It has been a long, and difficult, week in the big mountains of Pakistan, but it appears that the patience and persistence of the climbers may be about to pay off. After weeks of acclimatizing and waiting for a weather window, a summit push has started on K2 at long last.
The Swiss team of Mike Horn, Fred Roux, and Köbi Reichen have been on the mountain longer than any other team. As a result, they have wrapped up their acclimatization rotation days ago, and have been waiting for a weather window to open. In fact, the trio tried to summit last week, but were turned back when conditions took a turn for the worse. Now, they have started up once again, and the forecast calls for good weather over the next few days.
According to their most recent dispatch, Horn, Roux, and Reichen have reached Camp 3 at 6800 meters (22,309 ft). That means that they are almost within striking distance of the summit, and if all goes well they could complete the climb within the next couple of days.
At the moment, the Swiss team appears to be the only one in motion, as the other squads seem content to stay in Base Camp and wait for a longer, and safer, weather window. Some are still recovering from their latest acclimatization rotations, while others are still getting their bodies accustomed to the thin air. For them, there could be a chance at another summit bid next week, but it all depends on how things play out.
For now though, I’ll be keeping a close eye on three men who are currently moving upwards. Hopefully they’ll have a bit of luck go their way, and they’ll manage to get up and down the mountain safely.
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