Monday, January 08, 2018

Winter Climbs 2018: Poles Nearing K2 Base Camp, Another Winter Expedition Begins

The winter climbing season is still just getting underway with major expeditions just starting to get settled on their respective mountains. The list of teams heading to major peaks this year continues to grow, and it is now shaping up to be quite an interesting season indeed. Perhaps the most intriguing of all is the Polish team on K2, where they hope to complete the first winter ascent ever of that mountain. Right now however, they are still en route to Base Camp, where the real work will finally get underway.

According to a post on the team's Facebook page, they reached Concordia this morning. Those who follow K2 expeditions closely know that Concordia is a crossroads of sorts on the way to the mountain, and that they are now very close to reaching BC. They should arrive there in the next day or two, at which point they'll begin to settle on the mountain and start scouting potential routes to the summit.

The team isn't traveling light and fast by any means. Alan Arnette reports that they have more than 100 porters helping to shuttle their gear to Base Camp, and early indications were that they were bringing more than a ton of equipment and supplies with them. In other words, they're preparing to settle in for the long haul, as K2 isn't likely to give up its summit easy.

Elsewhere, Alex Txikon and climbing partner Ali Sadpara are established Base Camp on Everest and are preparing to begin their first forays into the Khumbu Icefall as they start to carry gear up to Camp 1. Before they do that however, they must first complete their puja ceremony asking for the mountain gods to protect them while stepping foot on the sacred mountain. The puja is an important step, as the Sherpa contingent of the team won't begin climbing until it is done. That should take place today or tomorrow.

The team has suffered an injury already however, resulting in the Base Camp manager being evacuated from the mountain. Apparently he fell while scrambling around BC, opening up a wound that would not stop bleeding. It doesn't seem that it was a serious situation, but he had to be pulled off the expedition for now nonetheless.

Finally, Alan is also reporting that a team of Pakistani climbers are making an attempt at a first ascent on Masherbrum 2, a 7200-meter (23,622 ft.) peak that remains unclimbed in winter. The squad plans an alpine style ascent, will go light and fast, and have just 30 days to pull of the expedition. They left for Skardu on January 5 and will be in BC soon, with a hard out date of February 8.

That's all for today. More news as we get it.

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