It’s been a difficult week in Pakistan’s Karakoram Mountain range. Heavy snow brought most teams to a complete halt forcing them to stay at base camp. Over a foot was reported at some camps. With this amount of heavy snow, the smart move is to wait for it to settle and that takes days for this amount.
We all know that snow is part of 8000-meter climbing and what is happening now in Pakistan not that unusual. In 2015 and 2016 dangerous snow conditions prevented all summits on K2 and last year, only one team summited and that took an unusually strong team of Sherpas breaking trail for two clients. Will this snow event stop soon? Who knows. The computer forecasts available on the Internet give a hint but are often, very often wrong. So the teams at all five 8000ers need to be patient and ready to move higher when the weather calms and the snow settles.
One concern however, is that almost all the teams are now at base camp so when the window opens, there could be a bit of a rush. Real Estate is limited on these peaks with spots often supporting only a handful of tents – 3, 4, 5 at most. I’ve seen tempers flair as climbers literally fight to get a spot for their teams. Let’s hope the leaders are talking and coordinating activity, but it is tough and often degrades to every team for themselves.
Japanese climber Akira Oyabe sums up the situation at K2 Base camp: “6/23-28: a week in bc with strong wind and snow (30 cm snow in BC).” That’s 12 inches, one foot. They had fixed the rope almost to C3 but they are buried now and it will take a lot of work to retrieve them.
BC, 29 June – how to say!, from the same to the same? Today because of the lack of blowers and the owner of a single snow shovel, we made originality to free the passages between tents (read igloos) and toilet using containers and barrels of barrels