K2 Controversy Update: Summit Photo A Fake!

K2 CONTROVERSY: Yesterday I posted a story about the controversy that flared up over Christian Stangl’s K2 summit claims while I was away last week. As I mentioned when I wrote that piece, I wasn’t the least bit surprised that there were questions over the validity of the climb considering the evidence that we had been given. Today, the issue is a moot point, as Stangl now admits he did not summit and that the photo was a fake all along.

ExWeb, as usual, has the full scoop on the story, which seems to get weirder and weirder even as the truth continues to emerge. ExWeb editors analyzed Stangl’s alleged summit photo and compared it to previous shots from the top of K2, and were able to discern some differences that seemed to indicate the Austrian’s photo was taken at a lower altitude. When they asked Stangl to comment one last time before they ran their latest article, which included the photo, he cracked, confessing to the faking the whole thing.

This is where things really start to get odd though, as Christian says that he “entered a trance-like state in which I really got convinced that I had reached the highest point” and that this confused state was brought on by “stress and fear of failure.”

He then went on to say that the summit photo was shot at Camp 3, although some are still wondering if that is the full truth or not, as none of the other climbers or Sherpas saw footprints above Camp 1. This begs the question as to if the photo was even taken this year, as Stangl has been on K2 before, and reportedly reached as high as 8300 meters later year.

I’m sure most of you aren’t all that surprised by the revelation that the photo, and his elaborate story of the ascent, were all fake. There were questions about is claims almost from the time they were reported, and his very quick exit from Base Camp was also a bit on the odd side.

I guess his confession and explanation today does clear up one thing however, as we all know that his spotting of a snow leopard had to have occurred while in this strange, confused state.

You have to hand it to him, Christian does have a vivid imagination!

Kraig Becker

5 thoughts on “K2 Controversy Update: Summit Photo A Fake!”

  1. Looks like someone's sponsorship funds are going to dry up real soon!

    Personally I wouldn't be able to lie like that – eventually I would fess up. Seems like the only way for Stangl to redeem himself is to try K2 again, but have some independent witnesses there to verify the climb.

    Somewhat off topic – Would anyone know or have an opinion on the best martial art that is applicable to mountain climbing, i.e. one that serves as the best training for mountain climbing?

    I seem to remember reading something years ago in Men's Journal or some other magazine, and I thought they recommended taekwondo. If I remember correct, taekwondo was developed by higher altitude living Koreans, and focuses on the legs.

    Thanks for any recommendations!

  2. I have to agree with you Wade, Christian has a lot of work to do to reclaim his reputation. He's quite capable of making the climb, it's a shame that it came down to this.

    Interesting question on a martial art for climbing. I don't have any specific recommendations, but I can tell you that I studied Ying Jow Pai Eagle Claw Kung Fu for years, and it was an incredible aerobic workout. Great for all around flexibility and strength as well. That style is incredibly hard to find a school for, but just about any type of "northern style kung fu" will offer a similar workout.

    I was even fortunate enough to have an opportunity to train kung fu at the Shaolin Temple in China. Talk about a workout!

  3. That's really unfortunate; I feel bad for him. He's hosed himself.

    Congrats to ExWeb for working on it; there needs to be some substantiation for these claims.

  4. I feel bad for him as well Buzz. This has not been the character that we've seen from Christian in the past, and I suppose he just got caught up in the race and the stress did indeed get to him. I applaud him for coming clean rather than holding on to the lie for years to come as some have done in the past.

    And yes, ExWeb did a great job of following up on the story and presenting it in a fair way. Top notch work as always from the team over there.

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