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Feb 012021
 
K2 Climbers 2014. © www.alanarnette.com

K2 Sherpas and climbers have left for their summit bid. There is a window emerging centered on February 4 and 5 ending late Saturday.  I’m anticipating 20 to 30 people on this push (members and Sherpas/Pakistanis) with a 40% summit rate if the weather holds.


Big Picture

Here’s the K2 summit schedule for the SST team: (all dates and times K2 time)

  • Tuesday, 2 Feb: BC – C1 (winds over 20 mph)
  • Wednesday, 3 Feb: C1 C3 (winds drop under 20 mph late afternoon)
  • Thursday, 4 Feb: C3 – Begin Summit Push before midnight (winds under 20 mph)
  • Friday, 5 Feb: Summit – C2 (winds under 20 mph)
  • Saturday, 6 Feb: C2 – BC (wind increase over 20 mph late afternoon)

Snorri may be a bit faster as they plan to take 2 days from BC to C3, then the summit and back to C2. So three days up and one back. Again, incredibly aggressive. They may summit on Thursday where everyone else on Friday

This is the 10-day wind forecast from windy.com (red is bad, green is good):

K2 February Forecast. Courtesy of windy.com

K2 February Forecast. Courtesy of windy.com

There are two risks for these climbers on this summit push: 1) the winds return early, which doesn’t seem too likely, and 2) the lack of acclimatization prevents their bodies from performing at such extreme altitudes, especially in such cold, harsh conditions. A slightly less but still very real risk is with this many people climbing at the same time, the opportunity for rockfall dramatically increases. This has been a relatively low snow season so the rocks are just sitting there and an accidental kick by a climber could mean serious consequences for those below.

They have been at K2 Base Camp for a month or more. Just living at 16,500-feet punishes the body. Small cuts don’t heal, constant GI issues like diarrhea are amplified and sap precious energy – even at Base Camp, much less 10,000 feet higher.

But the biggest issue is that many of those on this push never got higher than C1, at Camp 1: 19,965’/6050m. That would be equivalent to C1 on Everest Southeast Ridge or Advanced Base Camp on the Northeast Ridge. I don’t know many climbers who would go for the summit with these camps being their high on Everest. Even the most ambitious Everest climbers try to sleep at 21,000 or 23,000 minimum.


Snorri & Team – On the Move

John Snorri Sigurjonsson with Muhammad Ali Sadpara and Muhammad’s 20-year-old son Sajid Ali will leave soon aiming for this window of February 4 and 5. John told me, “I believe we can use 3 days to summit and 1 day to go back to bc. All I know is there are line missing on the way. Nims used my 700m lines to fix Bottleneck and the traverse.”

Seven Summits Treks – On the Move

Seven Summits Trek’s has sent eight Sherpas up to fix the route, and stock the camps for their members. By my count, there are 15 members (perhaps fewer) and about 20 Sherpas still left. Looks like Tamara Lunger is going for it:

The plan is to leave tomorrow morning [ED: Feb2] at 5 and go directly to Camp 2, the next day to Camp 3 and if there is no wind we will try to do a low Camp 4 and then … I will try to give you updates! I need all your support, because only together with you I will be able to bring out all my strength


Manaslu: More Progress

Simone Moro, Alex Txikon, and Iñaki Alvarez are at Manaslu Base Camp. Tenji Sherpa and Vinayak Jaya Malla are also at Manaslu Base Camp ready to move higher when winds allow. Alex’s update:

Hello!! Day in BC waiting for the relay led by Simone, who today equipped 250mt on the route. Tonight Iñaki, Vinayak, Tenzing and Gelum will stay at C1, while Simone will return to BC. The weather is still on our side. Let’s goooo!

Simone’s update:

Today was an important day – a huge effort: from 5900m to 6600m and then down to 4850 m. The Sherpas assisted me for quite a while then ran away from the cold. I continued and fixed everything. From 6600 m. we finally see the possibility of arriving at Camp 3 with two more days of work less hard than the last in terms of swimming in the almost vertical snow.

Climb On!
Alan
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