K2 2019 Summer Season Coverage – K2 Becomes More Organized

K2 Camp 1: 19,965'/6050m

Good weather is allowing teams to make excellent progress on their acclimatization rotations across the Karakorum. Another teams moves from the Abruzzi to the Česen on K2.

Big Picture

Teams have been in the Karakorum for a couple of weeks now. The season began with a lot of snow during the trek and difficult conditions were reported at K2 Base Camp. But the weather has improved considerably in recent days. This break has enable climbers all over to make excellent progress with their acclimatization schedules and to achieve summits on Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrum I and Broad Peak.

I’m getting reports of excellent cooperation amongst the teams on almost all the mountains. With a record number of permits, this is critical to reduce the risks of poor tent placement, triggering rockfall or avalanches. Of course there will always be that person, especially given that some teams have members with limited experience and K2 is not the place to learn!

If the weather continues like it has, we might see summits on K2 as early as later this week or into the week of July 15. In 2014, the first summits were on July 26 and in 2017 on July 28 and last year, 2018, on July 21. Of course, weather fronts run in patterns so this period may end soon.

Lastly, there is a mix of small “independent” teams like Mike Horn or David Klein but most of the population are members of large commercial efforts like Madison, Furtenbach or Seven Summits Treks. Their Sherpas are the ones fixing the routes with ropes. As I’ve previously reported there are a record number of climbers on K2 this year, close to 125 but with attrition, we can expect to see less than 100 attempting the summit split over the two primary routes on the lower mountain.

K2- Česen

Furtenbach Adventures has moved from Broad Peak to K2 and will join Madison Mountaineering and Mingma Sherpa on the Česen.

After opening the route and summiting on Broad Peak our team moved over to K2 basecamp. All is set and we continue our cooperation on K2 from last year with Garret and Mingma and will also be climbing on the Cesen route. Weather looks promising…

As I mentioned in the last post, Mingma Sherpa of Imagine Nepal has switched from the standard Abruzzi to the Česen route due to crowds. Now it appears that Madison Mountaineering has switched as well. This takes over 50 climbers off the standard route but still leaves over 75 on the Abruzzi.

K2 Česen Route aka Basque Route
K2 Česen Route aka Basque Route
K2 routes
K2 Routes: Abruzzi and Česen

Garrett Madison of Madison Mountaineering posted from the Česen route:

Today is July 8th, and we are up at Camp 2, most of us.  We had a great day today:  we climbed halfway up to Camp 3 for acclimatization and familiarity with the route.  Had beautiful weather today; great views of the surrounding peaks and the Godwin-Austen Glacier.  We are back to Camp 2, tucked in and ready for bed.  Our plan is to probably spend another day up here at Camp 2 acclimatizing and then heading down in a couple of days time.

K2 – Abruzzi

Over on the Abruzzi, Seven Summits Treks noted progress: “Rope fixing team fixed rope till Camp 4 today in K2. Climbers are waiting for Final Push soon.” Hungarian David Klein and partner Suhajda Szilárd slept at 6700 meters on their rotations.

Mike Horn is back at BC after a night at Camp 2.

And because going up is only half way, here is a little preview of @fredroux72 climbing down what we call the chimney on our way back to basecamp from camp 2. Can’t wait to head up to camp 3 soon and finish our acclimatization process and attempt the summit within the next couple weeks!

He posted a short video rappelling down House Chimney.


You can compare the snow conditions from this picture I took in 2014 of the Chimney.

House Chimney in 2014 by Alan Arnette

GI &II – Summits and Progress

The Alpine Club Pakistan reports summits on Gasherbrum I:

Congratulations to Mr. HongBin Kim And his team members. Summit Gasherbrum I (8068m) Expedition led by Mr. Kim Hongbin has successfully Summit G1 on dates 7-7-2019 at 5:12pm Pakistan standard time. Summit members:-
1. Mr. Kim Hongbin Leader. ( Korean)
2. Mr. Cho Cheol Hee ( Korean)
3. Mr. Cheong Ha Young ( Korean)
4. Mr. Pechhumbe Sherpa ( Nepal)
5. Mr. Muhammad Pakistani.

Sergi Mingote is moving to Gasherbrum now that he has summited Nanga. Same for Nirmal Purja Purja Purja. Matthew Randall & Matt Gorbett who are attempting to climb and ski Gasherbrum I and II without oxygen have slept at Camp 3 and are heading back to base before their final summit push. Denis Urubko and Pipi Cardell who are looking at a new route on GII reported: “We start acclimatisation up to G2 and all goes good!!!” Also, Marco Confortola with Ali Durani have competed two rotations and are back at base camp.

Broad Peak – Ready for More Summits

Kobler and Parter team made it to Camp 3 for their acclimatization. Lydia Bradey posted some nice pictures and Billie Bierling gave a solid update on the blog. Of note she talks about hard blue ice between Camps 2 and 3.

Climb On!
Memories are Everything

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3 thoughts on “K2 2019 Summer Season Coverage – K2 Becomes More Organized

  1. Alan, is the Nirmal Purja Purja ‘Nirmal Purja Purja Purja’ Purba’s plan to summit all 14 8000’s still possible? Even if he manages to summit all the Karakorum ones this summer, there are still some left in Nepal, and the season there is over, isnt it?

    1. There are 2 climbing windows in Nepal – pre and post monsoon so he will have plenty of time in October to summit Cho, Shish, and Manaslu.

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