Pakistan 2013: Base Camps Open!

800px K2 2006b

As I mentioned a few days ago, the 2013 climbing season is now officially open and teams are now arriving in Base Camps across the Himalaya and Karakoram in Pakistan. Most are just starting to get settled in and are launching their first round of acclimatization rotations as they prepare for the challenges that are ahead. While there won’t be nearly as many teams in the region as there are in Nepal and Tibet in the spring, the next six weeks or so will be very busy on a number of big mountains.

The 8000-meter peaks in Pakistan have a reputation for being incredibly difficult to climb with all five of them offering its own unique challenge. Chief amongst them is K2, perhaps the toughest mountain in the world. Despite the challenges of climbing that beast, the second tallest mountain on the planet will see plenty of visitors this summer. One of them is explorer Mike Horn, who fresh off his Pangaea Expedition is not returning to the mountains. He’ll be joined by his teammates Fred Roux and Köbe Reichen, who he has climbed in Pakistan with in the past. The men left for Islamabad yesterday and aren’t like to arrive in BC until sometime next week, when they’ll begin their climb. Interestingly enough, both Mike and Fred are carrying paragliders with them and hope to sail off the summit should they reach that point.

Also departing for K2 next week is Adrian Hayes, who in the past has visited the Three Poles – North Pole, South Pole and Everest. He says he’s been planning this expedition for three years and training extremely hard for the past six months, so now he’s ready to take on the challenge too. He’ll leave for Pakistan in a week and share his experiences at every step of the way.

A Japanese team is currently trekking to K2 BC and a second team made up of international climbers is expected in country this weekend. Considering it takes a few days to organize gear once they reach Islamabad, then fly or drive to Skardu, before proceeding on to Askole by 4×4, followed by a 7-8 day trek, it’ll be a little while before Base Camp really starts to bustle.
The Broad Peak Team led by Michael Haselsteiner and Reinhard Auzinger is still trekking to Base Camp but should arrive by today. There has been little word from the group since they set out from Askole last week, but they should be close to their destination by now. Hopefully they’ll be settled into BC soon and begin sharing progress reports.

Over on Nanga Parbat, things are starting to get interesting. A Ukrainian team arrived in Base Camp there on Sunday and started their first rotation up to Camp 1 yesterday. They likely spent the night there and should be on their way back to BC today. Meanwhile, Polish climber Artur Hajzer is now en route to Skardu before he head s to Nanga as well.

Finally, ExWeb is reporting that a German team is headed for the Gasherbrums to climb both GI and GII. They should have arrived in Skardu today before proceeding on from there. ExWeb also says that Spaniard Patxi Goni and Oscar Cadiach are teaming to take on Hidden Peak this summer as well.

Stay tuned for more in the days ahead. The Pakistani climbing season is just ramping up and we’ll have plenty of more news to come in the weeks ahead.

Kraig Becker

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