K2 2018 Summer Coverage: Weekend Update July 6

Pakistan 8000ers

As we approach the first weekend in July 2018, one word summarizes this season: weather. It is appearing that teams will need some serious relief from the heavy snowfall if there will be summits this year.

Big Picture

2018 is looking a lot like 2015 and 2016 when no one summited K2 and only a few made the other peaks through Pakistan. This is what I wrote summarizing the 2015 season, “The ambient temperature at 6000, 7000 and 8000 meters was higher than in previous years. The snowpack was like soft ice cream and the rocks fell like rain. The “normal” routes became death traps. Teams were unprepared to scout out alternatives and yielded to the inevitable choice of life over summits.” And for 2106, “A large avalanche reported on 23 July, 2016 on K2 has destroyed tents, buried fixed ropes and swept way the cache of food and oxygen bottles at Camp 3.  There were no injuries or fatalities reported. While not 100% certain, it appears for the second year in a row no one will make the top.”

This weekend 6-9 July there are several consecutive good weather days, for the first time in a while enabling at least the Northern Pakistan teams to tag Camps 1 and 2 and the Sherpas to work on getting the route to C3. There has been enough time for the heavy snow earlier this week to settle but avalanche risk is a constant factor. But next week, some forecasts call for 6cm/3-inches of new snow on Monday then 15cm/6-inches additional snow on Wednesday and Friday. Let’s hope this forecast proves wrong. In any event, this weekend is busy with teams trying get at least a couple nights at altitude for acclimatization.

This is a rundown on who is still climbing:

And these climbers have blogs that appear to be updated:

K2 – Climbing

Dawa Sherpa with Seven Summits Treks has taken the lead in fixing the ropes on K2. He reports progress during this good weather break, “SST K2 international Expeditions team 6 members and 6 Sherpas second rotation safely arrived camp one” Japanese climber Akira Oyabe and three of his team “touched Camp 2.” Jason Black and Canadian Nathalie Fortin was planning on reaching C2 this weekend. No current updates.

All the climbing on K2 this season appears to be on the Abruzzi Ridge. Historically, it has been used for 75% of the summits. There are several technically difficult features including Houses’ Chimney, and the Black Pyramid. The Bottleneck Couloir is one of the most dangerous sections serving as a blowing alley for rock and ice fall. The Abruzzi usually has 4 camps on the mountain:

  • K2 routes
    K2 Routes: Abruzzi and Česen

    Base Camp: 18,600ft/5669m

  • Advanced Base Camp: 18,650ft/5684m
  • Camp 1: 19,965’/6085m
  • Camp 2: 22,110’/6740m
  • Camp 3: 23,760’/7240m
  • Camp 4: 25,080’/7644m
  • Summit: 28,251’/8611m

Broad Peak – Climbing and a Weekend Summit Push?

Furtenbach Adventures, running a BP and a K2 trip said they were going for the BP summit over this weekend of good weather. They are being focused in order to move over to K2 as soon as possible. Other teams may wait out this next week of bad conditions and target mid to late July for they BP summit push. This will also give them time to further acclimatize.

Jake Meyer is doing a great job updating his Blog. He is aiming to summit K2 but acclimatizing on Broad Peak, “All things being good, we’ll head back up BP for our second rotation tomorrow morning, this time planning to stay 2-3 nights on the hill, and ideally sleep at Camp 2 (6200m), which will be good for our acclimatisation. My bag is packed, ready to go, and although the weather is still not great, hopefully the forecast of higher pressure tomorrow and for the weekend will prevail.” David RoeskeCarlos Garranzo, and Fredrik Sträng also expected to be at the high camps this weekend.

“I’ve never experienced such a season with so constant bad weather in the Karakoram.”

I reported this yesterday but desires a special place on this weekend update. German guide Amical alpin decided it was too dangerous and have cancelled their climb asking for porters to get them out ASAP. Their Dominik Müller posted: The entire material from camp 1 could be recovered. Right now it’s snowing again and in the rise some avalanches went off! All save back in bc” Also Luis Stitzinger said “I’ve never experienced such a season with so constant bad weather in the Karakoram.”

Gasherbrum – No Updates

Adam Bielecki continues his wait and see mode on G but may be up this weekend along with Masha Gordon and Helias Millerioux, Yannick Graziani trying to traverse G1/G2 traverse.

Nanga Parbart – Over for Most

Mike Horn,  Alex Gavan and Tunc Findik, all exceptionally strong and experienced climbers, have ended this summer efforts on NB due to weather. Maya Sherpa appears to still be there.

Alpamayo, PeruDeaths on Alpamayo

I’m deeply saddened to report the loss of a climbing friend this past week. Paul Samuel, 55, from London, Slovenian female climber Eva Zontar Litija, 27, and their Peruvian guide Jaime Quintana Figueroa, 40 were hit by a snow avalanche on the Ferrari Route on Peru’s Alpamayo, 5,947meter/19,511 feet .

I summited Manaslu with Paul in 2013 and found him a total delight. He was quite experienced and was on a guided trip. For my 2012 summit of Alpamayo we climbed the French Direct Route. Sadly this is not the first time the Ferrari has dealt death. In 2003, eight climbers were killed by an avalanche in the same flute. My sincere condolences to the friends and families of all the fallen. source

Climb On!
Memories are Everything

Correction: The ill fated Alpamayo trip was not organized by the company I previously showed – per their owner. I removed the company name.

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