Last week I reported that the summit push would be on over the weekend, and the Kazakh team of Denis, Sergey, and Evgeny did manage to establish camp at 7200m, but the hurricane force winds persisted throughout the weekend, preventing them from making a serious bid at the top. Sergey also became ill which hastened their retreat to lower altitudes for recovery.
The Italians on the other hand continued their slow, steady, and sure pace to towards the summit. They shuttled gear to 6800m but have also dropped back down to a lower altitude to wait for the next break in the weather, which is expected to come sometime in the next two or three days.
Over on Broad Peak, Simone Moro has finally caught a break, as a helicopter has delivered him to base camp after a series of mishaps have cost him time, money and teammates. This year’s climb has been difficult from day one, as the Italian climber arrived in Pakistan to find much of his equipment missing. He had left it in storage there following last year’s Winter attempt, and in the months since it has been scavenged off. From there, things went from bad to worse, as he ended up stranded in Skardu as the costs for porters went up dramatically, and the transportation to the mountain refused to budge. In the end, nearly three weeks were wasted, and his teammate Leonhard Werth returned home exasperated.
Makalu is the last of the 8000m Himalayan peaks to go unclimbed in the Winter, so hopefully one, or both, of the teams on the mountain will be able to make history and claim the summit. Things are different in the Karakorum, where none of the 8000m peaks have been summitted in Winter. Simone was close last year on Broad Peak, but simply ran out of time due to extremely bad weather. Hopefully he can finally make a serious attempt this year, now that he is finally on the mountain and can control his own destiny.
I’ll post updates as we learn more.