Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pakistan 2013: Summit Bids Begin And Saying Goodbye To A Legend

While I was away on my own adventure, the climbing season in Pakistan has continued apace. Bad weather caused some delays over the past week and a half, but things are starting to improve now and teams are back on the move. It continues to be a very rough year in the mountaineering community however as another big name perishes in the Karakoram.

A few days ago the sad news was posted to Facebook that Polish mountaineering legend Artur Hajzer died on his descent of Gasherbrum I. There are very few details of what happened but he apparently passed away near Camp 2. His family is still deciding if they want to bring his body home or have it buried on the mountain. Artur was a real trailblazer in terms of climbing in the big mountains and he has been a leader of the climbing scene in Poland for a number of years. He will certainly be missed.

With that sad news out of the way we do get the positive update that the first summit of the summer season in Pakistan has been claimed on Broad Peak. According to Karakoram Climber News, Marty and Denali Schmidt topped out on that mountain yesterday, which was expected to be a big day on BP. No word yet if any other team on the mountain managed to reach the summit as well, but it seems likely that others took advantage of the weather window as well. The father and son team will now turn their attention to K2 with the hopes of a summit on that mountain as well.

Speaking of K2, the mountain is living up to its reputation as being one of the tougher peaks in the world to climb. Poor weather has made it a challenge for everyone so far this summer, but that is typically case in mid-July. Summits don't usually come until early August, so there is still time for progress to be made. Several teams have established Camp 2 on the mountain and with improved weather they are making their way up to C3 this week. More teams will be arriving their soon as they wrap up their efforts on Broad Peak and other peaks used in acclimatization.

The lone remaining team on Nanga Parbat is the Romanian squad on the Rupal Face. They have launched their summit bid as well and depending on conditions could top out as early as tomorrow. Thursday or Friday seems more likely however, so look for this expedition to wrap up within the next few days.

As I get back on my regular posting schedule I'll provide more detailed updates on the progress of the teams. Things are starting to come together now in Pakistan, so we should see more summits in the next week or so. After that, it's on to K2, the crown jewel of the region, if not all of mountaineering.

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