Karakoram 2011: Summit Push On K2 Begins Now!

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After weeks of preparations, acclimatization, and patiently waiting, it appears to be go time on K2, where several teams are preparing to head up today and begin a summit push. If they are successful, it’ll be the first time that anyone has stood on top of that mountain since the tragic 2008 season, when 11 people perished on August 1st, which just so happens to also be today’s date.

Fabrizio Zangrili has finally updated his blog for the first time in a month, and he notes that his team will begin moving up today. He has worked closely with Kinga Baranowska, Christian Stangl, Gerfried Goschl, Bruno Buchet and others to set the lines up to Camp 3, and they will all work together towards the summit. The plan is to set out at 2 AM local time tonight, with the hopes of topping out on Friday of this week, weather, and the mountain, permitting. They seem fairly confident about the weather window ahead, although there is a lot of snow on the higher sections of the mountain.

Joining that all-star group above will be several climbers from the Field Touring Alpine squad as well. In total, about 15 climbers will set out together later today, with the hopes that they’ll reach Camp 2 tomorrow, Camp 3 on Wednesday, and Camp 4 on Thursday. If that plan comes together, they’ll push to the summit on Friday.

Meanwhile, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner and her team have returned to BC on the North Side of the mountain after spending some time resting and regaining strength at lower altitudes. They’ll also begin an ascent today with the intent of going up to 8000 meters (26,246 ft) where they’ll establish their Camp 4. Once that is accomplished, they’ll evaluate their options and most likely decide if they’re ready to go up to the summit, or return to BC as well. Once C4 is in place however, it is usually the launching pad to the top.

It looks like the first week of August is once again the busy time on K2. Good luck to all the climbers. We’ll all be collectively holding our breaths until you get down safe.

Kraig Becker

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