Friday, July 17, 2015

Summer Climbs 2015: Summits on Gasherbrum II, More to Come

The first summits of the summer season have occurred on the Gasherbrum Massif in Pakistan, with potentially more to come today. According to a report from Explorers Web, members of the Kobler & Partner squad managed to top out on Gasherbrum II yesterday despite very challenging conditions. Meanwhile, a second wave of summiteers is ready to follow, as other climbers move up on GI as well.

ExWeb says that the summit team included the following mountaineers: Laura González del Castillo, Yuri Contreras Cedi, Ernst Felix, Christof Bartmann, Sophie Lavaud, Ngima Chhiring Lama, Nga Dorchi Sherpa. Of those, Sophie Lavaud has managed to complete the climb without the use of supplemental oxygen.

Reportedly the group spent 16 hours on their summit push, battling heavy snow all the way to the top.  Team leaders Peter Schatzl, Sherpa Ngima and Dorchi and high-altitude porter Muhammad did most of the route fixing, leading the way from BC to the summit according to ExWeb's sources.

The success on GII from yesterday is likely to be duplicated today. A second wave of climbers was already in Camp 3 and preparing to make a move up to the summit today. That group reportedly has a good weather window, and with the trail already broken, they should have a better time moving up and down the mountain than the previous summiteers.

Nearby, summit bids are already underway on Gasherbrum I as well. A team of four climbers had moved up to 7100 meters (23,293 ft) yesterday, and should be making their push today too. Apparently, they are also facing heavy snows near the top, and are having to break trail on their way to the summit. If all goes according to plan, they should complete the ascent today, and return to C3 before descending to Base Camp tomorrow.

Meanwhile, over on K2 the acclimatization efforts from teams like Himex and Madison Mountaineering continues as usual. Those teams are making slow, but steady progress towards preparing their bodies for an eventual summit push of their own. That is probably still a couple of weeks off, depending on the weather. But so far, things are progressing as you would expect.

The Swiss trio of Mike Horn, Fred Roux, and Köbi Reichen had climbed up to C3 on K2 a few days back, and were hoping to make a summit bid this weekend. There has been no word from the team since they set off from Base Camp, but according to Horn's GPS tracking, it appears that they have abandoned their summit push and have returned to BC as well. We'll have to wait for the team's next dispatch to know exactly what is happening, but it seems for now they are not ready to proceed up above 7500 meters (24,606 ft).

That's all for now. We'll continue to keep an eye on the teams climbing in Pakistan and bring updates as warranted.

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