Thursday, July 09, 2015

Summer Climbs 2015: Mountaineer Rescued From K2 Base Camp

The summer climbing season in Pakistan is continue to pick up steam as more teams make their way to base camps in the Himalaya and Karakoram. Acclimatization rotations are now well under way, and at least one team is already thinking about its summit bid. But there is a lot of work to be done before the end of the season draws near, and mountains like K2 and Broad Peak will now give up their summits easily.

The biggest news to come out of the Karakoram over the past couple of days is that one climber has been evacuated from K2 Base Camp. Details are sparse at the moment, but ExWeb is reporting that a mountaineer by the name of Robert Jackson had to be rescued from BC via helicopter by the Pakistani military. Exactly why Jackson needed to be evacuated is unclear, but he had been climbing as part of a team that had been on the mountain since June 16.

Further up the slopes on K2, the Swiss trio of Mike Horn, Fred Roux, and Köbi Reichen continue on their push to Camp 3. They hope to reach that point today, deposit some gear, and then drop back to BC. At that point, they feel that their bodies will be well acclimatized to the conditions, and the team will begin waiting for a good weather window to launch their attempt on the summit. If conditions remain good, that could come as early as next week.

Aussie climber Chris Jensen Burke and the rest of her squad arrived in Base Camp on Broad Peak yesterday, and she has wasted no time in starting her first acclimatization round. Chris and her Sherpa Lakpa will move up to Camp 1 as they start preparing for the higher altitudes. She reports that there are teams in BC that are ready for a summit push, but unfortunately the ropes have not been fixed to the top just yet. There are also indications that there are heavy snows high on the mountain too.

Canadian climber Al Hancock should also be approaching BC on Broad Peak. His last update on June 30 indicated that he was en route to Askoli to begin the trek, which generally takes about 8-10 days to complete. He's hoping to add another 8000 meter peak to his resume in a bid to become the first Canadian to get all 14 of the world's tallest peaks.

The Madison Mountaineering team has settled in nicely on BP and are preparing to begin their climb. Yesterday the team had their Puja ceremony, during which they receive a blessing from a Buddhist monk and ask the mountain permission to climb. This is a traditional ceremony held throughout the Himalaya prior to an expedition officially getting underway. With this formality out of the way, they will now launch their first acclimatization rotation as well.

At the moment, there is just a lot of moving up and down the mountains taking place. It is a long, slow process to get your body ready for the thin air of higher altitudes, and only hard work and steady progress will make a summit bid a reality. With the exception of a few early teams now being ready to make their summit bids, we are still a few weeks away from most of the climbers being ready to go up.

More news soon as is warranted.

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