Yesterday turned out to be a historic day on K2, a notoriously difficult mountain and the second highest peak in the world. I reported early on that Tunc Findik and his climbing mates had topped out and were safely back in Camp 4, but with the weather window wide open there was hope for success out of other teams as well. In the end, a least 23 climbers stood on the summit, the most ever for a single day, putting a triumphant exclamation point on a Pakistani climbing season that has been difficult to say the least.
Late in the day yesterday I received news via email that the climbers who summited not only included Tunc, Azim and Fabrice as previously reported, but also a contingent of 16 Nepalese Sherpas led by Chhang Dawa Sherpa who claimed his 12th 8000-meter peak. Dawa relayed the news of the team’s success to Nazir Sabir, who works with Pakistan’s Expeditions Office and is handling the group while they are the country. At the time most of the climbers had already safely descended back to Camp 4 and were preparing to come down to Base Camp today. Dawa said that there were three other climbers on the summit as well, but their identities were not given at the time. (Big thanks to Clyde Soles for passing along this information, which he received directly from Nazir Sabir himself.)
Meanwhile, there is news of further summit success on K2 today as Peter Hamor and Pavel Bem are now confirmed to have topped out as well. In a brief statement on Peter’s website we’re told that the duo reached the top at 11:15 AM local time and arrived safely back at Camp 4 a few hours later. The men completed the climb without the use of supplemental oxygen and are now resting before continuing their descent. Congratulations to Peter and Pavel on accomplishing their mission too.
Staying on K2 for a moment, Al Hancock posted an update on his progress yesterday as well and while he wasn’t amongst the climbers topping out just yet, he and his teammates have been making steady progress. They’ve managed to shuttle gear up to Camp 2 and have now returned to BC for a rest before heading back up the mountain to supply Camp 3 and 4. If the weather holds, they could begin their summit push in the next few days. Al reports that he was very happy to see the sun and have the weather turn in their favor. After spending several weeks on Broad Peak he never really got the opportunity to make a true summit attempt on that mountain thanks to heavy snows and high winds. Hopefully the weather on K2 will hold out long enough for the squad to take a crack at the summit.
Speaking of Broad Peak, there was news of successful summits from that mountain yesterday as well. ExWeb reports that the Iranian team of Reza and Sohbatollah Bahadorani were able to finally complete their climb and Nazir Sabir says Chinese climbers Ms. Wang Jing and her partner Mr. Zhang Liang also summited with the assistance of their two Sherpa Guides.
In the same report mentioned above, ExWeb says that a team of Andalucia climbers have also managed to summit Gasherbrum II, another peak that had turned back all previous attempts this season. No details on that climb were given however so we’ll have to wait to see if we learn more.
It appears that patience has payed off for the teams that were able to stay in Pakistan and wait for the weather to turn in their favor. Most of the climbers have headed for home but the few that had open travel plans were able to stay and take advantage of the shift in conditions. How long this current window will stay open remains to be seen, but it is great to see these dedicated men and women finally getting their opportunity.
Congratulations to all of the teams on their fantastic success. Please be careful on those descents and get down safely.
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