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Beavon heads to the mountains
It took about one year of careful planning, ordering visas, sending visas to the Pakistani consulate in Los Angeles, preparing food and clothing, and organizing a route, but Don Beavon headed off to Pakistan this past week to become part of a seven man climbing expedition on K2, the worlds second highest peak.
Located in the Karakoram region of the Himalayan range, K2 was first summited in 1954 by a group of Italian climbers after numerous prior attempts. The reason behind the difficulty summiting comes from the treacherous weather on the mountain, as well as its relatively low neighboring land. Compared to Mount Everest, the climb presents a much greater degree of difficulty. Since 2004 only 248 climbers have summited K2 whereas over 2,000 have scaled Everests peak. In fact, after its first summiting by the Italians, 23 years passed before another successful ascent.
All this phases Beavon not at all.
Ive been climbing mountains for about 33 years, he said from his Marysville home, This is my eighth trip to Asia and Ive done several climbing trips in South America, Europe and Alaska.
When asked about the schedule of the trip, Beavon seems confident things will go smoothly and in a reasonable amount of time.
Ive got a 90-day permit from the Pakistani government but nobody in our crew hopes to be there the full 90 days. We hope to make the climb in 60-70 days. Were going to get up there and hang out in the tents until we get some decent weather. Thats the main thing with K2 is just waiting on the weather. The weather in Pakistan isnt nearly as accommodating as the weather in Nepal or Tibet.
Not everything has gone smoothly up to this point. Beavon dealt with some last minute snafus from the Pakistani government in regards to his visa. He faxed his visa to the Pakistanis three months ahead of time, and after receiving a special stamp from the consulate in L.A., managed to procure all the necessary documents just in time for his trip.
Where does this desire to climb come from? Beavon credits his father for sparking his early interest.
Climbing is all in the family. My dad dabbled around in climbing his whole life. I grew up on the East Coast, but my dad accepted a job in Seattle when I was 18. When I got out here I saw the natural beauty and figured Id join a club. I joined the Seattle Mountaineers and started taking classes. Later, I got into Outward Bound for an alpine mountaineering course. Now 20 years later I teach the course that I once participated in.
Beavon still remembers what fanned the flames of his climbing passion.
On vacation my family was out visiting our relatives on the West Coast. The men all decided that they would take a day trip and climb Mt. Saint Helens. I was only 12 at the time and no matter how much I begged them to take me with them, they wouldnt allow it. I was left behind with my mom, aunt and all the women in the family. I decided I didnt want that to happen again.
Beavon looks to return from K2 in early August.