Winds continue to keep climbers in place or being very careful with limited acclimatization rotations. The forecast doesn’t look great for either K2 or Everest but there are days with low winds that may be suitable for some progress. See this post for full background on the K2 and Everest expeditions and the history of winter attempts on the highest two mountains on Earth. Both expeditions need to summit no later than the spring equinox on March 20, 2018, at 0:15 PKT for K2 and 18:00 NPT for Everest to meet a winter summit definition.
So what are their chances of summiting? I think comes down to one word: wind. If on their summit push, the winds stay below 30 mph, about 50 kph, they can safely push. They might even go if the winds don’t gust higher than 40 mpm/65 kph. But this is still a couple of weeks away at the earliest. On K2 they have reached 6,300-meters with the fixed rope and need to get to the high camp, aka C4 at 8,000-meters. On Everest, they have fixed the rope to 7950-meters so they are slightly ahead – not that this is a competition.
But keep in mind that these are extraordinary climbers – uniquely strong and extremely determined so given the chance to go for the summit in a safe but narrow weather window, they may skip a camp altogether and climb fast and hard. And that is what makes this even more exciting.
The Polish team continues to battle high winds on K2. Marcin Kaczkan and Denis Urubko slept at C1, 5,900-metres then moved up to C2 at 6,300m. They are making day by day decisions on whether to go higher or back to base camp. They said they are dealing with high winds but it’s “manageable.” All other members remain at base camp as the winds are expected to go even stronger late 5 February. This is a drone photo of their base camp on the glacier about an hour from the start of the Cesen route:
Alex Txikon and the team continue to stay at base camp after reaching 7,850 meters between Camp 3 and the South Col. The winds continue to be too strong to climb higher – 70 mph/112 kph at the South Col. The computer models show strong winds for the rest of the week, but that can change quickly.
Other Winter Climbs
There are a couple of other climbs this winter:
A small team of Pakistani climbers is attempting the first winter summit 7200 meter Masherbrum West Peak aka Masherbrum 2. Lead by Maaz Maqsood. We finally have something of an update from this team. The three Pakistani climbers, Maaz Maqsood, Ali Durrani, and Ali Rozi, established a Camp 1 but are fighting deep snow. They posted over the weekend they will leave for their summit bid directly from base camp with only one camp established. They posted this video on facebook:
Another big winter climb is by Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger on a very northern peak in Siberia, Pik Pobeda, 3003 meters, in the Chersky Range region. Note there are two peaks named Podeda, their’s in Sakha Republic, Russia and the other on the border between China and Kyrgyzstan at 24406 ft / 7439 m. To complicate it further, the higher peak’s official name in Kyrgyz is Jengish Chokosu, which means “Victory Peak”; its Russian name is Pik Pobedy (or Peak Pobeda) which has the same meaning. I *think* I have this correct: -? . source You can follow them on Simone’s SPOT. They posted this rare update today on facebook:
“Simone, Tamara Lunger, Matteo Zanga and Filippo Valoti-Alebardi have been stuck for about a week in a little village in the middle of nowhere, or better, in a shack belonging to three reindeer herdsmen. The spot is marked on the map. Each day seemed good to start heading off with the reindeer drawn sledges, towards the base of the mountain (Pik Pobeda 3003 m.), but the weather conditions have forced them to postpone day after day. With a quick call by satellite phone they have let us know that tomorrow they will be setting off nonetheless. It is still snowing but temperatures have gone back to normal: only -28°.”
Memories are Everything