Friday, July 25, 2014

Pakistan 2014: Summit Push Begins on K2

With the weather window holding out, and teams now in position, it is go time on the grand prize of the summer climbing season - K2. This weekend will see two waves of teams move up the mountain, with the first big push coming tomorrow, followed by a second group approaching the top on Sunday. While conditions are as good on K2 as they have been in recent years, the teams are still unsure of what they'll find above Camp 4, which is where the Saturday summit teams are now gathered. At this point, things look good for a large number of climbers to summit over the next few days, but this is the hardest mountain in the world, and until they stand on top, nothing is certain.

The first group of teams going for the summit tomorrow include Al Hanccock and Adrian Hayes. Chris Jensen Burke, and Lhakpa Sherpa, will also be a part of that push, as will the Italian team led by Giuseppe Pompili. The mixed team of Pakistani and Italian climbers celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of K2 has sent 10 members of the mountain, while an all female Nepalese expedition is also in position to go for the summit as well.

On Sunday, the teams will include Alan Arnette's team (Garrett Madison, Matthew Dupuy, and Frederick Sylvester) as well Finnish climber Samuli Mansikka. The Fin set out from BC yesterday, and skipped Camp 1, choosing to instead head directly C2. This group will have the benefit of being able to follow the trail of the teams that will go for the summit 24 hours before them.

Alan updated his audience with an audio dispatch earlier in the day, checking in from Camp 3. He indicated that K2 has completely lived up to its reputation for being a difficult climb, pushing him to the limits on the ascent from C2 to C3. He and his teammates will head up to Camp 4 today, and plan to summit around 5:00 AM local time on Sunday. Alan reports that the weather is great, and looks to remain that way at least through the weekend.


It should be noted that ExWeb reports that Cleo Weidlich, and her Sherpa, are the only climbers on the Cesen Route of K2 this year, but there has been little word from them in recent days. We have to assume that they are taking advantage of this weather window as well, but until we get an update, it is impossible to know where they are on the mountain. You may recall, Weidlich was one of the women who defied the climbing ban on Everest this spring in an attempt to top out on Lhotse.

Meanwhile, over on Broad Peak, a number of teams turned back from summit pushes again yesterday, although Jesus Morales did manage to reach the summit at 6:15 AM local time. He is on the same team as Oscar Cadiach, and while Oscar turned back just shy of the summit yesterday, his compatriot continued to the top. If others managed to top out yesterday, we're still waiting for their names to be revealed.

That's all for today. Obviously I'll post an update on Monday on the success of teams on K2. While the weather looks good, and climbing conditions are reportedly about as well as can be expected, this is still an incredibly difficult climb. Lets keep our fingers crossed that everyone gets up and down safely over the next few days. The Savage Mountain always has some surprises for those seeking the summit.

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