Karakoram Summer 2019: More Summits on K2, Urubko Goes it Alone on GII

Despite yesterday’s big success on K2, the summer climbing season in the Karakoram isn’t over just yet and there is more news to share from Pakistan. On K2, climbers found success for a second straight day, while elsewhere there are alpinists still pursuing their goals before the clock runs out in another week or two.

We’ll start once again with an update from K2, where the Seven Summit Treks team is reporting success this morning. After Nirmal Purja and his team opened the route to the top yesterday, the SST commercial squad moved up to Camp 4 to make their attempt today.

That strategy has payed off as company director Dawa Sherpa now reports that all of the team members have topped out. That includes a total of 19 climbers, 10 of which are clients from around the world. The others consist of six guides from Nepal and three from Pakistan. The climbers have reportedly already returned to C4 for a rest before proceeding back down the mountain tomorrow.

Speaking of Nims Purja, he’s also back in BC on K2 today, but his work in Pakistan isn’t done just yet. He’ll reportedly head for Broad Peak next and will climb directly up to Camp 2 on that mountain with an eye on summiting the following day. He says that his down suit and boots are both wet and need to be dried out before he heads to BP, but he expects to arrive there by tomorrow.

That means he could summit as early as Saturday of this week, bringing a successful end to Phase 2 of his Bremont Project Possible. If he summits Broad Peak as expected, he’ll have climbed five 8000-meter peaks in Pakistan in a bout a month’s time. That will give him 11 for the year and set him up for Phase 3 this fall, when he’ll attempt to summit Cho Oyu, Shishapangma, and Manaslu in Tibet, possibly climbing all 14 8000-meter peaks in a single seven month period.

Finally, we have an update on Denis Urubko’s plans on Gasherbrum II. After summiting that mountain last weekend, and lending a hand in the rescue of Francesco Cassardo on Gasherbrum VII, he’s now ready to attempt the first ascent of a new route on that mountain. According to a report from ExWeb however, he’ll be making a solo attempt on this climb.

Originally, Urubko’s wife Maria Cardell was suppose to accompany him, but she suffered a fall on the trek into Base Camp and has been struggling with a back injury ever since. That has made climbing the new route out of the question, but Denis is going to give it a go on his own first. Look for that to happen over the course of the next few days as well.

That’s the update for now. The 2019 summer Karakoram season is starting to wind down, but its not quite over yet. We should have a few more important updates to come over the next few days before the teams head home once again.

Kraig Becker

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