Karakorum 2010: K2 Summit Push On, Teams Above C2


As expected, a new weather window has opened over K2, where the teams who have been patient, are finally getting another chance at the summit. Most set out on Monday, and as of updates yesterday, they were safely into Camp 2 and keeping their fingers crossed for good conditions ahead.

According to updates on Fredrik Ericsson’s website, he and Trey Cook have begun their ascent, with Trey setting out a day early in order to gain a rest day in Camp 3. As of yesterday, Trey was already in C3 and waiting for his teammate to join him. Frederik called in from Camp 2, where he reported good weather with clear skies and low winds. The forecast for today was for a few more clouds, but nothing too serious. The boys are eying a summit on Friday, when the weather is expected to be perfect. If they do summit, they’ll then attempt a ski descent of the mountain, which means getting down won’t be any less scary than going up, although it will be faster.

Gerlinde and Ralf are also eying an August 6th summit, and a brief update to her website yesterday indicated that they had begun their second summit bid as well. The note said that they are feeling “positive and strong”, which is a good attitude to have on this mountain. While every climber there hopes to see the summit, Gerlinde is probably especially looking forward to it, as it would be her final 8000 meter peak sans oxygen.

Meanwhile, the Field Touring Alpine Blog reports that guide Fabrizio Zangrilli and climber Meagan McGrath reached C2 yesterday as well amidst very warm weather. They noted that the climb to Camp 2 was a challenging one thanks to the loose rock in the lower portion of the mountain, but that it got easier as they went higher. They also said that the warm conditions have melted much of the snow from the face, meaning that they’ll have good climbing up to the Shoulder, where they’ll camp tomorrow night before making the summit bid. They’re hoping that the lack of snow continues up on the higher portions of the mountain, as a number of climbers turned around last week due to the massive amounts of snow they encountered.

Finally, a number of climbers from the other mountains in the region, including Broad Peak and the Gasherbrums have already finished their expeditions and are now back in Skardu where they have been stranded for several days. Severe flooding in Pakistan has made it impossible for them to begin the journey overland back to Islamabad, and now they’re waiting for transport by air. Talk about extending the expedition! I know when I’m done and ready to come home, that these kind of delays would cause frustration.

Kraig Becker