While the U.S. enjoyed a long holiday weekend in celebration of Independence Day, the teams in the Karakorum continued to work towards their ultimate goals, namely to climb some of the highest, most challenging peaks on the planet.
The latest update from Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner has her safely into Base Camp on K2 yesterday. It has been a whirlwind affair for her and her team, as they barely spent a day in Islamabad before setting out on the 500+ mile road trip to Skardu, where they would begin the long trek to the Baltoro Glacier and BC itself. Today, Gerlinde and Ralf will make their first acclimatization climb today, going up the Cesen Route as they get acquainted with the mountain once again, and scout out the challenges that are ahead for this year. If she manages to reach the summit of K2, Gerlinde will become the first woman to successfully climb all of the 8000 meter peaks without the use of supplemental oxygen. A huge accomplishment to be sure.
When last we heard from Fredrik Ericsson a few days back, he was lamenting the weather at Camp 2 on K2. At the time, he and his climbing partner Trey Cook were hoping to make the hike up to C3, but poor weather was preventing them from going higher. They reported 40 mph winds with blowing snow on the mountain, which was keeping them in place, huddled inside their tent, and enjoying their sleeping bags. That report came on July 1st, ands since then we’ve heard nothing, so at this point it is impossible to know where they are on the mountain. Fredrik and Trey are hoping to summit soon however and then make a ski descent of the peak.
Over on Broad Peak, the teams are waiting to get a crack at the summit as well. Mike Horn has updated his Pangaea Expeditions Blog with the news that they are waiting for a weather window to give them the go ahead to move up the mountain, but with high winds at altitude, they’ve stayed off of Broad Peak thus far.
The Field Touring Alpine squad is on BP at the moment too, using it as a warm-up for K2. The team has cached their gear and equipment all the way up to C3 at this point, but are also reporting bad weather and high winds. In fact, Brian Block posted an audio dispatch in which he says that the forecast calls for 45cm (about 17 inches) of snow over the next few days, which will make an approach to the summit rather challenging. The hope is that things will improve later this week, and the team can make a summit bid before making the jump to K2.
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