Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Summer Climbs 2017: K2 Climbers Aren't Done Yet, Heading to Broad Peak Next

It looks like the Karakoram climbing season is almost over at long last. It has been another busy, eventful summer in Pakistan, with summits on Broad Peak, Nagna Parbat, the Gasherbrums, and even K2. But, with August now upon us, it seems that nearly every team has packed up and headed home, leaving the region all-but abandoned until next winter. Not everyone has left the region just yet however, as there is one ambitious team yet to wrap up its expedition.

Any season that sees successful summits on K2 is a good one, and this year we saw 12 people reach the top of the second tallest mountain on the planet. That group was led by Dreamers Destination owner and head guide Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, told Stefan Nestler that the squad's success was the result of "perfect teamwork." He also says that his clients and Sherpa team were successful because they had a good weather report, and although they persevered through high winds at Camp 2 and 3, things improved on summit day itself.

Mingma was amongst those who summited back in 2014 as well, the last time anyone stood on top of K2. On that expedition he climbed without the use of bottled oxygen, but this time he used supplemental O's to reach the top. He told ExWeb that it was impossible to climb the mountain this year without using a breathing mask. The mountain guide also pointed to the very experienced team he had with him, including six other Sherpas who have a combined 50 summits of Everest.

In a post to his Facebook page, Mingma says that his team is the last on K2 for the season. Everyone else has packed up and turned for home. The squad is expected to depart Base Camp today however but they aren't done with the Karakoram just yet. They'll now head to Broad Peak and attempt one more summit of that mountain before the season officially wraps up. If they are successful there as well, it will cap what has already been an impressive year for Mingma. In addition to a summit on K2, he has also climbed Dhaulagiri and Makalu, and may have summited Nanga Parabat as well. On that climb, the top of the mountain was shrouded in blowing snow, making him unsure if they actually reached the true summit.

Since the squad is already acclimatized, this should be a relatively fast ascent of Broad Peak, weather permitting. Stay tuned for further updates on their progress.

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