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Kiwi climber summits K2 with SKINS and Suunto

July 18, 2013

Kiwi climber summits K2 with SKINS and Suunto

Kiwi climbing duo Marty Schmidt and his 25-year-old son, have successfully conquered Broad Peak, on the border of Pakistan and China, their last test before tackling the neighbouring K2, the world’s second highest mountain and one of the world’s toughest to climb.

The pair, possibly the first father and son team to summit Broad Peak, had been forced to sit out a stretch of bad weather before making their summit bid, but eventually conquered Broad Peak through heavy snow. When they finally made the summit it was with only 20km/hr winds and clear panoramic views.
The pair and the rest of their team and support crew will now move to base camp at K2 to prepare for their assault on what is a legendarily tough mountain to conquer.

But it’s not just K2, a mountain which Schmidt has unsuccessfully attempted to summit twice before,  which presents the next challenge to the father and son team. K2 climbers are also at risk of attack from the Taliban in Pakistan, with 10 foreign climbers killed in a recent attack.

Despite the dangers Marty Schmidt is adamant K2 is the mountain he loves most.

“I’ve climbed a lot of the world’s biggest mountains but K2 is the one I respect the most. I’ve been on it twice without summiting. I’m just called to it all the time. That’s why I’m filming the 2014 expedition.

“I want to show the world what it’s like. It’s like going to the moon without a NASA rocket.”

Schmidt, 53, has climbed some of the world’s tallest peaks without oxygen, including five peaks of more than 8000m. He has climbed and guided on the world’s Seven Summits (the seven tallest mountains on each continent) many times, and has summited Everest twice.

He says the key to success in any climb is to maintain and understanding of your environment at all times. “Know your rest step, your breath work, clear goggles before sunrise so your eyes don’t freeze, fluids available on summit day.... it’s all vital.”

The crucial factor in success is the right gear. Top of Schmidt’s list of must-have equipment are his Suunto Vector watch and his Skins compression sports wear.

Schmidt says it’s vital he takes only equipment he can trust to work all the time, every time.

“I love my Suunto Vector watch. They are reliable, lightweight and they work above 8000 metres; I love that.”

The Suunto Vector watch ranges comes with an array of features including an altimeter, barometer, compass and optional heart rate monitor.

“The biggest thing for me is that I have to be able to trust my gear to work every time I need it,” Schmidt says.

Schmidt and Denali, named after the highest peak in North America, are aiming to summit K2 from the Pakistan side about August 15-20. “I love to climb with Denali. It’s so much fun. We have a great time for three months. Not many fathers get that kind of time with their grown-up sons,” he says.

But Schmidt will not be finished with K2 if this summit attempt is successful. He will make another attempt on the mountain from the much more difficult, northern Chinese side in 2014, which he will also film.


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