Karakorum 2010: It’s Over on K2

800px K2 2006b

I mentioned a few days back that most of the climbers had now abandoned K2 Base Camp and were beginning the long trek back to Skardu. At the time though, two climbers were up in Camp 3 and hoping to make a summit bid this weekend. Now, according to ExWeb, they to have given up their climb, and it looks like the season is finally over in the Karakorum.

Kazakh climbers Maxut Zhumayev and Vassiliy Pivtsov were hoping to be in Camp 4 today and go to the summit tonight, but forecasts now show a storm headed towards K2, and the two very talented and experienced climbers elected to go back down to BC. There is still a chance however that they may give it one more shot, although conditions have gotten so bad on the mountain that it is unlikely that they’ll do so. K2 is the final 8000 meter peak for these two men.

As expected, the Field Touring Alpine squad picked-up camp and left K2 yesterday. Their leader, Fabrizio Zangrilli, says that the fresh snow and ice that helped keep the mountain safe is now gone, and it has been replaced with dangerous, old ice, and loose rock everywhere. This has made the routes very unstable, and usually is the signal to the end of the season. It looks like K2 will go another year without a summit. When you contrast that to the 500+ that reached the top of Everest this year, you begin to understand just how difficult this mountain is to climb.

It has been a sad season on K2. The loss of Fredrik Ericsson has weighed heavily on everyone. I think they all now turn for home with heavy hearts. Maybe next year they can stand on top and honor their friend.

Kraig Becker