The Commercialization of K2

Outside Online has posted a story that appears in the magazine’s July issue entitled The Everest Circus Moves to K2, in which author Sam Moulton predicts that the world’s second highest mountain is destined to become the next Everest, overrun with “record seekers, guided rich guys, and unqualified yahoos”.

The story points to climbers such as Fredrik Ericsson, who is on the mountain at the moment with the intention of becoming the first man to ski down its slopes. The article was written back in May, and well before Ericsson lost climbing partner Michele Fait in a ski accident descending from C2 earlier this week.

The other element that leads Outside to believe that things are changing on K2 is that mountaineer Fabrizio Zangrilli is currently leading 10 paying clients up the mountain it was is being viewed by many as possibly the first full blown commercial expedition on the most dangerous mountain on the planet. A number of other top guiding companies are no doubt watching the progress, while planning their own climbs for next year.

But, the message from Outside isn’t one of condemnation. Quite the opposite actually as they say that we should just accept that this is a fact of life in the mountaineering community. Big, challenging, scary mountains attract those people with lots of money who want to climb them. And due to that fact, people will probably die. But it isn’t like they don’t know the risks.

So what do you think? Should we just accept that K2 is going to be a commercial mountain moving forward? Is there anything we can do about it anyway? I think it is inevitable, and although it has always been the Mountaineers Mountain, traffic on its slopes will definitely increase in the next few years, although I seriously doubt it’ll ever get to the levels of Everest.

Kraig Becker

3 thoughts on “The Commercialization of K2”

  1. I agree with you Kraig. It's inevitable.

    Extreme/adventure sports has seen a huge surge in popularity these past few years. Some of the 'secret places' that I used to go to get away from it all, I now find populated. It's nice that new people are discovering wild, beautiful places and adventure. What I've seen more of recently and really hate is these places being defaced from those just passing through for a thrill or a notch on their belt. Or worse, a newbie losing their life from inexperience. An upside is that some experienced climbers will finally able to make some money.

    Double-edged sword.

  2. Double edged sword indeed.

    I agree that it's nice to see more people exploring the wilderness and experiencing some adventure, but I hate the thought of crowds defacing those areas. Lets hope we learned that lesson from Everest too, and that steps will be take sooner than later to ensure that our favorite outdoor places remain protected and clean.

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