Karakoram Summer 2018: Teams Arriving at Base Camp in Pakistan

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Even though we’ve already had a couple of solid reports about the start of the climbing season in the Karakoram this summer, the work in the mountains of Pakistan is only now starting to truly begin. The first teams have now arrived in Base Camp on various mountains across the region and the long summer climbing season is about to officially get underway. As with expeditions to the Himalaya, the acclimatization process takes several weeks and there is a lot of work that needs to be done to get fixed ropes into place, which means most of the peaks won’t start to see true summit attempts until mid- to late-July, with K2 expeditions potentially even pushing into early August. But for now, that’s a long way off and there is a lot that needs to be accomplished before any of that can happen.

We’ll start with an update from Nanga Parbat, where mountaineer Mike Horn was the first arrival this season. There haven’t been any updates from Horn and his team since late last week when they were planning on climbing up to 6400 meters (20,997 ft) for an overnight acclimation stay. Things seem to be going well for the Swiss explorer and his squad, although weather forecasts indicate there as been some heavy snows on the mountain already, which may be keeping him and his companions in BC at the moment.

Meanwhile, the Japanese team led by Akira Oyabe that we told you about a couple of weeks back has arrived in Base Camp on K2. The group arrived there last Thursday and have been getting settled in their temporary home while they wait for the weather to clear. Snowfall kept them in BC for a few days, which gave them an opportunity to set up tents and start making the place feel a bit more homey. Today they plan to start installing lines up to Camp 2, but weather may delay that progress as well.

Over on Broad Peak, the Furtenbach Adventures team was the first to arrive on that mountain, reaching Base Camp on Saturday. They are now getting settled there as well before starting their first acclimatization rotation. The weather will ultimately dictate when that will happen, but for now they are squarely focused on getting BC established and focusing on the work ahead. The plan is to acclimate on BP before eventually jumping over to K2 later in the season.

The teams mentioned above are just the first to arrive on the main peaks in the Karakoram, but there are certainly more to come. In fact, there are several squads already en route, making the challenging trek to the various Base Camps in the area. By later this week things will start to get much busier on each of these mountains. While K2, Broad Peak, and Nanga Parbat won’t ever get as crowded as Everest, the summer climbing season is starting to get more attention than it did in the past as more climbers add these peaks to their bucket lists. That means more teams on these peaks, just don’t expect things to get as wild and busy as we see in other parts of the Himalaya.

We’ll continue to share updates throughout the season as things truly get going. More to come soon.

Kraig Becker