One of the big expeditions for the winter ahead is the attempt to summit K2 by an all-star team of Russian climbers. Considering the fact that the “Savage Mountain” has never been climbed in the winter, and is amongst the most challenging feats in all of mountaineering under the best of conditions, this project is likely to garner quite a bit of attention in the weeks ahead.
According to the official expedition website, the climbing team arrived in Pakistan today and have been working to get their gear through customs. Once that is completed, they’ll ship it all to Skardu, which is where they’ll begin the next phase of their journey to K2 base camp. If all goes according to plan, they should arrive in BC sometime next week, just in time for the start of winter.
Standing 8611 meters (28,251 ft) in height, K2 is the second tallest mountain on the planet behind only Everest. It is considered to be far more challenging to climb however and is often labeled “the mountaineer’s mountain” because of the skill and experience required to reach the top. In August of 2008, 11 climbers perished on it’s slopes in what was considered the prime climbing season for the mountain. It then went un-climbed for three years before an international team managed to reach the summit earlier this year.
A winter K2 attempt will likely be the very definition of suffering. The Russian squad will no doubt face incredibly cold temperatures, sustained high winds, heavy snows, and the ever present threat of avalanches. In short, this will be one of the toughest climbs imaginable, although if anyone can pull it off, it will likely be this hardy band of Russians who are accustomed to dealing with these types of conditions.
They are prepared to stay on the mountain for upwards of three months and they have plans to work in teams of two to fix lines and build camps. Whether or not the weather, and the mountain itself, will ever give them the opportunity at the summit, remains to be seen.
This is going to be a good one to follow. Stay tuned for updates.
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