Summits continue but mainly for the record seekers. The mainstream press has picked up on the K2 crowds. It’s Everest all over again, with reports of crowds, inexperienced clients, excessive support, and oxygen. Only a few stories of the deep satisfaction that comes with true accomplishments. Let the hand-wringing begin!
Without a doubt, the summer of 2022 will go down as when things changed in Pakistan’s Karakorum. Thus far, there are around 200 summits on K2, dwarfing the previous record year in 2018 of 62. Also, we saw at least ten women summit, smashing any pretense of a “female curse” on K2. I estimate somewhere between 25 and 30 women have now summited K2.
We also saw multiple commercial teams use extensive Pakistan and Nepal support resources to fix lines and establish and stock camps with supplemental oxygen that allowed climbers, who in previous years would never have considered K2, not only to attempt it but summit, some without O’s.
I’m seeing many articles in the press about K2, quoting expedition leaders who talk about crowds, rockfall, dangerous conditions, too many people on the route at one time, and some now marketing other routes on K2 as safer. There is a reason the Abruzzi is the most used route on K2. But this generation of operators has a risk tolerance, they would say they are better climbers, which is different than the old timers, and in some cases, they have been correct. As I’ve said many times this season, times are a changin.
Norwegian Kristin Harila, 36, supported by 8K Expeditions’ Dawa Ongju and Pasdawa Sherpa, got their ninth 8000ers since April 28, 2022. She is trying for the shortest time to climb all 14 and will need to finish by November 3, 2022, to get the speed record. She has GI & II, Cho Oyu, and Shishapangma remaining. I remain a bit confused as to her status with Manaslu.
Also on Broad was Tawainese Tseng Ko-Erh aka Grace Tseng, 29, supported by Dolma Outdoor’s Nima Gyalzen Sherpa and Ningma Dorje Tamang. She is said to have not used O’s. She wants to be the youngest Tawainese to get all fourteen. She has twelve now and is off to the Gasherbrums.
Gasherbrum I and II
Six Deaths: 3-K2, 2- Broad Peak 1- GII
The death toll remains relatively low, given the number of summits this summer. Thus far, there are six: three on K2, two on Broad Peak, and one near G II.
On K2, Canadian Richard Cartier, 60, and Australian Matt Eakin of Australia. They were part of a small team using Adventure Pakistan Treks and Expedition logistics. Also on K2 was Afghanistan climber Ali Akber Sakhim, 34, who died from altitude sickness near C3 on K2 on July 20, 2022.
On Broad Peak, Pakistani climber Sharif Sadpara died after falling through a soft spot on the summit ridge cornice. And Scottish climber Gordon Henderson is reported missing, but his home team now presumes he’s dead, according to a report from the RAF. He was part of the British Services Mountaineering Expedition.
Finally, Pakistani High Altitude Worker, Iram Karim, died after falling into the raging stream near GII Base Camp.
Memories are Everything
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