Karakorum Update: No Word From Stefano

K2Climb.net is reporting that there are low spirits on K2, while teams have begun to desert the Gasherbrums, following a very trying weekend on both mountains.

K2 Base Camp has a shadow over it these days, as they have still not heard any word on Stefano Zavka. Stefano was climbing as part of the Italian Mountain Freedom Team when he summitted last Friday, but the bad weather on the descent made it difficult to see, and it’s unclear if he ever returned to C4 as was previously thought. The pervading feeling is that the became lost above C4 and never actually made it to camp at all. Meanwhile, American climber Don Bowie, a member of the Shared Summits Team is safely back at ABC after slowly making his way down the mountain on a bum leg. Staying on K2, we’re also hearing the the Polish/Slovak team, led by Dodo Kopold, is currently en route to the mountain after a successful acclimatization climb on Nanga Parbat.

Over on the Gasherbrums, hopes are fading fast for a new weather window opening any time soon. Some teams have left BC altogether and are heading home, as forecasts call for more snow in the days ahead. I’m sure the tragic avalanche of last week has also left an impression the teams, making some wary of climbing higher on the mountain. On GII, five members of the Project Himalaya Team have called off their climb, as has the entire the Catalan team, as has Kari Kobler’s Team and the FTA Team. Alex Gavin has been left alone on the mountain, as his climbing partner has called it quits too. The story is much the same on GI, where Italian Mario Merelli says “It’s just us now”.

Kraig Becker

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