K2: North West Ridge Teams Still Going

The Russians on the West Face may have topped out, and by last accounts the climbers were making their way back to base camp, but not everyone is finished with K2 just yet. K2Climb.net has finally posted a fresh update on the Kazakh team still working away on the North West Face.

The Kazakh’s have been lost in the shuffle a bit with the Russian West Face team making history, but they remain strong, focused and persistent. With climbing vets Maxut Zhumayev and Vasily Pivtsov leading the team, they have continued to stock high camps and fix lines over the past ten days, hoping for a weather window of their own.

While the weather remains dodgy at best, it seems that everything is in place for them to a summit bid this weekend. The word is that Maxut and Vasily will take 23 year old rookie Alexander Sofrygin with them to the top.

Not all the young guys on the Kazakh team are faring as well. Aggei Skopin, who will turn 23 in September, has given up his summit ambitions after spending days shuttling supplies and helping to lay fixed lines. He also spent a night above 8000m without oxygen, which finalized his decision. Aggei continues to help supply the lower camps, but he’ll not go above 5000m for the duration of the expedition.

With any luck, we’ll have word of more summits on K2 by early next week. Hopefully the weather will give the Kazakh team a break, but they seem determined to go to the top regardless. You certainly have to admire the spirit of these climbers. When other teams retreated for the season, the Kazakhs and Russians stayed behind to finish what they started, and so far it’s paid off for them in spades.

Kraig Becker

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