Friday, June 19, 2015

Summer Climbing 2015: ExWeb Updates All Team Positions

The summer climbing season is nearly set to begin in Pakistan, and the teams there are now starting to move into position. We're still a few days away from the first squad reaching Base Camp, but it won't be long now until we'll start to see a steady stream of updates from the mountains. In preparation for the season officially getting under way, ExWeb has posted a comprehensive round-up of where each of the teams is currently located, and what their objectives are for the weeks ahead. As is usual for this time of the year, the focus will be squarely on Gasherburm I and II, Broad Peak, and of course K2.

It looks like the Swiss team of Mike Horn, Fred Roux and Köbi Reichen will be the first into BC on K2. The team has been in country for a couple of weeks now, and were delayed by bureaucratic issues, but finally started the trek earlier in the week. They are now three days away from reaching the mountain, which should put them in on Monday of next week. The team reports that conditions are very warm there at the moment.

The Himex team headed to both K2 and Broad Peak this summer is about to start their trek. They were scheduled to travel to Askole by jeep today, which is where the trail actually begins. It typically takes about 7-8 days to reach BC, so don't expect them to get settled on the mountain until next weekend. Five-time Everest summiteer David Tait, who is climbing with the squad, has been posting regular dispatches about his experience in Pakistan so far. He has done a good job of keeping readers up to date on their progress.

The other major commercial team on K2 and Broad Peak this summer will be led by Madison Mountaineering. ExWeb indicates that the team is still gathering in Islamabad, and has yet set out for Skardu, the regional town that serves as the launching point to those mountains.


Vanessa O'Brien is in Pakistan and preparing to launch her efforts on K2. She's schedule to begin the trek to Base Camp next week as she goes in search of her 5th 8000-meter peak. If she reaches the top of K2, she'll become the first American woman to do so.

Some other climbers of note include Al Hancock, who ExWeb says is still in Nepal but is planning to head to Pakistan on June 25. He's climbing Broad Peak this summer. Also headed to BP is Oscar Cadiach, who will lead a team of Spanish climbers up that mountain. A second Spanish squad is heading for K2, and will be led by Carlos Suárez. French climber Phillippe Gatta is waiting on his permit for K2, but will be setting out for Pakistan shortly.

These expeditions are just the tip of the iceberg for what will be happening in the Karakoram and Himalaya this summer. ExWeb has a far more comprehensive list of what will be happening there, including reports of a Polish team that plans to ski the Gasherbrums, attempts by Ecuadorian and Peruvian climbers on K2 and GI respectively, and much more. To see the entire list, click here.

It feels like it is taking a long time for the 2015 summer season to crank up, but that is no doubt in part because of the shut down in the Himalaya of Nepal and Tibet this past spring. Everything is going according to plan however, and we should start to see news begin to filter out from the mountains as early as next week. The teams will spend the first few weeks acclimatizing of course, with the first possible summit bids coming in late July and early August depending on schedules, weather, and conditions on the mountain. Stay tuned for regular updates on the progress of these climbers, as it should be an exciting time in the days ahead.

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