Winter Climb Update: Teams Reach Gasherbrum BC


The weekend was a busy one for the major winter climbs in the Karakoram, with two teams reaching Base Camp on their mountain, while two others continued to work the routes on their peaks.

We’ll start on K2, where the Russians now say that they have completely repaired the damage to their Camps 1 and 2. You may recall that last week the mountain was hit with hurricane force winds, which tore up BC and the higher camps. C1 was hit the worst, but the entire mountain felt the wrath of that storm. As a result, it took a few days to get everything back to they way that they wanted it, but now they seem to be back on track and returning to fixing the ropes up to Camp 3.

The weather hasn’t been great since their arrival, and yesterday the team saw the sun for the first time in ten days. It didn’t last however, and after just 30 minutes, the clouds returned and conditions took a turn for the worse. Despite the cold, high winds, and snow, the team diligently goes about its work however, knowing they have no chance of success unless they simply get on with it.

Over on Nanga Parbat, Denis Urubko and Simone Moro elected to take a few days of rest after learning about the death of their friend Mario Merelli, who perished while climbing in the Dolomites last week. They haven’t posted any updates to their status since last week, which should lead us to believe that they are still in BC and planning their next move. They are joined on that mountain by a Polish squad, who had also been working the route and had completed their first round of acclimatization by building Camp 1 as well.

The other mountain receiving plenty of attention is Gasherbrum I, where two teams arrived in Base Camp over the weekend. The first was a Polish Team who reported that there is about a half-meter of snow in BC when they arrived on Saturday. They noted that they would spend the first few days establishing their camp, which is located at 5030 meters (16,502 ft), before they start heading up the mountain, and they reiterated that they will be on GI for the next two months.

Also reaching Base Camp on Gasherbrum I was Alex Txikon and Carlos Suarez. Reportedly conditions on the final trek to BC were good, and the weather was actually cooperative, but temperatures are extremely cold and there is plenty of snow higher up the mountain. Much like their Polish counterparts, Alex and Carlos will spend a few days getting organized and making their camp comfortable before they being their ascent.

Kraig Becker