It was a quiet weekend as far as news from K2 went. We knew that the mountain was being pounded by a blizzard late last week, and that there were still a few teams left hoping for a weather window. Finally we get a brief update today from EverestNews.com that the Russian team on the West Face is making yet another summit attempt.
The post doesn’t have much information, but does state that team members “Shabalin – Mariev – Tukhvatullin – Popovich are ascending above Camp 6” while “Volodin – Penzov and Sokolov – Vinogradsky – Gorelik are ascending to C6”. Clearly the Russians have put several teams in place to make one last go at the summit along this unclimbed route. There are also three more climbers at Camp 5 that are waiting to go up should time and the weather permit.
I’ll say one thing for the Russians, they’re tenacious and tough as nails. While most other teams have abandoned their plans to ascend via the Abruzzi or Cesen Routes, these guys have hammered away at a direct route along the Western Face, which has never been climbed before. They’ve endured weeks on the mountain. Spent days at altitude, and sat out some crazy weather, all in the hopes of standing on top. It’s beginning to look like they will finally accomplish their goal. This is what siege style climbing is all about, and while it’s not always pretty, it can be very effective. Personally, I’m rooting for them to stand on top after all the effort they have put in.
I’ll post more updates as they become available.
Update: ExWeb has now weighed in with an update of their own with news that the team climbing above C6 was forced back by poor weather conditions only an hour after setting out from camp. They experienced “deep mist, whiteout and very strong wind gusts” which made their attempt brutal from the start.
These Russians are determined however, as the word is that Pavel Shabalin, Andrew Mariev, Iljas Tukhvatullin and Vadim Popovich managed to establish a Camp 7 high up on the mountain, that would presumably be the last place of refuge before the summit. It seems these men are clawing their way up K2!
The image seen at the top of this post is suppose to be a live shot from the mountain this morning. You can see that the summit is shrouded in clouds, and you can only imagine what the conditions are like at the top. It seems hard to believe that the Russians have worked this hard, and are so close, but could still get turned back by the weather and sheer exhaustion. It seems they can’t catch a break, but you have to admire their grit.
More updates to follow.
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