Main objective- safe transportation of gear
Since I got my first job in high mountains (K2 in winter 2017/18), one of my main concerns was how to transport my filming gear during the whole expedition. I live in Poland (Europe) and making the whole trip around half the world by plane and then a 5-7 days trekking to Base Camp can impose serious threats to such delicate gear as cameras.
Trying out a new pack - the Fjord 60-C
I was pretty excited to test the Fjord 60-C NYA-EVO backpack. I got it before my K2 summer expedition together with an RCI M unit. My main goal was to fit in it all my filming gear but also my helmet (that’s quite important because during one of my previous expeditions it got damaged while flying in checked-in luggage). So yes, everything fit just perfectly – huge Canon camera with two lenses, sound recorder, microphone, drone, laptop, batteries, chargers. I was pretty loaded, but feeling safe.
How to organize the gear
Fjord 60-C NYA-EVO backpack has plenty of smaller pockets and divisions, and it helped me a lot to organize myself before leaving. I like to know where my things are, especially for the trekking because I may witness some unexpected situations and I want my camera to be ready to go and within reach so that I don’t waste any second of the shot. Also, having one place to store all the equipment in Base Camp is quite handy.
Overview of the trip
My main plan was to prepare a documentary about the climbers that lost their lives on K2 during last winter. I wanted also to meet with their friends and families that were supposed to arrive to K2 Base Camp at the end of July for a small ceremony. K2 summit wasn’t a priority, but of course I was there not only to shoot, also for some serious climbing.
Travelling with the pack
As you can imagine, packing for 2 month expedition with all the climbing and filming gear can be quite a challenge. But also how to transport it via plane to Pakistan. So what usually happens is I pack all climbing gear in two big duffel bags and then take a huge personal bag with cameras with me on a plane. This time it weighed (the personal one) around 20 kg. Good thing is staff on the planes usually allow me to keep going like this and do not cause any issues about the weigh. Although they made some problems while I was at one of the gates. So I started to unpack and show them everything that I had in the backpack, and at some point they just gave up and let me go. Curious thing, on the way back from Pakistan they didn’t want to allow me to take on board my helmet, but after my protest they finally agreed.
After landing in Pakistan, I had to fly to Skardu, then start 6 days trekking to K2 Base Camp. It’s around 75 km. I have to admit, I trust no one to carry my electronic equipment on my way to the expedition, so I had to carry the 20 kg backpack. Quite tough, but better safe than sorry. I made it to K2 Base Camp on June 29th.
The Next day after arriving we went in a small team to Camp 1 (6050m). Both for acclimatization but also to check the conditions of the mountain and also help a little bit with rope fixing. It was a fast and light rotation, but it helped to get some footage and also “feel” the mountain. On my next rotation (8th July) I went directly to Camp 2 (6660m) and the day after that to Camp 3 (7300m) on K2. Camp 3 happened to be my altitude record and amazingly I was still feeling very strong and motivated. We knew bad weather was approaching so , so I wanted to make as much progress as possible before conditions would change.
We returned back down to Base Camp, and then I heard about people going for a summit push on Broad Peak on the next rotation. Furthermore, I thought it could be a good opportunity to take some good shots of K2 (it’s a couple of km in straight line from Broad Peak summit, and it’s very visible from its slopes). So I packed myself and went up. Directly to Camp 2 in one day, then Camp 3 in the following one, and on July 17th and 18th I found myself struggling in the front line of climbers trying to climb Broad Peak. It was tough because summit push was extended to two days in a row and I can say I was all the time in the front helping to open trail. I was the first one of the season to put my feet on the summit. It was extremely rewarding, I got very nice shots of K2 and it was also my first 8000m summit.
After getting back to Base Camp and having some rest, my desire to climb K2 was dashed but major bad weather and wind blew away my deposit so it was a clear sign for me to regroup and change course. I decided to spend more time with families and friends of the climbers that passed away last winter on K2 (they arrived to Base Camp on July 24th). A week later we finished our expedition, and it was time to return home.
The 60-C my portable filming office
Although I wouldn’t climb with Fjord 60-C backpack, it was very useful in Base Camp to organize my “filming office”. I would have all the cameras and filming gear stored in one handy back and could travel with it around the Base Camp, glacier nearby or to make some interviews.
What is next
For now, my main plan is to recover. I got quite hammered by this expedition, and it was my second visit to K2 in a 7-month period. I don’t remember when did I had some holidays last, so it is now time.
During the next 4-6 weeks I will be preparing my documentary, resting and eating. Of course, I have more plans and there are some interesting options for winter time, but first recover.
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