Summer Climbs 2017: Teams Launch Summit Bids on K2 Amidst Dicey Weather

1280px K2 2006b

The end of the summer climbing season in Pakistan is almost in sight. Traditionally speaking, most teams wrap up their expeditions by the final week of July or the first part of August, and that looks like it will be the case once again this year. With that in mind, the climbers on K2 have launched their summit bids at long last, despite the fact that weather conditions are far from stable. Still, there is a chance that a window could open in the next few days, allowing teams to reach the top for the first time in several years.

According to alpinist Fredrik Sträng, the most likely days for a summit are on July 26 or 27. He and his team left Base Camp yesterday and are now moving up the mountain in an attempt to get themselves into position to make a dash for the top should the window actually materialize. It isn’t clear that such a window will open at this point however, but those two days appear to have the best opportunity for good weather.

Two of the main commercial operators – Destination Dreamers and Furtenbach Adventures – have sent their squads up the mountain. But, the amount of damage done to the route by the avalanche that occurred last week is also bringing a measure of uncertainty to the proceedings. It is believed that Camp 3 was totally swept away, but it is unclear as of yet if that is the case. That also means that Camp 4 has not been established as of yet, nor have any fixed ropes been installed above that point. Still, the teams are eyeing a potential summit bid on Thursday, provided everything goes as planned.

Amongst those headed up the mountain is Polish mountaineer Andrzej Bargiel, who hopes to not only summit K2, but also ski down its flanks, something that has not been accomplished before. He’s joined by a team of his countrymen, who are also preparing for a winter attempt on the mountain later this year.

Elsewhere, on Broad Peak the remaining climbers have launched their summit bids too. Spaniard Oscar Cadiach is seeking his 14th 8000-meter peak and has been patiently waiting for an attempt on the mountain in good weather. He is already in C2 and hopes to move up to C3 tomorrow, with an eye on topping out on Thursday as well.

Meanwhile, ExWeb is reporting that Mathieu Maynadier, Jérémy Rumebe, and Colin Haley reached the summit on Gasherbrum II on July 16. The trio reached the summit completely alone after several other squads turned back over the preceding days due to inclement weather. Apparently, not everyone has abandoned that mountain yet however, as summit attempts are currently underway by both Polish and Italian teams.

As you can tell, it looks like it could be a very busy and exciting week in the Karakoram. The teams are on the move, and while the weather still looks very dicey, there is a chance we’ll see some summit on both Broad Peak and K2 within the next few days. Stay tuned for updates.

Kraig Becker