K2 2017 Season Coverage: Teams Begin Climbing

Broad Peak

The climbing season in Pakistan’s Karakoram Range is well underway with teams arriving at base camps and some already spending a few nights at Camps 1 and 2 during their acclimatization rotations. There are reports of significant snow on the mountains.


Teams have just arrived at K2 base camp.

British-American  Vanessa O’Brien  reports that she just arrived at K2 base camp today. Minga Gyalje Sherpa thru his company Dreamers Destination is doing the logistics for Vanessa on K2 plus three Chinese, another American, two Icelanders, one Norwegian and one Singaporean. They are also planning on Broad Peak.

Russell Brice and his Himex team should also be there so we will have good reports soon.

In the annual battle of who will be the first “American” woman to summit K2, it appears that both Vanessa O’Brien with both a British passport and an American passport is competing against Badía Bonilla from Mexico – geographically considered part of North America – for the obscure title of “First American Woman to Summit K2.” Bonnilla along with her husband Mauricio López were also on K2 last year when avalanche conditions stopped all climbers.

Gasherbrum I/II

At 26,362’/8035m. GII is often considered the most attainable of the Karakoram’s 8000ers. There have been about 340 summits of GI and 935 of GII. Karakorum Tours Pakistan has a small team of Americans and Spanish climbers in 2017. Juan Vallejo, Mikel Zabalza and Alberto Inurrategi have reached 6400 meters.

Nanga Parbat

At 26,660’/8126m Nanga is know to be one of the more technical 8000ers. – some will say harder than K2 by some routes. There have been around 360 summits including several in the 2016 winter leaving K2 as the only 8000er not summited in winter.

According to the website Altitude Pakistan, Alberto Zerain and Mariano Galvan have ended their attempt via the Mazeno Ridge on the Diamir side of Nanga due to bad weather.

On the other side of NB, Korean Kim HongBin on the Kinshofer route hit poor conditions as well.

Broad Peak 26,414’/8051m

Teams are all over Broad Peak, including a few who just arrived this weekend. Spanish climber Oscar Cadiach and Furtenbach Adventures are already at base camp. Furtenbach reports spending nights as high as Camp 3:

Team up on the mountain again. Direct ascent to C2 (pic below) at 6200m yesterday, today to Camp 3 at 7100m and back down to C2 for another night. Tomorrow back to basecamp and acclimatization completed. Route was fixed by our sherpas. Ready for summit push when weather window opens.

Grace McDonald from Canada reports about difficult snow conditions:

Team was only able to tag about half way to C3. Rope fixing slowed by deep snow. 4 of us will go again tomorrow others go to basecamp. All sleep in C2 now.

Rupert Hauer with Furtenbach is posting excellent reports. Kari Kobler’s team is reported to be at Camp 2.

A Normal Start in Pakistan

Thus far the season is starting like most do, the lower camps getting established, and climbers doing their acclimatization rotations. Once again we are seeing Nepal Sherpas doing a lot of rope fixing whereas in previous years, it was mostly the climbers themselves. Thus the Karakorum is becoming more like the Himalaya.

The big question will be snow conditions above 7500 meters, and of course the unexpected weather. This is where the problems began the last two years. Hoping for the best for all.

Climb On!
Memories are Everything

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5 thoughts on “K2 2017 Season Coverage: Teams Begin Climbing

  1. Alan. Thanks for the ‘other mountains’ update. I miss your Everest coverage so this is a bonus! On a more sombre note do you think there is still a terrorist threat to climbers in Pakistan?

    1. Many governments still have Pakistan on their warning list making it difficult to get travel/rescue insurance but when I was there in 2014 I felt safer than in 2006. There are many more military checkpoints and patrols now, including on the KKH.

  2. Very happy you are doing updates for other Mountains Alan. Thanks!!! Good luck & be safe to all!!!

  3. You make the point about Nanga Parbat having a high level of difficulty.

    Which is more difficult – Nanga parbat by it’s most commonly used route or K2 via it’s most commonly used route (presumably the Abruzzi Spur route)?

    1. My point was “some will say harder than K2 by some routes. ” Keyword is “some”. In a similar fashion, I have had “some” people tell me Makalu is harder than Everest.

      These type of comparison will never be adjudicated due to the individual climber’s skills, experience plus the conditions of the mountain when that person climbed so it becomes a matter of personal opinion.

      Perhaps the only objective was to judge a mountain’s difficulty is by the number of summits and number of deaths overall.

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