More news out of the Karakoram today as we receive news of a scary incident high on the mountain that is now causing some delays on the world’s second highest peak. It seems an avalanche near a section of the mountain known as the Bottleneck brought some very scary moments to the team of Sherpas installing the fixed ropes to the summit. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt, but the heavy snow could cause some delays to the schedules of the teams that are now moving up the mountain.
Dawa Sherpa from Seven Summit Treks posted an update earlier today saying that a bit of a change in schedule was coming. His team was expected to make a summit push tomorrow, but that climb has been delayed by at least a single day due to the avalanche. Sherpas from Seven Summits were helping to install the lines when they were struck by the falling ice and snow, pushing them 50 meters back down the mountain. Thankfully, the team was able to avoid the brunt of the slide and were able to collect themselves, but it was enough of a scare to send them back down to Camp 4 to take stock of the situation. From the sounds of things, everyone is okay and still in good spirits, but they’ll head back up the hill tomorrow to continue fixing ropes. If everything goes according to plan, they should reach the summit, clearing the way for everyone else to follow.
As a result of the avalanche, Dawa has announced that the SST team will bump their summit push by a day. They were hoping to top out today, but will now bump it until tomorrow. This has put their squad in a holding pattern for now, but they are acclimated, rested, and ready to go as soon as the word is given.
Close behind the rope fixing team are Mike Horn and Fred Roux. Mike put in a phone call home to his daughters today indicating that they are ready to start their summit push. He expects it will take roughly 24 hours to leave Camp 4, reach the top, and then return to C4 again. That means they could summit as early as tomorrow, but we may not get an update for another day or two depending on their situation. At this point, it seems they’ll be directly behind the Sherpas, provided they don’t choose to delay their final push as well.
Madison Mountaineering checked in from Camp 2 yesterday after making a single nine hour push to reach that point straight from Base Camp. Their plan is to head up to C3 today, then on to C4 tomorrow, which would put them in position to summit on Friday. Presumably, Furtenbach Adventures in on a similar schedule, although there hasn’t been any updates from them in a few days. Meanwhile, the Adventure Peaks team has checked in today, saying they’ll head to the summit tomorrow as well.
That pretty much sums up the current situation in the Karakoram. There are several teams climbing on Gasherbrum I and II right now, but there hasn’t been much in the way of updates. We’ll keep an eye on things happening elsewhere to provide some insights, but right now the focus is definitely on K2. The question is, how crowded will it get at the Bottleneck and the final push to the summit, particularly with teams who previously had a staggered schedule now approaching at the same time. Beyond that however, lets hope the heavy snows don’t result in more avalanches, as that could be incredibly dangerous as more than 100 people are now nearing the summit. Fingers crossed, everyone gets up and down safely. All summits are optional.
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