Karakoram 2011: Final K2 Summit Bid Is Underway!


It has been a long season on K2 already, with many ups and downs along the way. But today, the climbers on the North Side of the mountain began their final climb, reaching Camp 1, as they make one last attempt on the summit this year.

According to an update posted to Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner’s site, the entire international team met for breakfast this morning and discussed their plans. Apparently after resting for a few days in the Chinese Base Camp, they are now more than ready to go back up. The weather reports look solid for the next few days, and they have moved up to C1 today, with an eye on reaching the summit by Sunday, August 21st.

According to Maxut Zhumayev, the weather should continue to get better as the week goes along, with the best window opening up on the weekend. Between now and then however, plenty of snow is expected on the higher elevations, which could make breaking trail to Camp 4 particularly challenging. Apparently the Kazakh climbers were able to work out their visa extensions as well, as Max and the rest of the crew are part of this summit push. He sent in a dispatch from Camp 1, informing us that they were all safely at their destination, and despite lots of snow, they intend to move up to C2 tomorrow and evaluate their situation from there. If the weather holds, and conditions are good, they’ll keep moving up.

There has been no word from the K2’s South Side as to whether or not Fabrizio Zangrilli and Kinga Baranowska will make another bid of their own. They’ve been in BC longer than anyone, and it appeared that they would be running low on supplies and time by the middle of this week, but if the weather looks good for them too, they may have it in them to give it one more go.

Stay tuned. This weekend will be the decisive days in the mountains for these climbers who have been extremely pa

Kraig Becker