Having conquered K2, Christine Jensen Burke has come to the conclusion nothing can prepare a climber for the world's second-highest mountain.
Timaru-born Jensen Burke became the first Australasian woman to stand atop K2 last month and she described her ascent as "steep, steep, steep and, oh, steep, with no flat bits".
She reached the summit of the 8611-metre K2 on July 26 with Lakpa Sherpa and Tsering Sherpa, along with four others, and was followed by about 25 other climbers.
On her blog, she said "nothing can really prepare you for K2".
"I thought that climbing Makalu in the northern spring of 2014 would be a great climb in its own right, but I also thought it would be good preparation for me leading up to K2. I was right on the former but not so right on the latter."
Jensen Burke went to K2 with the hope of reaching the summit. Mentally, she said she needed to believe she could do it.
"I knew that getting to the top on a first attempt was a very rare thing for most. If I got to C3 [camp 3 at 7300m] first time, then that would give me a good grounding for going back only one more time. I hadn't the funds to return time and again."
And get to the top she did.
"Overall, K2 is a seriously tiring climb (huge understatement) particularly between C1-C3 [camp 1 at 6050m and camp 3] and focus is a must. When you look up to the summit from C4 your mind tells you ‘that doesn't look so bad' and, well, your mind is playing tricks. It only gets harder."
Jensen Burke is in Islamabad in Pakistan recuperating from the expedition.
- The Timaru Herald