Karakoram 2011: Climbers Reach Camp 3 On K2

800px K2 2006b

Earlier this week we received word that a major summit push was underway on K2, as a group of climbers moved up the mountain along the Cesen Route to take advantage of good weather. That group consisted of climbers such as Alex Txikon, Fabrizio Zangrilli, Kinga Baranowska, Louis Stitzinger, Christian Stangl, and Gerfried Göschl, amongst others.

While there hasn’t been a lot of updates from the climb just yet, Gerfried’s home team has posted on their progress with the news this morning that the group has reached Camp 3 at 7100 meters (23,294 ft). Gerfried tells them that the weather has been good so far and that the team is feeling good and are confident about their possibilities. He also reports that at times the snow is knee-deep, slowing progress, but at other times it drops to ankle-deep, allowing them to make better time. High winds have also swept away much of the fresh snows higher on the mountain, which is giving them encouragement for what the conditions will be like when they move up closer to the summit.

Tomorrow, the plan is to make their way along the Shoulder and establish camp at 7800 meters (25,590 ft), which would put them in position to make the final summit push on Friday as expected. At the moment, it seems that the weather window may hold out, giving them a real chance of reaching the top. If they do, they’ll be the first to summit K2 in three years, and it will be a personal vindication, and considerable redemption, for Stangl, after last year’s controversy. Personally, I’m pulling for all of them, but would love to see Christian complete the climb.

I’ll post updates as I get ’em!

Kraig Becker