Pakistan 2012: BP Summit Push Begins, Over On Gasherbrum I?


It has been another busy 24 hours for news out of Pakistan where there were a number of updates on the status of several teams including those on the Mazeno Ridge. Bad weather is once again making things difficult, but the climbers are forging ahead as best as they can none the less.

We’ll start on the Mazeno Ridge team who we were all waiting to hear from for the past few days. Team member Cathy O’Dowd called into Exweb Headquarters yesterday to let everyone know that the team is fine and that she made it down safely from the mountain. There are also unconfirmed reports that her mates Sandy Allan and Rick Allen successfully topped out on Nanga Parbat over the weekend, but there are no details on that climb, the whereabout of Sandy and Rick (or their Sherpas) and the team’s website hasn’t been updated either. Hopefully all is well and the team is gathering back in BC, but for now lets keep our fingers crossed that they’re safe. We’ll get summit confirmation in the near future I’m sure.

On Broad Peak, the Field Touring Alpine team started up the mountain yesterday and hope to be in C3 today. If they’re able to reach that point, the plan is to establish Camp 4 tomorrow then proceed to the summit when the weather allows. Team leaders expect that to happen sometime between Friday and Sunday of this week.

Also on the move on BP is Al Hancock who was in Camp 1 yesterday and hopes to reach C2 today. He reports that the weather was awful yesterday and that the forecasts moving forward are highly unpredictable. Still, this is the probably the last chance to climb the mountain this year and he and his team need to be in position to take advantage of a window if it does open. Al says that several other strong teams, including a French squad, have turned back on their attempts after becoming physically exhausted by the strong winds and deep snow. It seems the Broad Peak season is coming to an end rapidly and may have no summits this year.

The teams on Gasherbrum I are experiencing similar bad weather which made their retreat from a weekend summit bid back to Base Camp extremely harrowing. The squad led by Louis Rousseau is now safely back down the mountain but it wasn’t an easy descent. They’re taking stock of their situation at the moment and deciding what to do next, but it seems they will likely pull the plug on the expedition tomorrow.

Stay tuned for more updates as we get them. It seems a lot of the early season expeditions are now coming to an end and the focus will begin to shift over to K2, which is always a daunting and difficult peak for even the most gifted of mountaineers.

Kraig Becker