beat him, the storms and the mountain together beat him, but not before he set foot on the top of the world.

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