Pakistan 2014: Historic Weekend on K2

K2 Nordseite

It was a very busy, and successful, weekend on the world’s toughest mountain. As predicted, a good weather window stayed open through yesterday, allowing numerous teams to reach the summit of the mountain on both days, and it doesn’t seem that that window has closed just yet, as other climbers are still on the move.

Yesterday, a team of international climbers that included Alan Arnette topped out on schedule. The team set out from Camp 4 at 10:40 PM Saturday evening, and reached the summit around 5:45 AM on Sunday morning. Joining Alan on the top of K2 were Matthew Dupuy, Garrett Madison, Kami Rita Sherpa, Fur Kancha Sherpa, and Kami Tshering Sherpa. There hasn’t been a dispatch following the news of the successful summit, although I would expect one soon. Alan did follow up on Twitter however, simply saying “K2 summit unbelievable hard.”

Alan did release an audio dispatch while he was on the summit, and you can tell from the sound of his voice that it was an incredibly moving and personal moment for him to reach the top. He has been using his various mountaineering expeditions over the past few years to raise money for the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund – a cause that is very near, and dear, to his heart – and this climb was a culmination of all of those efforts. I expect that we’ll get another dispatch from Alan soon that will share the details of his climb.

Meanwhile, a host of other climbers also reached the top on Saturday, including Adrian Hayes and Al Hancock. In an audio dispatch, Al noted that it was a 15 hour roundtrip for the climbers who summited on Saturday, with most of them all topping out within a short time with one another. Adrian and Al are already back in BC, and it sounds like the descent was just as challenging as the climb. But, it seems that climbers are getting up down the mountain safely this season, which isn’t always the case on K2.

Also reaching the summit of K2 was Chris Jensen Burke, who now has some decisions to be made about what her next move is. You may recall that she, along with Lakpa Sherpa, acclimatized on Broad Peak before moving over to K2 for the summit bid. While on BP, the conditions were not right for a summit, so they never topped out on that mountain. Chris and Lakpa are now discussing returning to Broad Peak to have a go at the summit there. Since they left, rope fixing has been completed, several teams have topped out, and things are much more settled there. If they have the energy, I would assume that they’ll head back to give it another go.

ExWeb has posted a complete list of K2 summiteers as we know them so far. The names of all the mountaineers who topped out this weekend are still coming in, but in addition to those mentioned above, the following climbers also reached the summit this weekend:

  • Tamara Lunger (Italy)
  • Nikolaus Gruber (Italy)
  • Radek Jaros (Czech)
  • Travnicek Jan (Czech)
  • Hassan Jan (Pakistan)
  • Ali Durani (Pakistan)
  • Rahmat Ullah Baig (Pakistan)
  • Ghulam Mehdi (Pakistan)
  • Ali (Pakistan)
  • Muhammad Sadiq (Pakistan)
  • Michele Cucchi (Italy)
  • Dawa Yangzum Sherpa (Nepal)
  • Pasang Lhamu Sherpa (Nepal)
  • Maya Sherpa (Nepal)
  • Giuseppe Pompili (Italy)
  • Amin Baig (Pakistan)
  • Ferran Latorre (Spain)
  • Tsering Sherpa(Nepal)
All told, there were 28 confirmed summits so far, but that number is expected to go up. When everything is confirmed, there is a chance that this will go down as the most successful couple of days on K2 ever. 
As mentioned however, the season isn’t over just yet. ExWeb is also reporting that the Polish squad training for a potential winter K2 expedition will have a go at the summit this week, and will set off from BC today. Joining them on the mountain will be Bulgarian Boyan Petrov who already topped out on Broad Peak a few days back. If all goes according to plan, this third wave of climbers hope to summit on Friday, August 1. Stay tuned for updates on their progress.
I want to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone who reached the summit this weekend. Climbing K2 is no small feat, and they should all be proud of their accomplishments. I’m looking forward to hearing more about the various expeditions in the days ahead. 
Kraig Becker

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