Karakoram Summer 2019: Summits on Broad Peak and First Ascent of Toshe III

There has been a surprisingly steady stream of news from the Karakoram this week. While it is still very early in the season, the past few days have brought continued updates that have included summit success, news on acclimatization rotations, and more. Today is no different, as we get word on yet more successful summits even as teams continue to just get settled into Base Camp.

First up, over on Broad Peak teams are now reporting summit success on that mountain. Earlier today, Furtenbach Adventures indicated that one of their clients –– Max Berger –– reached the top without the use of bottled oxygen, launching the final push directly from Camp 3. Even more impressive, Berger managed to make the climb in under two weeks, having preaclimated using an oxygen tent before he ever arrived in Pakistan. He is now reportedly back down the mountain and may be considering a double header with the intent of attempting K2 as well.

It seems as if Berger and his guides weren’t the only ones to summit BP yesterday either. Karakoram Expeditions is reporting that its team summited the mountain as well. Their update says that Mingma Dorchi Sherpa managed to top out just 3 days after arriving BC. Presumably he was a part of the rope fixing team and reached the summit not long after the lines were installed. Still, that is another impressive feat of “flash” climbing.

A final update from Broad Peak comes our way from Kobler & Partner. The team has reassembled in Base Camp after completing its first rotation up the mountain. Because there is limited space for tents at the various camps further up the slopes, they broke the team down into two individual parts and staggered their ascent by a one day. All of those climbers have now been up to C2 and spent the night there, while several followed the rope fixing squad up to Camp 3 before turning back down. That means they are close to wrapping up their acclimatization process and will be eyeing the summit soon too.

While we’re on the subject of summit success, there as also been a first ascent of a Karakoram peak by a very familiar name. Adventure Mountain has shared the news that Simon Messner –– the 28-year old son of Reinhold Messner –– has completed a summit push on Toshe III. The climb took place last Saturday, with the promising young alpinist topping out on the 6200 meter (20,341 ft) peak in a light and fast, alpine style fashion. The ascent was done in solo fashion as well, starting at 4400 meters (14,435 ft). He completed the direct ascent in 5.5 hours, racing against poor weather as he went, and returning back to BC on the same day.

Over on Nanga Parbat, the climbers who summited that peak earlier in the week are now safely back in Base Camp. That group included Sergi Mingote, Moesses Fiamoncini, Ali Sadpara, Stefi Troguet, Vitaly Lazo and Anton Pugovkin. Lazo and Pugovkin were expected to ski back down the mountain, but it is unclear whether or not they have completed that objective as well. So far, there hasn’t been a lot of news from BC, but we hope to hear more soon.

On K2, Mike Horn and Fred Roux have completed their stay at Camp 2 as they continue their acclimatization. They report a cold and windy night, but a productive rotation none the less. They’re now headed back to BC for a rest. Adrian Ballinger has also checked in from the “Savage Mountain” with news that he is still batting a parasite that has made him sick over the past few weeks. After three rounds of antibiotics he believes he is finally on the mend. That hasn’t stopped him from going up to Camp 1 however, as he prepares for a summit attempt without the use of bottled oxygen. Meanwhile, Madison Mountaineering, which is known for its methodical and safe approach to climbing, has been spending the past few days making acclimatization hikes near BC. No word on when they’ll head up for their first rotation, but it is safe to assume it will happen in the next few days.

That’s all for now. If the news keeps coming in at this pace, expect more updates soon.

Kraig Becker