Karakoram 2011: Teams Arriving In Base Camps


News from the Karakoram has been a bit slow thus far this year, in part because most of the climbers have still been en route to their intended peaks. Travel has been made all the more challenging, as some have had to make the trip overland while flights have been grounded throughout the region. But, the teams have begun arriving at last and have started their acclimatization process.

While the Karakoram has plenty of majestic and challenging peaks, the crown jewel is of course K2. Gerfried Göschl and his team hope to eventually give that mountain a go, along a new route no less. But they arrived in Base Camp on Gasherbrum I last Thursday, where they will make a warm-up climb first, then assess their chances of a summit on the world’s second highest mountain. Reportedly, the team was headed up to Camp 1, located at 5900 meters (19,356 feet) over the weekend, but they are expected back in BC today to report on their progress thus far.

Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner and her squad should be at K2 Base Camp by now, although she hasn’t posted any updates since she set out for the Karakoram nearly two weeks ago. She is hoping to finish off the last of the 8000 meter peaks on her list. Also reportedly on her way to BC is Kinga Baranowska, the talented Polish mountaineer who has already topped out on Dhaluagiri, Kangchenjunga, Cho Oyu, and numerous other peaks. She’s hoping to add the Savage Mountain to her resume as well. There are some indications that Christian Stangl may climb under the same permit as Kinga as well.

Meanwhile, according to Everest News, the Polish-Ukraining team led by Jacek Teler has arrived on the Gasherbrums and has already begun working the mountain. The team hopes to go for a double summit of GI and GII, and have already started establishing their high camps in preparation.

Finally, contrary to earlier reports that Ueli Steck would be in the Karakoram this summer, the Swiss climber has decided to pass on the season there. No word yet on what the speed climber will be up to next, but I’m sure he’ll be planning and training for something.

Stay tuned. Hopefully we’ll get more detailed and updated reports form Pakistan soon.

Kraig Becker