Wilco van Rooijen
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WILCO VAN ROOIJEN: SURVIVING K2
Surviving two days in the Death Zone
In the summer of 2008 the 'Norit K2 expedition' climbed without additional oxygen the 8611 meter high peak of K2 in Pakistan. During the descent the expedition turned from triumph to tradedy. One of the biggest tradedy's in mountain climbing history. Statistical every quarter 'conqueror' will die on the "Killer Mountain". In 2008 11 climbers lost their life. The news was going over the whole world from CNN, Al-Jazeera, Sky News, BBC, New York Times etc.
Wilco van Rooijen, the Dutch expedition leader has been missing for three days and give up by the outside world. On his last strength he came back a life out of the 'Death Zone'. The 'Norit K2' Expedition 2008 paid a high price. What exactly took place that August 1, 2008? How could this tragedy have taken place?
cheeks. God, what a struggle this has been, but we are proud. Ascent via the Cesen Route. Finally, after almost 17 hours of climbing, we have reached the summit of K2! The second highest mountain in the world, but so much more beautiful, challenging and magnificent than Everest. Four men from one team on the summit, what a feat. And without bottled oxygen! Third time lucky. After my near fatal accident in 1995 and Gerard’s in 2006, we have finally fulfilled our mission - a high point in more ways
Bottleneck. Pemba climbs on and discovers Marco who is unconscious. Pemba has brought drinks and oxygen, and for the moment Marco is saved. While Pemba is helping Marco, a radio conversation takes place with Sherpa Pasang, who is busy with his rescue operation. Pasang has reached the top of the Bottleneck and to his amazement he finds the two Koreans and Jumic alive. He can hardly believe it. Is it a miracle? Gerard must have succeeded in freeing them. There is no other way. It is incredible.
summit of Everest in 2003. From the summit, he hit the puck as far as he could in the direction of his beloved snow-capped summits. Gerard once expressed his love of mountains in an interview. He said: ‘Mountaineering has taught me many things. Over the years, I have learned to celebrate life surrounded by the utter beauty of the mountains. I have learned that I can mentally and physically survive in harsh perverse conditions. And finally, I have learned to suffer. In many ways
will die down and the weather will clear up overnight. At least that’s the forecast. Until now we used free of charge weather forecasts via the Internet, which turns out to be a mistake. At 18.00 I contact Maarten who is manning our ‘mission control’ back in the Netherlands via satellite phone. The first thing I shout to him through the raging storm is: “Maarten, the weather is terrible.” Maarten reassures me by explaining that our weatherman Ab Maas is at his post again, and has just sent new
camp 2. I go up second, followed by Cas and Roeland. This enables me to film Jelle above me, and Cas and Roeland below me. Cas has been given a microphone to record his heavy breathing sounds on film. We arrive in camp 2, at around 13.00. In the meantime an expedition led by Frenchman Hugues d’Aubarede is also climbing the Cesen Route. Their team has two high altitude porters (HAPs) who will set up tents. The next day they want to go up with us to camp 3 carrying two 200 metre lengths of