Pakistan 2012: Mazeno Ridge Expedition Not Done Yet, Summit Bid Stalled On GI

It was another busy and dramatic weekend in Pakistan where the climbing teams continued to chase their respective summits, which have proven to be elusive thus far.

Last week was a roller coaster ride for those following the Mazeno Ridge team. First it was reported that they successfully summited Nanga Parbat along the extremely long approach and a few days later we learned that they hadn’t topped out at all and the reports of their success were a translation error. At that time they were low on food and fuel and the weather conditions were not very cooperative in allowing them get to the summit.

Over the weekend the team actually split into two groups, with Cathy O’Dowd and the support Sherpa’s electing to head down the mountain along an unknown route while Sandy Allan and Rick Allen decided to attempt to go back up the mountain for another attempt on the summit. Since then there have been no updates and now after three days there has to be some concern over the team’s condition and whereabouts. Lets keep our fingers crossed that they are able to descend safely.

Meanwhile, over on Gasherbrum I , Louis Rousseau’s team was turned back from their summit bid this weekend as well. On Friday they were in Camp 2 and hoped to climb to Camp 3 on Saturday with the hope that a predicted weather window would open today. But the route to C3 was covered with heavy snow, making it impossible for them to reach that point.

On top of that, the window hasn’t opened at all and GI is now reported being hit with a storm. As a result, the team turned back and is now on its way to Base Camp, where they hope to evaluate the situation and decide if there is hope for another summit bid. It doesn’t sound very promising at this point.

Things are looking a bit better on Broad Peak where the Field Touring Alpine squad and Al Hancock are reporting that their summit bids should begin today or tomorrow. They’re watching the weather as well and the forecast says that the summit should be accessible between the 19th and 21st of July, so they hope to be in position to take advantage of the situation by Thursday of this week. They still need to fix ropes up to Camp 4, but things are looking good for a late week summit attempt.

On K2 Tunc Findik moved up the mountain to Camp 1 over the weekend, but has since retreated back to BC due avalanche dangers and changing weather conditions. He has already established C1 and may have been hoping to go up to C2 on an acclimatization rotation and gear carry, but for now Tunc will have to be patient. K2 will certainly test those patience in the weeks ahead.

Findik isn’t alone on the mountain. Peter Hamor is also attempting K2 this summer and is currently in Base Camp as well. Peter hasn’t wasted any time on the mountain however as he has already climbed up to C2, established camp there and spent a night for acclimatization purposes. So far everything seems to be going well and on schedule.

Seems like it’s been a tough season in Pakistan so far. Lets hope there is some summit success for these climbers soon.

Kraig Becker