Monday, July 20, 2015

Summer Climbs 2015: Avalanche on Broad Peak Leaves One Climber Missing, Two Injured

There is a breaking story coming out of Pakistan this morning that indicates that there has been an avalanche on Broad Peak that has left one climber missing and two others seriously injured. The incident reportedly occurred at Camp 1 on the mountain a short time ago, but details of what has happened remain sketchy at this time.

The first-hand account of the avalanche comes from British climber David Tait, who witnessed it from Base Camp on K2. Tait described the scene as "sobering," and said as far as he knew, the number of people that were caught up in the avalanche are the three mentioned thus far. No names were given as of yet, although he does say that reports of the injured and dead fluctuated wildly in the immediate aftermath of the avalanche.

Meanwhile, the latest dispatch from the Himex team also mentions the avalanche, but offers few other details either. That post confirms that the avalanche took place at C1 on Broad Peak, and that climbers, Sherpas, and even a high altitude porter may have been caught in the slide. Himex support crew were standing by to lend a hand if needed, but otherwise there wan't much else to report at this time.

For now, we'll just have to wait for more information to be revealed. Hopefully the death toll doesn't rise any further, and the majority of climbers in Camp 1 are safe.


As the season has progressed, it seems that the teams on both BP and K2 are now ready to make their summit bids. The acclimatization rotations are now nearing an end, and most climbers appear to be ready. Of course, it will be the weather that determines when they can ultimately go up, but Chris Jensen Burke says that the route fixers are scheduled to leave BC tomorrow and go to work on installing the ropes to the summit. That means that we could have climbers standing on top as early as this coming weekend.

The weather on Broad Peak and K2 is currently being uncooperative. A slow moving system has descended on the region, dropping rain and snow on both mountains, although winds are reportedly quite low. It's not clear yet how that weather patter will impact the coming summit push, but it could delay things a bit, particularly on K2.

Finally, it is being reported by a number of sources that Pakistani climber Samina Baig has left K2 after suffering an injury. The young woman has become a shining light for female climbers in her home country, where few are actually allowed to go to the mountains. In her short career, she has already conquered the Seven Summits, becoming the youngest person from Pakistan to climb Mt. Everest in the process. She had hoped to follow that up with a successful climb of K2 at home, but will now have to put off those ambitions.

That's all for now. I'll share more information on the avalanche when it is released.

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