After my successful summit of K2 in 2014, I will be covering the 2015 K2 climbing season from my home in Colorado this year for the first time.
I’ll try to do it the same style as my annual Everest coverage but information is much more difficult to obtain from Northern Pakistan than Nepal. I’ll do my to throw in occasional coverage for climbers on Broad peak and Gasherbrum I and II.
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I will not be keeping a location table like I do for Everest given the lack of detailed information but these are a few of the teams on K2 this year. 2015 marks a milestone in K2 history with multiple true “commercial” teams on the mountain.
One of the major changes for 2015 is that commercial teams must match their Sherpas with local Pakistan High Altitude Porters (HAPs) so as not to take jobs away from the locals. This is good that it trains HAPs but it drives up the costs significantly.
I don’t think we will see K2 become Everest with 30 commercial teams but clearly 2015 marks a shift is who attempts and guides on K2.
- Himalayan Experience (Himex): 12 members, 2 guides, 11 Sherpas, ~ 11 Pakistan HAPs
- Madison Mountaineering : 7 members, 2 guides, 6 Sherpas and 9 Pakistan HAPs
- Seven Summits Treks: 10 members, 1 leader, 11 Sherpas and ~ 7 Pakistan HAPs
- Adventure Tours Pakistan
- Karakorum Tours Pakistan
If you have a team and want coverage, please contact me.
Individuals with Blogs include:
- David Tait (Himex)
- Bo Parfit (Himex)
- Alex Turner (Himex)
- Nick Rice on Gasherbrum I
- Vanessa O’Brien (Madison Mountaineering)
- Joe Ashkar (Madison Mountaineering)
- Jason Black
- Mirza Ali and Samina Baig
- Philippe Gatta
- Mike Horn, Fred Roux and Köbi Reichen
- Chris Jensen Burke (Broad Peak)
- Al Hancock (Broad Peak)
Raheel Adnan has a great site for all things Karakorum with a full list of teams.
The Easy Part of Climbing K2
Every K2 from Pakistan starts in Islamabad. This year, it appears over 50, perhaps 100, foreigners streamed into Islamabad to begin their journey to K2 Base Camp.
Reports from the climbers were very consistent: Islamabad was boring for a tourist, hot and they were excited to start their climb.
Most teams try to fly directly to Skardu via a daily Pakistan International Airline flight, but due to regular bad weather in Skardu, it is canceled 20% of the time and very delayed another 25%. Thus some teams are forced to take the 30 hour, 2 day drive along the very dangerous Karakorum Highway.
Nick Rice reported on his initial journey:
I was relieved when we took off from Islamabad, but knew that the flight could be turned around at any point before landing due to weather conditions in Skardu. Thankfully, the flight arrived to Skardu. We disembarked onto the runway, took a bus to the terminal, registered with the police, and headed to our respective hotels. I’m very grateful for Manzoor’s foresight in purchasing me the flight ticket for the same day I arrived to Islamabad. Not only did it save me from having to bear with the 40 degree Celsius heat in Islamabad, but it also saved me having to endure the two day drive up the Karakorum Highway, which passes by areas of the country that are quite dangerous to Westerners.
Many of the teams successfully reached Skardu and stayed at the time honored Concordia Motel, enjoying Internet (slow) and evening cookouts (fantastic) with great views of the Indus River. It is here that you begin to feel like you might be a climber and not a tourist as most every climber in the Karakorum stays there, chatting, sharing dreams and talking mountains.
Mike Horn and his team have already started their trek to K2 Base Camp, reporting that they are at 4400 meters or 14,400 feet on the Baltoro Glacier. He also commented on the weather during the trek:
Amazing weather, Hot as hell, another 3 more days walk to K2 Base Camp. The whole team is doing well.
OK, more as information becomes available. But remember, Internet connectivity is spotty at in Pakistan and most teams will not be posting updates on their 8 days hike up the Baltoro Glacier to base camps.
Memories are Everything