Friday, July 19, 2013

Pakistan 2013: Climbers In Trouble On Broad Peak

We're at a crucial stage of the summer climbing season in Pakistan. Most of the teams have now been on their respective mountains for a number of weeks and many have now wrapped up their acclimatization and are making summit bids. That includes an Iranian team on Broad Peak, which has already successfully topped out but is now facing serious problems on their descent.

ExWeb has all of the details on the Iranian team's climb, which began on July 10 with a five man team setting off for the summit along a new route on BP's Southwest Face. The ascent went mostly as planned up to Camp 3 but above that point things started to get extremely difficult. Poor conditions and a rocky route slowed progress to a crawl and the climbers were forced to bivouac for three consecutive nights. On Tuesday, July 16, three members of the team (Aidin Bozorgi, Pouya Keivan and Mojtaba Jarahi) reached the summit and then attempted to their descend along the normal route. That is when things took a turn for the worse.

It turns out there were complications with going down along the established route and the three climbers ended up bivouacking above C3 for an additional two nights. Yesterday the climbers called their support team and told them that their tent had been shredded and that they were in desperate need of food and water. Worse yet, one of the members of the team is in poor shape and having problems descending. That prompted the team to spring into action and today a rescue mission is underway with a number of climbers moving up to try to help get the three Iranians down safely. Lets keep our fingers crossed that all goes well. We've lost enough climbers in the mountains already this year.

Broad Peak hasn't been particularly accommodating to climbers this summer as it has also been reported that four Polish climbers have suffered frostbite on their summit bid earlier this week. It isn't clear how bad the frostbite is but it is enough that a helicopter was expected to arrive in Base Camp today to evacuate the four men. That would indicate to me that at least one of them has fairly severe injuries but hopefully they'll all make a full recovery.

Over on Nanga Parbat, the Romanian team climbing the Rupal Face has reached 7500 meters (24,606 ft) and established their High Camp there. If conditions continue to hold out they should make their final summit push this weekend. After the murders that took place in BC on the Diamir Face, this is the only team that remains on the mountain this summer. It would be good to see them successfully top out.

Teams are now on the move on both Gasherbrum I and II with climbers hoping to summit the next few days. The big news on these peaks at the moment is the burial of Polish climbing legend Artur Hajzer, who died on GI back on July 7. Hajzer fell to his death on the Japanese Couloir and his family determined that he would have wanted to be buried on the mountain. That took place a few days ago with the help from a few of his friends. Rest in peace Artur.

According to Jon Kedrowski, four members of his team, all of whom are from Belgium, are now making summit bids on Gasherbrum I. There is a narrow weather window open and while Jon and his guide are waiting for a better opportunity, these four climbers decided to give it a go. If they are successful, they should top out early next week.

Similarly, Chris Jensen Burke has completed her acclimatization on GII and should now be back in BC waiting for a weather window of her own. No word yet on when that might come, but a shift in weater was expected to take place late this week which could provide the opening she and her team needs.

Finally, over on K2 teams have now gone as high as Camp 3 and acclimatizations are proceeding as expected. Most are starting to look at the weather forecasts to see if a five-day window will be coming soon. That's how long they'll need to travel from BC to the summit and then begin their descent back down. Right now, there doesn't appear to be such a window on the horizon, but summits on the "Savage Mountain" often come in late July or early August. Expect more teams to start arriving on the mountain soon however as some will attempt K2 after warming up on one of the other big peaks in the region.

That's all for now. Expect more updates next week following possible summits in the next few days.

4 comments:

John1 said...

The Iranians are wonderful, altruistic climbers with whom I shared base camp until leaving last week. I pray for their safe rescue. They helped me evacuate my friend from the mountain after he broke his leg.

John1 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kraig Becker said...

Some of the best climbers around too John. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. We're all keeping our fingers crossed right now.

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