Karakoram 2011: Bad Weather Hits The Karakoram

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r last update on the 2011 climbing season in the Karakoram, more teams have arrived in their respective Base Camps, but many have been held back from climbing much higher thanks to bad weather. This is typical of the early part of the season, and at this point no one is panicking, although if conditions remain bad, it could impact their ability to acclimatize.

Fabrizio Zangrilli reports that his team arrived in Base Camp on K2 over the weekend, after just a five day journey in from Askoli. But heavy snows at BC have forced them to wait for the expected change in weather. For now, they sit and wait, resting and eating, and preparing for the opportunity to go up. Meanwhile, we also get word that Christian Stangl has left for Pakistan, and is expected to be in K2 BC in a week or two.

The Field Touring Alpine squad will eventually head over to K2 as well, but they’ve been acclimatizing on Broad Peak. After spending three nights at Camp 3, the team has descended to Base Camp, where the weather has put them in a holding pattern for now as well. They are hoping to begin their summit bids on either Wednesday or Thursday of this week, before they jump over to the second objective. Similarly, the Altitude Junkies are also in BC on Broad Peak and are waiting for a weather window of their own.

Over on the Gasherbrum Massif, Gerfried Göschl checks in with the news that his team has also completed a round of acclimatization and are resting before heading back up for more. The team is hoping to summit both GI and GII, and while things are going well on the first of those peaks, Gerfried reports that avalanche dangers on GII are keeping them from going higher than 6200 meters (20,341 feet) at the moment. They’re hoping that will change in the days ahead.

It seems that if everything goes as planned, we could see a few summits in the Karakoram later this week, particularly on Broad Peak. We’re weeks away from summit bids on K2 at this point however, which is were the real action will be heading into August.

Kraig Becker