Karakorum 2010: The Stage Is Set On K2

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It was a very busy weekend on the world’s second highest peak as teams scrambled up the slopes on K2 to put themselves into a position to summit tomorrow. A predicted weather window looks like it should arrive on schedule, and the mountaineers are now poised to stand on top of “the Savage Mountain.”

Perhaps the two men most looking forward to reaching the summit are Fredrik Ericsson and his partner Trey Cook. They were the first to arrive in Base Camp, and have been diligently working away at the mountain ever since. According to their latest update, which was sent yesterday, the boys were above 7100 meters and safely into Camp 3, with the home team reporting that they sounded strong and anxious to get on with the climb. If everything went as expected, they should be in C4 now, and setting off shortly for the summit. Remember, they also hope to ski back down the mountain, which sounds like a crazy endeavor to me.

Also in Camp 4 today is Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner and climbing partner/husband Ralf Dujmovits. They’re preparing to make the final push to the summit as well, and if they are successful in their push, Gerlinde will become the first woman to summit all fourteen 8000 meter peaks without the use of supplemental oxygen. This isn’t her first go around on this mountain however, so you can bet she is eager to scratch it off her list as well.

The Field Touring Alpine squad is on K2 now as well, and while most of them are hunkered down in Camp 2, and waiting their turn on the next weather window, team leader Fabrizio Zangrilli is up in Camp 4 and working cooperatively with Ralf, Gerlinde, and others to set the route to the summit. Fabrizio hopes to reach the top of the mountain along with the rest of the lead teams tomorrow. He’ll then return with the FTA team next week sometime. The entire team is fit and in good spirits, and ready to go after acclimatizing on Broad Peak.

The K2 climb is over before it ever started for Mike Horn and Kobi Reichen, who topped out on Broad Peak last week, but due to all the time they spent there waiting out the weather, they have given up their attempt to bag a second peak in the Karakorum this summer. Horn will now continue his Pangea Expedition.

Stay tuned for big news from Pakistan in the next 24 hours, and keep your fingers crossed that everything goes okay up there, and everyone gets down safe.

Kraig Becker

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