Karakorum 2010: A Season on the Brink

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It seems like things are still quieting down in the Himalaya, and already the Karakorum is beginning to see signs of life for the 2010 season. ExWeb is reporting that teams have already begun to arrive in Pakistan, and are now making their plans for the weeks ahead.

One of the teams currently en route to the region consists of Alberto Iñurrategi, Juan Vallejo and Mikel Zabalza. This very experienced Basque team is hoping to make a complete traverse of the 26,414-foot tall Broad Peak. That mountain gets it’s name from the fact that the main summit is more than a mile in length, and there are actually three summits to conquer on the traverse itself. The team will go in alpine style, carrying all of their gear with them on a single push, after they have properly acclimatized of course.

Meanwhile, Swedish climber/skier Fredrik Ericsson has returned to the Karakorum, and is on his way to K2, where he hopes to become the first person to ski the three highest mountains in the world. He’s already knocked off Everest and Kangchenjunga, and now has just this mountain left to finish his quest. Of course, K2 is more than just any mountain however, and it will be quite treacherous to climb and ski. He, and his partner Trey Cook, an American climber/journalist, are reportedly already in Skardu, and will begin the trek to BC soon. This will be a bittersweet return for Fredrik however, as he had hoped to climb and ski the mountain last year, but his friend Michele Fait fell to his death while skiing down the mountain from Camp 2 following an acclimatization climb.

Finally, ExWeb is also reporting that an Italian team by EV KK2 CNR has arrived in the region and will be conducting two expeditions to clean-up both K2 and the Baltoro Valley. They’ll first hike through the valley, collecting garbage and other solid waste, and later they’ll head to K2 and do a sweep of the high camps, bring down refuse from there as well.

Personally, I always appreciate these stories of teams cleaning up the mountain. Both K2 and Everest have a lot of junk on them, and these efforts from a number of teams and organizations to help clean them up is always good news, especially for future climbers who hope to visit these places.

Kraig Becker

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