“Because its there” is enough for me and others who share the romance of the mountain’s but in this short post I will just explain some of the ideas and motivations to those of a more rational bent.
Marco Pallis wrote in the 1930’s The Himalayan germ once caught ,works inside one like a relapsing fever: it is ever biding its time before breaking out again with renewed virulence, Dr Longstaff had warned when we set out "once a man has found the road he can never keep away for long"
After spending some time in the Mountains of Central Asia and of course reading and studying the history, philosophy and lore that comes with the greatest mountain ranges on Earth taking that road has become irresistible.
Like so many before the tallest peaks have been the loudest sirens and already last year I was contemplating climbing a 7000m plus peak if it were at all possible. Then along came Slovakian Zdeno seeking partners to climb Broad peak 8051m. Zdeno gave me a very good impression from the start with his drive and determination and very soon convinced me that if I was going to climb a major peak why not a real big one with him. His constancy of purpose has left me in no doubts that this is the kind of person one wants to do a real mission with.
Why an 8000m peak - somehow being Human we are all wrapped up in quantifying things and 8000 is really just a number that neither the rocks or mountain’s care about. There are just 14 8000m peaks in the world – a very select group although If the meter was just a little longer or shorter there would be none or perhaps dozens. Making it so select makes climbing an 8000m peak a real goal, a sort of a mark to define oneself with. By chance 8000m also has another attribute – that of size and height itself. Permanent human settlements are not found above 5000m although the human body seems to be able to adapt to altitudes of 5000 -6000m readily enough. Between after that adaptation becomes more and more difficult and only temporary and eventually somewhere between 6500 – 7000 meters ones existence is reduced to weeks. The deterioration process continues till, at somewhere around 8000m one enters the death zone. It’s called the death zone because at that altitude even with artificial oxygen no adaptation takes place - not even temporarily. Humans existence in the Death Zone is measured in hours although occasionally there have been forced overnight bivouacs at over 8000 meters to my knowledge no one has ever managed to last 2 days in that high world.
Why Broad Peak. Because it’s in Pakistan a place I have a long association with but above all because its located in the heart of the Karakorum on the Baltoro glacier in the greatest concentration of major peaks in the World. Just to go to the Baltoro is generally considered an expedition itself. The standard route up Broad Peak is not a technically demanding climb which is another prime consideration but it is consistently very steep. Most failures on the mountain are due to exhaustion and altitude. It is also from the risk stand point relatively safe from objective dangers such as avalanches compared to some of the Worlds other major peaks.
Why take a bike to the top for an World altitude cycling record – in short to gain sponsors hopefully and also put ones mark on the map. Again for those with the “ because its there” passion such things don’t matter much. But for the outside world its quite different. A couple of guys going off to climb an 8000m peak by a standard route – that’s no big deal. Taking a bike up there and riding it – well its kinda crazy but also kinda interesting and something one can write home about.
The bike we are proposing couldn’t be any standard bike for a number of reasons – most importantly we would have to carry it at high altitude on very steep slopes so weight has to be eliminated. The bike will have to be very light weight – sub 3 kilos, easy to manage and able to operate in extreme cold. It will only be ridden at the top or however far we manage to get – hopefully above 7700m to set a record.
Now time to go off and do some training. Thanks to all for supporting this site.
Nathan Dahlberg, Broad Peak, World Record, Mountaineer, Cyclist, Outdoors, Adventure, Mountians, Climbing, Hiking, Biking, Tour De France, Absolute Fitness, Kathmandu, broadpeak, Exploring, 8000m