ExWeb is reporting that one climbing team elected to travel overland to K2 this spring, crossing through 10 countries en route. The team, which consists of well known mountaineers Mike Horn, Fred Roux and Köbi Reichen, arrived in Pakistan on May 30, and is now preparing to start the hard part of the expedition – the actual climb itself.
The trio set out from Switzerland on May 14 and passed through Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and China on their way to K2 Base Camp. They drove overland in Mercedes Benz G-Class SUV's, which are both very capable off road, and comfortable for the people inside. That said, Mike Horn was quoted as saying “Let’s just say it’s a challenging commute to work,” indicating that the drive wasn't always an easy one.
According to ExWeb the team is currently in Skardu, but will proceed on to Askole soon where they will begin the trek to BC. They'll soon be joined on that trail by a number of other climbers as the Karakoram climbing season ramps up once again.
This isn't the first trip to K2 for this group. All three were on the mountain in 2013 but were forced to turn back at Camp 2 due to poor weather and heavy snow. 2014 was a much better year, seeing an unprecedented 40+ summits amidst what was possibly the best weather ever on the mountain. Horn, Rouz, and Reichen all hope those conditions will return once again this season, giving them a crack at the summit.
On a personal note, I think this sounds like a terrific way to travel to Pakistan for the climb. Sure, it adds some extra time to the journey, but it is also one heck of a great road trip through some countries that don't see a lot of foreign visitors. The two weeks that they spent driving to Pakistan were probably challenging, but also a lot of fun, not to mention a great way to see the world.
The summer climbing season is just now starting to ramp up. Expect plenty of updates and stories from K2, Broad Peak, and other major mountains in the days ahead.