Monday, July 25, 2011

Karakoram 2011: Broad Peak Summits, Tragedy On GII


Over the weekend, several climbers on Broad Peak took advantage of a brief break in the weather to head up to the summit, while others used the time to further acclimatize. There was also sad news from Gasherbrum II, where a climber fell to her death on the descent.

As I mentioned last week, the weather reports on BP haven't been good for some time, but there were predictions of a very brief window opening over the weekend. As a result, several climbers moved up to high camps with the intention of taking advantage of lull in the winds and the hopes of grabbing the summit at last. According to ExWeb, four climbers were successful in that bid as Xavi Arias and Xavi Aymar both topped out, as did an unnamed French and Russian climber as well. The summits were achieved on Friday in high winds, and according to the British Team on the mountain, it was a 30 hour round trip push from Camp 3 to the summit and back. At the time of their update, they were still waiting on these climbers to come down. That same team of climbers from the U.K. sent their squad up as high as C3 as part of the acclimatization process over the weekend as well. They report that things are progressing well, although they're still waiting on a weather window to allow them to finish off the climb.

We also have news this morning from the Field Touring Alpine team has put three climbers on top today. They sent five up to the summit despite the winds, and two turned back, while three were able to successfully stand on top. This is great news, as ExWeb points out that we had heard reports that the team was heading home just last week.

One team that has decided to pull the plug is the Altitude Junkies. They waited until the last possible moment, but with weather forecasts all sounding sketchy at best, they've decided it is best to call it a season on BP. In their latest dispatch, they explain the various weather forecasts that are being used by the teams on the mountain and why it causes problems and confusion at times. The climbers on this team have been waiting for three weeks for a chance to go up, but it simply isn't in the cards this year.

Finally, ExWeb is also reporting that a climber has fallen to her death on Gasherbrum II after a successful summit. Iranian climber Leila Esfandyari was on her way down to Camp 3 when she fell, but other than that few details are offered. She was part of a squad that put four climbers on top, and there were reportedly 15 summits on Friday on GII.

Condolences to her team, friends, and family.

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