A view of K2 | AspenTimes.com

A view of K2

Dear Editor:

The tragedy on K2 reminded me of an experience I had in the fall of 1969. I drove from Chamonix to Islamabad with two friends in a Land Rover. I was to be a visiting professor at the University of Islamabad. Upon arriving, it turned out that the university was closed for a month. This was good news, because it meant that we could explore the North-West Frontier, which we did by Land Rover, foot and plane.

On a flight to Gilgit we were the only tourists, and the co-pilot came out and asked if we would like to come to the cabin and get a better view. The whole Karakoram range was in front of us. But then the pilot said, “Would you like to see K2?” We said that we would, indeed. He brought the plane up a few thousand feet, and suddenly there appeared the most incredible black pyramid I have ever seen ” K2. It was like a gargantuan Matterhorn.

Just as we were taking it in, the stewardess appeared and said that one of the passengers had fainted. The plane was not very well pressurized. The pilot took it down, and K2 disappeared as if in a dream.

Jeremy Bernstein