Karakorum 2009: Bad Weather Everywhere!

It’s been nearly a week since I posted any updates on what is happening in the Karakorum, but for the most part, aside from more teams arriving, the biggest news it the bad weather that is making it rough on the climbers at the moment.

Last week I reported that Elisabeth Revol , Antoine Girard, and Ludovic Giambasi were making a weekend run at the summit of Broad Peak. Unfortunately bad weather turned them back for the second time, and they are now back in BC resting up, and waiting for the weather to pass. The commercial teams on the mountain, such as Field Touring Alpine, have begun fixing ropes, and have established C2, but their latest updates indicate that heavy snow and high winds continue to buffet the mountain. Progress has been steady so far though, and if the weather breaks as expected, they’ll push all the way up to C3, and are eyeing a summit bid in about 10 days time.

Switching over to the Gasherbrums, a similar story is being told with snow and winds hitting the various peaks that make up that massif. Don Bowie reports that he, Bruce Normand, and David Falt set off last week to stash some gear at 7000m, but after spending the night in C1 and trying to climb higher on the mountain, they were turned back due to high winds causing “spindrift avalanches”. They did console themselves with a bit of ice climbing on a face that was protected form the storm though.

The Altitude Junkies have checked in from G1 and G2 as well, and they report that they have both Camp 1 and 2 established, and they are just waiting out the weather as well. They hope it’ll pass in the next few days and they can turn their eyes on the summit, in the mean time, they’re finding it impossible to recharge their gadgets the past couple of days thanks to the complete lack of sunshine. The Jagged Globe team has just returned from C2 and are reporting “thigh-deep snow” and unstable condition on the upper portions of the mountain, which means it may be awhile before they can get a real crack at the summit.

Weather seems to be the issue on Nanga Parbat as well, where, according to ExWeb, Gerfried Göschl is acclimatizing on the normal Kinshoffer route, but fully intends to climb a new route when he makes his summit bid. Gerfried also reports that Korean climber Go Mi-Sun has arrived on the mountain, and simply passed on through BC on her way up to C2 where she stayed for the night to begin acclimatization. You may recall, she is the Korean climber that pulled off the Himalayan Hat Trick in the spring, and is looking to knock off three more 8000m peaks in the Karakorum this summer. She’ll start on Nanga before heading to G1 and G2.

Finally, on K2 the Field Touring Alpine team is hoping to begin working the route once again on Friday, when winds are expected to die down and allow access to the mountain. So far, it seems that teams have established Camp 2, and are eager to get working on the route to C3, but for now, they sit and wait a storm that is blasting BC.

Hopefully the storms will clear soon, and these climbers can finally get going. But as a base of reference, last year the main summits on K2 didn’t take place until the end of July. Still plenty of time.

Kraig Becker

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