As I mentioned last week, the climbing season is about to get underway in the Karakorum Range, where a few climbers are already making their way to mountains such as K2, the Gasherbrums, and Broad Peak.
According to ExWeb it may be a very quiet year in that part of the world, because as of now, only 25 climbing permits have been issued for the entire region, and that includes all of the 6000, 7000, and 8000 meter peaks. My hunch is that the economy is keeping some climbers from traveling to the Karakorum and even sponsorship dollars are still at a premium. The 2009 season was considered a quiet year as well, but even then 70 permits were issued. Guide Fabrizio Zangrilli, who has just arrived in Islamabad ahead of his attempt on Broad Peak, believes that economy, as well as recent flooding in the area, may be helping to keep the traffic down.
Meanwhile, a number of climbers are already in Pakistan and are either en route to their mountain of choice or are already there. Fredrik Ericsson is in Skardu and still making plans for the trek to K2 Base Camp, where he hopes to ski down the mountain. Keep an eye out for updates from Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, who should be arriving in Pakistan soon too. She has just K2 left on her list before she becomes the first woman to summit all 8000 meter peaks sans oxygen. Explorer Mike Horn is also trekking in the region right now as he continues his Pangaea Expedition. On Nanga Parbat, the Polish Team climbing there has worked it’s way up to Camp 2, while the Altitude Junkies haven’t even gone home from Kathmandu from their Everest climb, and will instead head straight to Islamabad.
I guess one good thing about this season will be that with so few teams, at least it should be fairly easy to keep track of everyone.
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