2018/19 Winter Climbs: “Hurricane” at K2 and Messner Weighs In

As had been predicted, high winds are hitting K2 Base Camp and everyone is holding tight for the storm to pass. The high winds will persist through Friday so look for a quiet week and then a lot of climbing starting on the weekend with perhaps a summit push late next week.

Informed Opinions say “No Summits”

While these climbers are waiting out weather and trying to keep camps stocked, some big names are weighing in that they “have no chance.”

Denis Urubko opined on K2, “they have no chance to get there this year”: (source)

It is impossible to go to K2 without significant acclimatization, without a well-prepared road. March 1 is the end of winter and they do not have time. They have no chance of winning the K2 this year. But there will be other expeditions, mountain waiting. I’m tired of these expeditions; but I still have plans for the next 3 years! A new route on Gasherbrum II in summer, in winter Broadpeak and finally K2 in winter. I think to finish my career by K2 winter.”

And Reinhold Messner’s conclusion is that it will be the weather conditions that will decide: (source)

Messner explains that ” the Russian-Kazakh-Kyrgyz expedition has reached 7,000 meters while the one led by the Basque Alex Txikon, formed by five Sherpas and another Spanish mountaineer [Felix Criado] has reached field 2 ” .Messner notes that there is no collaboration between the two groups because, in his opinion, the two methods to face the mountain are radically different: “While the first expedition advances with a typically Soviet method, based on many days of sacrifice and work constant, even in adverse conditions, the second moves less and only then can be fast. Txikon tries to reserve as much as possible the energies, physical and mental . “

And finally, Krzysztof Wielicki: “I wish good luck to the two teams that are trying to top the winter K2”. He went to add: (source)

I believe that the attempt of truth will begin on the 7,600. When they reach the 7,800 meters and arrive under the Bottle Neck is when the real competition will begin, and I think the referee will be the time.

I think they ‘re a little late if you want to finish by the end of February [ this conversation took place on February 6] … I think you can not try the top from 7,200 meters, it’s too low a height. I do not know if they have time to establish another camp; in winter it is very difficult to start from 7,300 meters to reach the summit at 8,600 meters and return.

For that reason, in my opinion, they have to establish field 4 near the Bottle Neck or bivouac, but for that they have to be very well acclimatized and for that they have to spend two or three nights at 7,300 meters. And, first of all, they have to reach this height.

K2: Huricane!

K2: Spanish/Galician Team – Holding

The other K2 team, lead by Alex Txikon posted a nice update as they wait out the winds.

We are preparing for the hurricane that will hit us the next few days. Winds up to 90 km/hour at expected in the Base Camp and category 4 hurricane, with winds of 210 km/hour at the top of K2. For this reason, we have built a 20 cm wide and 1.80 cm high snow wall on the southern part of the Base Camp. Taking into account the progression of the igloos, we have powerful reasons to believe in snow forts. After the hurricane passes through good weather is expected, and we will be able to carry on working. While we can plan for the future, we must first deal with the here and now, and protect ourselves from the storm. We built a defensive wall with battlements to protect us from the wind. We got inspired by the engineer Vauban, who revolutionized defensive fortifications during Louis XVI reign. A hug!!!!!!!

You can follow their movements on Alex’s GPS tracker,  Twitter,  Instagram, and Facebook.

Txikon K2 Camp

K2: Kazakhstan, Russia and Kyrgyzstan Team – Holding

The Kazakhstan, Russia and Kyrgyzstan team is also at base camp to wait out degrading weather. They posted a couple of nice action videos.

You can follow them on Instagram but Russian Climb and their site are the best sources.

Winter Nanga Parbat – Holding

Daniele Nardi, and British Thomas Ballard continue to wait out weather at base camp. They are attempting the Mummery’s Spur. They did an update on their sponsor’s site:

We’ve been up to C2 several times recently. But always the threat of avalanches made us turn back without spending the night. We even turned back from C1 because we didn’t have a good feeling. Well-founded as a huge avalanche engulfed our line of ascent shortly after. Back to waiting. Patience is a virtue after all.


You can follow them on their sponsors site, Montane.

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