Winter Climb Update: Holding Tight On Gasherbrum I

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The last two teams in Pakistan this winter are on Gasherbrum I (8080m/26,509 ft), where they are currently huddled in Base Camp and preparing for a major storm to hit. By all accounts, the Polish Squad and Alex Txikon and Carlos Suarez, are prepared to go to the summit, but the weather will now dictate if and when that will happen.

In his most recent dispatch, Alex says that it was a relatively quiet weekend in BC, where the teams spent the past few days preparing for the weather ahead. The forecast says that winds could be in excess of 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph), and as a result, they’ve been tying down the tents, and making sure all of their gear is properly secured. Those high winds are expected to last at least a couple of days as well, which means that there will be no attempt on the summit until things have died down.

In an earlier dispatch, the Polish team said that they didn’t expect the weather to improve dramatically until the end of the month, which isn’t until the middle of next week. If thats the case, the climbers will need to continue to be patient, while they look for a possible window ahead. They are looking to become the first to summit GI in winter, and they’ll have until March 20th to actually complete that task. Ultimately, it will be the conditions at altitude that will decide whether or not they can achieve that goal.

I suspect that there won’t be much to report from Gasherbrum I this week unless the weather does indeed take a turn for the better. Lets keep our fingers crossed for these men. I’d love to see them get a legitimate chance at the summit, but most of all, lets hope they all come home safely.

Kraig Becker