Summer Climbs 2017: Updates from Broad Peak, Nanga Parbat, and K2

7 15 BroadPeakAt the end of last week I reported the several teams had launchd summit bids on Broad Peak, although things didn’t go exactly as they planned. Over on Nanga Parbat, a pair of climbers did manage to top out however, while on K2 the teams have gone back to work once again.

We’ll start the update on Broad Peak, where bad weather once again put a halt to climbing efforts over the weekend. Teams had hoped to make their final push to the top on Saturday or Sunday, but upon reaching Camp 3 at the end of the week, a storm moved in and dropped a meter of fresh snow above that point on the mountain. The fresh powder made it very difficult to break trail and increased the danger of avalanches exponentially. That was enough to send most climbers down the mountain and back to Base Camp, although a few stayed at altitude to reassess the situation. 
Reportedly, some of the teams have now called it quits for the season and are now preparing to head home. Furtenbach Adventures is not one of those squads however, as they have announced that their squad is heading back up the mountain on just one day’s rest. They have already reached C2 and plan to head up to C3 today, before launching a summit push on Tuesday. This will be their last attempt on Broad Peak however, as once they’re back down the team will move to K2 and concentrate their efforts on that peak instead. 
Speaking of K2, the weather has improved enough there that the teams have gone back to work, several of which have gone up to C2 as part of their acclimatization efforts. Rope fixing has also begun along the route to Camp 3 as progress continues. The recent spate of poor weather has dumped heavy snow on the upper portions of the mountain as well, but summit bids are still a couple of weeks off, so there is time for everything to settle provided conditions stay calm.
Last week we reported that two climbers were hoping to making ski descent of K2. Those men were climbing independently of one another, but shared the same goal. Now, ExWeb is reporting that Slovenian Davo Karnicar has left Base Camp and is headed home after taking ill. Karnicar also reportedly assessed the snow conditions on the mountain and decided they were not safe enough to ski. Meanwhile, Polish alpinist Andrzej Bargiel still hopes to make the first full ski descent of K2. He is currently in Base Camp. 
There was good news from Nanga Parbat at the end of last week. Korean climber Kim Hong Bin and Lakpa Sherpa topped out on that mountain on Friday after spending more than a week on the ascent. The duo set out on their summit push on June 30, but weather stalled their progress, keeping them in Camp 4 for from July 4 through the 6. They finally summited on the 7th and were back in C4 on the 8th before descending back to BC over the weekend. ExWeb reports that this is Kim’s 11th 8000-meter peak as he closes in on the entire list of big mountains. 
Finally, the team of Alberto Iñurrategi, Juan Vallejo, and Mikel Zabalza have begun their summit attempt on the Gasherbrums too. The three men set out over the weekend with the plan of first topping out on GI then traversing the ridge to GII. Weather conditions look good for the next few days, so things are looking positive for this expedition at the moment. 
Other teams are also finalizing their plans on Gasherbrum II as well, with no fewer than three other squads currently assessing their situation and watching the weather. Things could get fairly busy on that peak in the days ahead too. 
That’s all for now. More updates as the news warrants. 
Kraig Becker