As I mentioned last week, now that the spring climbing season in Nepal and Tibet is wrapped up, many climbers are now headed to Pakistan to take on the massive peaks that exist in that country. Those mountains include Nanga Parbat, the Gasherbrums, Broad Peak and of course K2. Teams have now begun to arrive in Islamabad and some have even started their journeys toward their respective mountains, most of which are located in such remote areas that it’ll take them days just to get to Base Camp.
As usual, it appears there will be a number of expeditions heading to each of the 8000-meter Pakistani peaks this spring. Some are going with a single specific goal in mind, such as Tunc Findik’s efforts to summit Nanga Parbat. He arrived in country this past weekend and is now getting ready to depart the capital for BC. Tunc hopes to summit the mountain without the use of supplemental oxygen. His team obviously won’t be the only one on the mountain this summer, as it is actually expected to be quite crowded in Base Camp there, particularly with a large international team that is said to include nearly 20 climbers. One team, consisting of Pakistani climbers Karim Hayyat, Naseer Uddin and Sher Khan is actually already in BC.
Broad Peak will once again be a point of focus with some teams using the mountain as a warm-up before taking on K2. One of the more high profile climbs will be led by Jacek Berbeka, the brother of Maciej Berbeka, who perished on the mountain along with Tomasz Kowalski this past winter. The two men bagged the first winter summit of BP but died upon the descent .Jacek hopes to scale the mountain where he hopes to bring the body of his brother and his friend down to Base Camp or give them a proper burial on the mountain. That should be an emotional expedition to follow indeed.
Also on BP will be the German team led by Michael Haselsteiner and Reinhard Auzinger. The group has been in Pakistan for a few days now and have already begun their trek to Base Camp. On Friday the team left Askole, the final populated village before hitting the trail and they have been on the March ever since. The plan is to arrive in BC on Wednesday of this week and then get started with the acclimatization process.
On the Gasherbrums perhaps the most audacious climb will be the attempt by Polish alpinists Artur Hajzer and Marcin Kaczkan to summit both GI and GII without oxygen. They arrived in Islamabad yesterday and will spend a few days there organizing gear before departing for the mountains.
K2 will have at least two teams attempting to climb it this year. One is Japanese squad and the other is a mixed international team organized by Lela Peak. As always, those teams will have one of the toughest challenges in all of mountaineering ahead of them as the “Savage Peak” is relentless and unforgiving.
Stay tuned for more updates as the season begins to ramp up more fully. I’ll add new teams to my watch list as their websites become known. It should be another interesting summer in Pakistan.