The international team of climbers on K2 continue their long, slow, exhausting summit bid today. The attempt started last Tuesday and as of yesterday, the four person group was into Camp 4, amidst good weather and near perfect conditions. But with lots of snow on the upper slopes, there are still plenty of hazards to overcome before they stand on top.
According to the latest update on Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner’s website, the team has elected to spend today in C4, where they’ll rest and work on fixing lines. There are no ropes going to the summit, so they’ll have to put them in place as they go, and considering this push has already gone on for two days longer than planned, they can use some time to recharge the batteries before the final ascent.
As expected, a weather window has indeed opened, and we’re told that it has brought clear skies and virtually no wind. Above Camp 4 however, there is still waist deep snow that is impeding progress. They did manage to break a bit of trail and get a few lines in place before turning back to rest, and the hope is that tomorrow, they’ll be able to cover the same ground much more quickly and move into an area with less snow. If that happens, they may have a real shot at reaching the summit.
In addition to Gerlinde, this team also includes Maxut Zhumayev, Vassily Pivtsov, and Darek Zaluski. The four are all that remain on the mountain, as all other teams have already left Base Camp and gone home for the year. Two other members of this team, Ralf Dujmovits and Tommy Henrich, have both descended back to BC, where they await their companions.
Stay tuned. Tomorrow will likely be the decisive day on K2 this year.
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