Winter Climb Updates: Hurricane On K2


The winter climbs in the Karakoram are now in full swing, with the teams either already in Base Camp or en route to their respective mountains. It is the dead of winter in Pakistan, and the weather there is starting to reflect that season, and while these climbers know what they are in for, that doesn’t mean that they’ll be suffering any less.

On K2, the Russian squad has now felt the full force of the winds on that mountain. The team has now established Camp 2 at 6350 meters (20,833 ft) and even begun to fix lines above that point, but yesterday they were hit by high winds (120km/h/75mph) that destroyed BC and more than likely shredded C1 and 2 as well. The entire group was safely in Base Camp at the time, and the plan is for them to begin heading back up the mountain today to rebuild their camps – that is if the weather allows it. The forecast says that the week ahead should be better, with winds dying off and little snowfall. Hopefully that will provide the weather window they need to continue their work.

On Nanga Parbat they’re dealing with weather of a different kind. Denis Urubko reports in that it is a foggy and dark day on the mountain today and that they received 15cm (6 inches) of new snow in BC over night. That was enough to keep him and Simone Moro in BC for the day out of fear of avalanches higher up, but the Polish team that is in Base Camp with them decided to go up the mountain as they begin their acclimatization rotations.

A second Polish squad has set its sights on climbing Gasherbum I this winter and they have been busy preparing for that climb. They sent word over the weekend that they would leave Skardu for Askole by jeep yesterday and expected to start their trek to BC today. That should take roughly a week or so to complete, depending on trail conditions. Joining them in GI Base Camp will be Alex Txikon and Carls Suarez, who should be en route to that mountain today as well.

The GI Polish team also released a video update from Skardu which you can check out below.

Kraig Becker