PAKISTAN- He reached the summit of the world's second-highest peak and now Fort Collins climber Alan Arnette has safely descended the treacherous mountain.
According to a post on the Madison Mountaineering website, Arnette and the rest of his K2 climbing team returned at 8 p.m. Monday night Pakistan time to K2 Base Camp at 16,732 feet.
Arnette wrote a Facebook post Monday, saying the next step for the team is the 70-mile trek to Askole, a tiny north Pakistan town that is the gateway to the Karakoram mountains. They'll leave for Askole on Thursday, he said.
The mountaineer and Alzheimer's advocate on Sunday became the oldest American to summit the 28,251-foot mountain, considered Earth's most challenging peak. Arnette, Garrett Madison and Matt Du Puy are just the 16th, 17th and 18th Americans to summit K2.
On Sunday Arnette tweeted, "K2 summit unbelievably hard."
His Monday Facebook post detailed some of the challenges he and his team faced to reach the summit. Among them, the traditional route up the notoriously dangerous Bottleneck was deemed unsafe to climb after an avalanche left rocks and high ice blocks in the ravine. The team took an alternate route which put the team in more danger from the serac than normal, Arnette wrote.
Arnette also said he suffered from mild high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) and dehydration during the descent. He thanked Madison for aggressively treating his symptoms and Kami Sherpa for keeping a "watchful eye" over him.
"We summited K2 on July 27, 2014 at 8:30 a.m. local time. It was a long day as we left Camp 4 at 10 p.m. climbing through the night. I knew I would have to dig deep into a place I have never touched and it proved true in many ways," Arnette wrote on Facebook. "I wanted to stop three distinct times but I kept going. Why? My cause was the only real reason I can give you. A close second was the support I felt from around the world. Thank you, thank you."
An experienced climber with summits of Mount Everest and the Earth's Seven Summits, Arnette's pursuit of K2 was his most challenging endeavor yet. Retired from Hewlett-Packard, Arnette dedicates his climbs to Alzheimer's research and awareness.
His mother, Ida, died from the disease in 2009.
To date, Arnette's climbing has raised more than $200,000. His goal is $1 million.
"I figured, Alzheimer's is the world's toughest disease, I might as well climb the world's toughest mountain," Arnette told the Coloradoan in June.
Xplore reporter Stephen Meyers covers the outdoors and recreation for the Coloradoan. Follow him on Twitter @stemeyer or Facebook.com/meyersreports.
To find out more about Arnette's adventures and how to donate, visit http://www.alanarnette.com/blog/k2curealz/.
(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Fort Collins Coloradoan)