Karakorum 2009: Teams Turned Back On K2!

K2 big
A quick update this morning, courtesy of ExWeb, who is reporting that weather conditions on K2 have prevented the teams on their summit push from reaching the top of the mountain. Deep snow, reportedly up to the climbers chests, was the main impediment to their progress, and while most are heading back down for now, the Kazakhs are going to stay in C4 and make another go of it tomorrow.

According to the story, Gerlinde Kalenbrunner and her climbing mates have been turned back and are proceeding down. She’ll no doubt be weighing her options and the chances of getting to the summit yet this year, although time is beginning to run short. But Maxut Zhumayev and Vassiliy Pivtsov have remained at altitude, and hope to gather their strength to make another attempt on the summit. This shows how strong these two men are at altitude, having the ability to actually recover without descending, and they are actually use to spending days above 8000m.

The Field Touring Alpine Team has updated their status today as well, with the news that their climbers have also gone back down the mountain and are either in C2 or BC. Everyone is said to be healthy and feeling fine, if a bit tired.

The ExWeb report also indicated that a large chunk of ice broke off from a serac just above the Bottleneck and went sliding down the mountain, narrowly missing one of the climbers, in what had to be a very scary scene some what reminiscent of last year’s tragedy. Lets hope that these falling chunks of ice are not a precursor to another major serac collapse.

I’ll keep an eye on Max and Vassiliy and their next summit bid tomorrow. If anyone can get up to the top, it’ll be these two.

Kraig Becker

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