Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Karakoram Summer 2018: Summits on Gasherbrum II, K2 Push Begins

It seems that it is now "go time" in the Karakoram with teams on the move all over the region. Yesterday we had word of summits on Broad Peak, and today there is news of successful climbs on Gasherbrum II. Meanwhile, the first attempts at the summit of K2 have begun with the chance of possible summits as early as Friday of this week.

Following up on yesterday's news of summits on Broad Peak, Furtenbach Adventures reports that all the members of their squad got up and down the mountain safely and are now back in Base Camp. The climbers who summited as part of this push include Fredrik Sträng, Mark Mueller, Afi Gigani, and Davide Roeske. Their support crew included Mingma Sherpa, Ram Nurbu Sherpa, Nima Sherpa, Delaware Hussain Adil, and a guide identified as Hassan. Now, most of the team will move over to K2, where after a bit of a rest they'll attempt that peak as well.

Jumping over to Gasherbrum II, Alan Arnette is reporting that Adam Bielecki and Felix Berg topped out on that mountain yesterday. Their companions Jacek Czech and Boris Dedeszko turned back short of the top however. All members of the team were climbing without the use of supplemental oxygen. Bielecki and Berg traversed the peak, going up the West Face and descending along the normal route. They were back in Camp 3 last night and will likely descend back to BC today.

In other news from the Gasherbrum massif, Dávid Klein and Szilárd Suhajda launched their summit bid a few days back as well and are now approaching the summit. If all goes as planned, they should complete their climb today, although their has been no word from them yet. Meanwhile, two other squads –– one French, the other Ukrainian –– have abandoned their attempts on the mountain.

Over on K2 it looks like teams are launching their summit bids with an eye on topping out as early as the end of this week. That's a bit ahead of the normal schedule, but it seems the weather is rounding into shape and most of the climbers feel like they are acclimated enough to make the push. The Seven Summits Treks team indicates that the ropes have now been fixed to Camp 4, all of their gear and supplies are in place, and they're ready to go. The weather is currently vary good, but they are examining the forecasts for the weekend and consulting with other teams before making any commitments. Dawa Sherpa says that it is possible they could top out on Friday, July 20.

They're not the only team that looks to be getting ready to go. The Japanese squad led by Akira Oyabe have announced they are heading up the mountain too. This group of climbers were the first to arrive in BC this year and have been waiting a long time for their crack at the summit. If they stick to a "normal" schedule, they'll likely reach the top on Friday or Saturday of this week too.

Finally, contrary to earlier reports it doesn't seem as if it is completely over on Nanga Parbat just yet. A Czech team is still on the mountain and struggling to reach the top. Alan Arnette says the team suffered a setback when one of the climbers was struck by a falling rock. He elected to return to BC to rest up, while his teammates continued upwards. In their last update, they were racing to reach Camp 4 ahead of an incoming snow storm. Once there, the plan was to wait for the weather to clear and then make a dash to the summit. No further updates are available yet, so we'll just have to wait for further news.

Good luck to everyone currently starting their summit attempts. Get up and down safely and come back to tell the tale.

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