A Singapore man has set a new mountain-climbing record. Seagate’s newest hard drives helped document the adventure.
In July, Khoo Swee Chiow became the first Singaporean and Southeast Asian to reach the summit of K2, the world’s second-highest mountain and regarded by many climbers to be the most dangerous peak.
Khoo, 48, took along four Seagate Backup Plus hard drives; the drives were used to store scores of high-resolution photos and videos that he will use to share his story of the Seagate K2 2012 expedition.
With an elevation of 8,611 metres (28,251 feet), K2 is known for its high level of difficulty and notoriously high casualty rate: six times higher than that of the world’s tallest mountain, Mount Everest. To date, only 302 climbers have successfully reached K2’s peak, compared to 3,500 who have reached the top of Everest.
Khoo and his team climbed the mountain along the Abruzzi Ridge, also known as the Southeast Ridge, from the Pakistani border. The team began their journey in late June, flying into Islamabad and driving to the village of Askole before reaching base camp on 6 July.
The group began their acclimatisation process three days later under sunny skies, until lashing wind and snow interrupted their ascent on 14 July. After a two-week delay, the team mobilised to take advantage of a small window of favourable weather.
After three arduous days of climbing, the team reached the summit in the early hours of 31 July. It was a moment Khoo described as “magical”.
The numerous photos and videos taken by Khoo during the climb were stored on his camera’s memory card until he could back them up to his Seagate Backup Plus drives, which had been left at base camp.
“The equipment we use on our expeditions must be durable and easy to use, due to high altitudes and sub-zero temperatures,” he explained. “Seagate’s Backup Plus hard drives are high in capacity and extremely simple to use. These new drives are also much more compact and sleeker than previous drives that I have used, providing the perfect storage system for the precious photos and videos that will serve as a visual record of this expedition.”
For additional protection, Khoo used two of the four Backup Plus units that he brought with him to duplicate backups of his photos and videos – a precaution he took to guard against any accidents to the hard discs.
“Having these hard drives readily available on my climb was great, as I did not have to worry about choosing which shots to take or delete,” Khoo said. “Despite being exposed to extreme weather, the hard drives worked without a hitch. Although I needed only one hard disc to store all my photos and videos, the additional units available gave me peace of mind just in case I needed more space. And more importantly, it enabled me to back up my backups for extra protection.”
The team’s descent to base camp was also difficult. A team member slipped and fell, pulling down three others who were roped together with him. The group thought that they were lost, but the four were luckily saved by a crevasse.
The close call was a stark reminder for Khoo of the tragedy that claimed 11 lives on K2 in 2008.
“I was very aware of where I was, and I am very thankful that we all made it back safely,” he said. “I am also very grateful to Seagate and my other sponsors, without whom this lifelong dream would not have been realised.”
The K2 expedition was not the first climb in which Seagate storage accompanied Khoo. Last year, he took along the Company’s GoFlex Ultra-portable drives on a successful summit of Everest. He has scaled Everest three times since 1998. Along with being a professional mountaineer, Khoo is also a popular motivational speaker.
“It was my hope that this expedition would motivate others to begin their own journey of self–discovery and adventure,” he said. “Thanks to Seagate, I am one step closer to inspiring the community and achieving that goal.”
—By Lotus Tan