Karakorum 2010: Teams Reaching K2 Base Camp

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It seems that things are about to get very interesting on K2, the world’s second tallest peak. It may be some 800 feet shorter than Everest, but it is orders of magnitude more difficult to climb. Still, there are a slate of experienced and talented climbers that are hoping to stand on top of what is considered by many to be the “mountaineer’s mountain”.
The Base Camp at K2 has gotten its first inhabitants, with Fredrik Ericsson and Trey Cook arriving yesterday. The pair intends to make a ski descent of the mountain later this year, and have slowly been making their way along the trekking route to BC. According to the most recent update on their blog, it took 19 porters to get all of their gear into place, but they are still missing some of their gear, which they left behind in Hushe when they were unable to find enough porters to carry it all. They’re hoping it will be delivered in the near future however.

Fredrik and Trey took their time in reaching Base Camp in part because they were acclimatizing along the way, but also because they went along a different route than the typical trek across the Baltoro Glacier. They also took some time to attempt a climb, and ski descent,  on Laila Peak, a steep 20,000 foot mountain in the region. They gave up on a summit bid due to the high risk of avalanches however, and they are now happy to be at K2, and preparing for the tough climb ahead.

They won’t be alone in BC for long as ExWeb is reporting that Giuseppe Pompili’s team will be arriving either today or tomorrow following a crossing of the Gondogoro La pass, the same route that Fredrik and Trey took in. The Field Touring Alpine Team, which includes Meagan McGrath, should be reaching BC today as well. They have a second group that is lagging behind some, but will be joining them in the days ahead. 

Other teams are in various stages of their approach as well, with Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner arriving in Pakistan over the weekend. She is hoping to become the first woman to nab all 14 8000 meter peaks without the use of supplemental oxygen. She has just the daunting task of summitting K2 ahead of her to completing that task. 

Kinga Baranowska is also on her way after catching a flight to Skardu. She notes this is the first time that she’s ever flown into the town and usually makes the journey via the Krakorum Highway, which takes upwards of 30 hours to complete. I’m sure she’s enjoying being there without already being exhausted. 

Stay tuned for more from the mountain soon. 

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