Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The K2 has spoken, it's not up to us to have the last word.

AUGUST 6 2008

Why do people feel the need to blame others, or nature or anything else?

Wilco van Rooijen, one of the climbers that have been rescued from the K2, gave an interview today.

He blamed other climbers for the accident.

He didn't say they chopped off the icerock, no.
He said that they didn't properly tie the ropes at the Bottleneck, a very dangerous part of the mountain. Because of that it took more time to reach the top, and because of that they were caught in the accident.

It's such wishful thinking: if I'd been at a different place at a different time....

In my language the word "if" sounds like english "ashes", and my gram used to say: ashes are burnt. Meaning that one better leaves certain things in the past, because things happened the way they happened and wanting to change things afterwards isn't possible.

Maybe the ropes should have been tied in another way.
He made the choice to go to the top anyway, and he certainly didn't prevent others to use these ropes.
He made the choice to arrive late at the top.

That is how it goes at dangerous mountains: each and every person makes his own decision to go forward or to stop and go back.

Ofcourse many more will be said about the accident.

All coloured by how the cultures of the speaker deal with accidents, guilt and loss.
I know Wilco and I share a country where guilt easily pops up, like anger is the main emotion of other countries.

I agree with him that reaching the top late, especially in the beautiful weather they had, carries a danger of ice and rocks moving because of the melting snow and ice.

They could have been on the top earlier, and then they would have been past the Bottleneck on their descent.

But would they have been safe?

Well, let's say he's been lucky not to have been hit by an icerock and not to have been caught in a sliding pile of snow.

All I can say is that when the icerock wouldn't have been broken off, and wouldn't have taken the ropes with it, people wouldn't have died because of that.

The k2 is a mighty force of nature.

And life itself ends when it's time.

The past days I felt myself confronted with some mysteries that will never be answered.

Why did Hugues walk the other way?

What happened to Gerard.

Some stories say he slept with Wilco on the mountain during the descent.

But when did he disappear? Where?

He was an experienced climber... why didn't he survive?

Some questions will be answered during the next weeks, when people come home and have time to re-experience the traumas.
Some will never be answered. Our phantasies will take over, movies will fill in the gaps.

Being experienced in dealing with people after major traumas, I know some people are shut off from their feelings for a while. Others will remember parts, and they'll fill in the gaps with what is most desirable in their eyes. It's not lying. It's dealing with too painfull memories. It's how the mind works.

There are also people wanting to earn money from it all, or esteem, or fame.

Right now we can only assume 11 people were killed on K2.

Not because of some ropes, or because of the time of day.
Not even because they made the choice to be on the top that day.

People died, because nature doesn't look around when it changes.
The beauty of nature is her's, and she lives with it within her own laws.

It was a beautiful day, so the sun had power and melted ice.
A rock broke off and fell.

Like nature stops the beating hearts of innocent little children, leaving their mothers empty handed,
nature changed and a rock fell, destroying the lifelines, taking the lives of beautiful people who made the choice to enter into this mystic place of life.

My heart goes out to the families and friends of those who died,
especially to the poor families of both rescuers who died.

I can only hope people will show their respect to all who were there, and to all who died, and stop speculating and pointing fingers.

It's unworthy.

The K2 has spoken, it's not up to us to have the last word.


  1. Well said. Hindsight is always 20-20, but on one of the world's great peaks or in any extreme environment, such as a whitewater river or the arctic or the desert or even a major city at rush hour when millions of cars are racing about trying to get home.... There are reasons after reasons after reasons why something happened and speculation after speculation, but none of it changes what has happened. All you can do when entering an extreme environment is be as prepared as you can, make the best choices you can when you are faced with them and let the chips fall as they may.

    God bless those who lost their lives on K2, doing what they loved to do and fully aware of the risks involved.

  2. Large praise for this well written and easily understandable contribution. I take up this blog to my favorites and times will soon again by-look.

  3. Oh I love this template!! Where'd you find it?

    MomDot Street Team

  4. There is no place for stories of heroism in the light of the loss of so many lifes.

  5. I'm sorry I haven't been able to update the K2 tragedy.


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