Karakorum 2010: Summit Push Begins!

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It seems that the projected weather windows in the Karakorum are opening as expected, and a number of teams, on a variety of mountains, including K2, are now preparing to begin their summit push.

Starting on K2, Fredrik Ericsson is preparing to make his ascent, and hopefully ski descent, of the mountain, with the latest update on his progress coming today. Fredrik and his partner Trey Cook hope to head up the mountain for one more acclimatization run, but the whole expedition could be in jeopardy thanks to severe frostbite on Trey’s fingers. He’s been treating them with Amoxicilline for the past few days, and he’s going to give them one last chance on the climb, but if they continue to be a problem, he’ll abort his attempt, and possibly prevent Fredrik from summitting as well. He has already been advised by other climbers that he should give up and head home, but Cook seems determined to climb, even at the expense of his fingertips. 

Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner and Ralf Dujmovits have already climbed up to Camp 3 on K2, and found that their acclimatization on Everest this past spring is still serving them well in the Karakorum. The husband and wife team are now back in BC, where they are watching the weather, and preparing to make their big push. If successful, Gerlinde will be the first woman to claim the fourteen 8000 meter peaks without oxygen. 

Over on Broad Peak, the Filed Touring Alpine team is preparing to make a run at the summit as well. The team is currently in Camp 2 and high winds have been blasting the summit today, but they are expected to subside over the next day or two, giving access to the summit at last. A number of other teams have already tried, and been turned back by heavy snow, so hopefully they’ll get a crack at the top while the weather is good. From there, they’ll move over to K2 to make an assault on that mountain as well. 

Similarly, the BAT Basque Team has begun their second climb on Broad Peak as well, leaving BC earlier today. They hope to be in position to complete a new route, in alpine style, by Saturday, and if the weather holds, they’ll continue on to complete a traverse of the BP’s three summits before descending back to Base Camp.

On Gasherbrum I, Don Bowie and Alexey Bolotov have begun their summit push too. They’ve reached Camp 2 on that mountain, and will be planning on head up tomorrow. They hope to successfully summit in the next few days as well, and will then evaluate conditions on the other Gasherbrum peaks to determine if they’ll continue to climb later in the season.

It’s beginning to shape up like a busy weekend in the Karakorum with a number of climbers in place to make summit bids Saturday or Sunday, which is when the weather is suppose to be at its best. Another window is expected next week too, so those that aren’t ready to go now will get another chance. 

Stay tuned!

Kraig Becker