The big winter climbs that I’ve been covering, even before they’ve gotten underway, are both ramping up nicely and getting ready to commence. Considering the first full day of winter is tomorrow, the climbers are all in the final stages of preparation and are preparing to let the action begin.
First up, the Russian K2 team took just two days to reach Skardu, arriving there on Saturday. Since then, they’ve been busy getting their gear prepped for the climb and packing it for transport to Base Camp. Most of the equipment will be shipped via helicopter, where it will be waiting for them to arrive, and while the support crew works at putting the final touches on their preparation work, the eight climbers who will be working the mountain have started their acclimatization process. They’ll spend a few days climbing the nearby Sadpara Mountains, before heading into BC itself. The hope is to arrive their by Sunday, Christmas Day, when they’ll officially start the expedition.
Meanwhile, Lonnie Dupre is also putting the finishing touches on his preparations to take on Denali once again. He’s also keeping a close eye on the weather as well. According to his website, he’ll be off to Base Camp as soon as his air taxi can deliver him to the frozen wilderness. Dupre is returning to the mountain once again this winter in an attempt to become the first person to solo-summit in the month of January. To that end, he hopes to be in position on January 1st so that he has a full 31 days to accomplish his goal. Last year, his attempt was thwarted by bad weather, which is a common occurrence on North America’s tallest peak during the winter.
Both of these climbs are going to be epic. Lonnie’s solo bid on Denali is a bold mountaineering feat and the Russian K2 squad could be attempting the impossible. For those of us who love to follow these kinds of adventures, it is certainly going to be fun to watch. Lets just hope everyone stays very safe.
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