Pakistan 2012: More News From K2

While I was away at the Outdoor Retailer convention last week there was more news trickling in from Pakistan where the good weather was producing successful summits on K2, a notoriously tough mountain that has eluded many climbers in recent years. We already knew that there were more than 25 people that topped out on the mountain, but there have since been a couple of notable additions to the list.

One of the climbers who added K2 to his already impressive resume is Austrian Christian Stangl. The “Skyrunner” is known for his speed climbs on the Seven Summits and other big mountains, but for the past few years he’s been focused on his Triple Seven Summits project during which he has been slowly but surely climbing the three highest mountains on each continent. Last week he managed to knock off K2, without oxygen no less, to claim his 20th peak. That leaves him with just Mt. Shkhara, a tough 5193 meter (17,040 ft) mountain located in the Balkans of Georgia to reach his goal.

Also summiting without the use of supplemental oxygen was Polish climber Adam Bielecki and Spanish mountaineer Oscar Cadiach. Bielecki’s team posted a video of him at the summit, which you’ll find below and even if you don’t speak Polish, I think you can still hear the exhaustion, relief and joy in his voice. It also gives you a good look at what the top of K2 looks like.

Finally, no updates from Al Hancock since I left last week, which leads me to believe that he may be on his summit push as well. If that’s true, we should get word in the next day or two on his progress as well.

The Pakistani climbing season will be finishing up very quickly now and despite its rather slow and difficult start, it is start to look like a very successful one. At least on K2, which has seen more success this year than it has seen in the past five years combined. Congratulations to everyone who managed to stand on top. Impressive work on one very tough hill.

Kraig Becker