While all the teams in the Karakoram deal with the news of the death of Vitaly Gorelik on K2, and the subsequent end to that expedition, most are continuing to go about the work necessary to give their expeditions a chance at claiming a winter summit.
Perhaps the hardest hit by the news of Vitaly’s death was Denis Urubko, who was close friends with the Russian climber. Denis posted some thoughts on his fallen comrade on his blog today, which he had time to write thanks to an aborted summit push by him and climbing partner Simone Moro. The two men had hoped to begin the final stage of their climb yesterday, but they were unable to take advantage of a current weather window on Nanga Parbat due to deep snow and high levels of avalanche danger above Camp 1. Because of those conditions, the two have now descended back to Base Camp, where they’ll wait for the snow to settle and another window to open.
Over on Gasherbrum I, Alex Txikon has aslo written about the loss of Vitaly and sent his condolences and respects along to the Russian team that is still there. He also reports extremely cold weather in GI Base Camp, with temperatures dropping below -30ºC/-22ºF. Winds are also extremely high and the generally poor weather conditions are keeping him, along with teammate Carlos Suarez, in BC at the moment. Presumably, the Polish team on that mountain is there as well, as they have not posted an update since last week.
Hopefully a break in the weather will come soon so these teams can get back to work and Denis and Simone can get a real crack at their summit. Stay tuned.