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Feb 022021
 
K2 Climbers 2014. © www.alanarnette.com

This round of 22+ K2 climbers have some at Camp 1, around 20,000-feet, others leaving Wednesday morning, all aiming for a summit attempt on Friday. Long range forecast suggest another window late next week but too early to call.


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 morning)
  • 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 by noon)

Snorri and team 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 plan to summit on Friday. They delayed their departure by one day and will leave BC at 4 am Wednesday morning.

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


Snorri & Team – Targeting Friday, February 5th for Summit

John Snorri Sigurjonsson with Muhammad Ali Sadpara and Muhammad’s 20-year-old son Sajid Ali will leave early Wednesday morning aiming for a Friday summit. John gave this schedule:

We are aiming for the summit on the 5th February , Friday morning at noon PKT.
On the 3rd at 04.00 PKT we will start our climbing and go from base camp to camp 2, our C2 is located under House of chimney. We will rest there over night. Next morning on the 4th at 08.00 PKT we go from C2 up the Black Pyramid to regular camp 3 and rest there over the day. The same day 4th of January we start our summit push at 21.00 PKT and are aiming it will take us 15 to 16 hours to get on the summit.
Today I am feeling emotional and excitement towards the summit push, we have been here for long time. It has filled our hearts with gratitude to hear about all the support we have from people all over the world. Hopefully this will be our window to make it to the winter summit of K2.

Seven Summits Treks – At C1, 18 or more from SST on the Mountain

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. Perhaps nine or more members along with two or more climbing Sherpas are with them in addition to the eight already on the mountain. This puts 19 people from SST on this summit push, leaving six or so members hoping for another window.

Style

One of the topics the purists love to pontificate about is style – solo, unsupported, assisted, etc. My interest comes in the climber being honest and accurate about what support they used. Several members are not partnering with a climbing Sherpa but they will use the fixed ropes thus their effort would be classified as “unsupported” with an asterisk, and certainly not solo as they are climbing in a large group, following other climber’s boot track. And clearly not “alpine” regardless of the definition used for that style.

O’s, No O’s

Another don’t care for me but some do care is Os, so let’s run down the O’s usage. We know that Mattia Conte, Tamara Lunger and Juan Pablo Mohr Prieto will not use supplemental oxygen. It’s been reported but not confirmed that Magdalena Gorzkowska and Oswald Rodrigo Pereira will also not use Os.

Other climbers thought to be on this push, using Os, include Antonios Sykaris, Noel Hanna, Bernhard Lippert and Tomasz Rotar. I continue to be concerned about everyone’s acclimatization, or lack thereof, especially for the ones not using O’s. The lack of acclimatization is a dangerous gamble with their lives. I hope they use good judgement and don’t risk fingers, toes or lives, or lives of those assisting in a rescue.

Antonios Sykaris and many others are reported to be at Camp 1:

Antonis is at Camp 1 and resting, he is in good health. It has -27 in the tent and the wind is at 20km.
We will be back with new ones soon.


Manaslu: More Progress, Summit Prep

Simone Moro, Alex Txikon, and Iñaki Alvarez along with the separate team of Tenji Sherpa and Vinayak Jaya Malla are making good progress fixing the route and have begun thinking bout the summit. Alex’s update:

Alex, Iñaki, Cheppal, Gelum, Namja and Kalden are at C1, where they will sleep. Today Iñaki and Gelum brought 400m of rope, poles and 2 ladders to the highest point equipped, while Alex and the others brought another 1,000m of rope, poles …from BC to C1 … tomorrow they hope to bring everything to C2 and that Simone, Tenzing and Vinayak bring the rest of their material from BC to C2. Then, 2-3 days resting all together at BC before the summit attack

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
Memories are Everything

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  9 Responses to “Winter K2 Update: Headed Higher”

  1.  

    thanx for the valuable info here. keep wising us buddy

  2.  

    I think john and other climbers made a huge mistake to wait and leave BC not monday but tuesday and today. Weather forecast changed, tomorrow will be the perfect bleu bird day to attemp summit with winds almost zero. But it is out of reach since climbers are only at C1 and C2. Friday now expecting higher winds. So it could be possible no one of this clombers reach summit in this window because they left BC too late. Perhaps only the eight sherpa’s, and mohr(tracker) and ?, they are at 7300m now.

  3.  

    Hello Alan,

    Colin Obrady also has a GPS tracker on his website https://www.colinobrady.com/theimpossiblesummit It might be helpful to follow this second group of slower climbers/clients.

  4.  

    Alan, thank you so much for your most wonderful and detailed expedition updates. A joy for those sat in lockdown across the world! I would like to extend the discussion about the SST summit push. I was surprised when I heard about their plans some weeks ago, and wondered why their ‘elite’ members would choose to team up with them. They are neither following an alpine style, nor with an organisation that inspires confidence. Their safety record on the 8000s is, quite frankly, appalling. Look at their track record and what the likes of Russell Brice have said. Now I am highly concerned that their members have been coerced into summit fever before they set off on their summit push yesterday. The lack of acclimatization is astonishing. I can see all the holes in the Swiss Cheese aligning here. K2, SST, winter, lack of acclimatization, many members not using oxygen… There has already been tragedy on this expedition (the circumstances of which a little odd and SST deafening silence on this), and I foresee and fear a repeat. I hope that the individual climbers make the right calls for themselves, as I have no confidence their leaders at base camp will. I wish them all luck and pray for their safe return to base camp.

    •  

      Thanks Seb. Yes there are different groups of members on the Hill tonight. The “elite” climbers will be fine, even turning back. It’s the ones with limited winter 8000er combined with minimal acclimatization that I worry about. Hopefully their Sherpa Guides will take care of them

  5.  

    I’m really interested to see how high the various groups will be able to climb.
    Fingers crossed for the Pakistani/ Icelandic expedition. They sure put a lot of time and effort into this push.

    Alan, is it possible that people climbing with Os will use more of it to compensate the lack of sufficient acclimatization? Or in other words: is this even possible?

    •  

      Hi Fran, it’s possible but usually this suggest running at 4,6 or more lpm, and they usually calculated around 2 lpm for the entire push (especially these guys who have experience at 8000) thus they don’t bring enough bottles to run too many people at higher flow rates. A bit of chicken and egg problem.

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