Karakoram 2011: It’s Over On K2’s South Side, North Side Teams Staying In Camp I

800px K2 2006b

More updates from K2 today, as the team on the North Side stays put, while the final team on the South calls it quits.

Yesterday I posted the news that the international team on the North Side of the mountain had moved up to Camp I, where they were planning to evaluate the weather and conditions on the mountain before they proceeded any higher. Forecasts look good for the next few days, and it appears that there could be a weather window for a summit bid coming this weekend. Yesterday however, a lot of snow was deposited on the mountain once again, which has made conditions treacherous once again. Because of this, the team has elected to stay in Camp I for another day with the hopes that it will help clear some of the excess snow from the upper slopes.

According to Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner and Ralf Dujmovits’ home team, the plan is to now head up to Camp II, located at 6600 meters (21,653 ft) tomorrow. Avalanches above CI have made the climb dangerous today, but apparently much of the loose snow has been sliding off the mountain, so they’re feeling confident about their ability to climb higher tomorrow.

Spending an extra day in Camp I shouldn’t impact the team’s schedule much. They had already built in a one-day cushion for the climb and still expect to top out on Sunday, weather permitting.

Meanwhile, on the South Side of K2, Fabrizio Zangrilli and Kinga Baranowska have called it quits. After more than two months in Base Camp, the duo were running out of time and supplies, so they have elected to head home. In fact, Fabrizio says that they are already back in Islamabad, after spending three days trekking out and two more driving out of Skardu.

The decision came after climbing back up to Camp II and evaluating the conditions higher on the mountain. Zangrilli described them as “very dangerous” and with weather forecasts not looking particularly promising on their side of the mountain, he and Kinga thought it best to pull the plug. They are already planning a return for 2012 however, and wishing the North Side team the best of luck on their final bid.

So, we’re down to just one team on K2. Will they be the ones to finally stand on top again? We’ll find out this weekend.

Kraig Becker