Thursday, July 03, 2014

Pakistan 2014: Camp 2 Reached on Broad Peak and K2

Before I shut things down here for the long weekend, I wanted to share one more update on the summer climbing season in the Himalaya and Karakoram. It has been a busy couple of days in Pakistan, where the teams continue to make their way towards Base Camps, while those that are already on their chosen mountains are now reporting steady progress. The weather across the region is said to be very good, and conditions have been favorable so far. But there is a long season ahead, and nothing is certain on these challenging peaks.

We'll start on K2, where ExWeb is reporting that the Pakistani team installed C2 on the Abruzzi Spur this past Sunday, after fixing ropes up to 6800 meters (22,309 ft). The battled high winds and deep snow to get to that point, and once Camp 2 was established, they retreated to Base Camp for some rest. They will now start to shuttle gear up the mountain in anticipation of going higher soon. Similarly, the Polish team that is practicing for a winter attempt on K2 was expected to be heading back up the hill yesterday with the intention of establishing their Camp 2 as well.

After a few delays getting out of Skardu, Al Hancock and Adrian Hayes are now in Base Camp on K2. They are still running a bit behind schedule, thanks to a slower than anticipated trek into the mountain, but they will forego one of their acclimatization rotations if necessary. Adrian says that it took a full days jeep ride, plus six days of trekking, just to get their first glimpse of K2. That remote nature only adds to the allure and mystery of the mountain, but having attempted to climb the peak last year, he now has plenty of respect for what he's about to try this year.


Alan Arnette is also on his way to K2 BC, and should have arrived in Askole yesterday. It takes a full day in a jeep to cover the distance between Skardu and Askole, which is where the trek into the Karakoram begins. If everything went as planned, he should have hit the trail today, and will most likely arrive in Base Camp next Wednesday. I expect we'll get regular progress reports from him on his way there.

Over on Broad Peak, Chris Jensen Burke has settled into BC nicely, and has already complete her first rotation up to Camp 2. She says conditions are favorable on the mountain at the moment, and in a few days time she will be heading back up the slopes to hopefully spend the night at Camp 3. After that, it's back to Base Camp for some rest, before waiting for the weather window to make her summit bid. BP is just a warm-up though, because once she is done there, she'll be off to K2 as well.

Finally, Tunç Findik has left Skardu at long last and is on his way to Gasherbrum I and II. He hopes to summit both of those peaks this summer, although his schedule has been thrown off while he has waited for teammates to arrive. It will take him about 2-3 days to reach Base Camp, and then the climbing can officially get underway.

More updates next week.

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