The summer Karakorum season is over, well, I think so. There are always a few surprises. The 48 summits on K2 were close but not a record. 2018 saw a record with 62 total summits, followed by 2004 with an estimated 51. This season saw two deaths, one on a new route on K2 and one on Broad Peak. Overall there were around 100 summits in the Karakorum
I interview Garrett Madison, from K2 Base Camp today, July 30, 2021, after his 3rd summit. Discussed his 21 person team summit plus the latest on finding the bodies of the 3 missing winter climbers. And an update on the West Ridge effort – it’s not over.
Garrett Madison, founder of Madison Mountaineering has now summited K2 three times. Only one other person has more. This is his sixth expedition to K2 making him the most experienced western operator to run regular trips to the Northern Terrorities of Pakistan. He was the leader for the 21 person team who submitted on July 28, 2018, at approximately 6:07 AM PKT (local time).
With the new 4G Cell tower in Concordia, Garret took the hour walk from K2 Base Camp to Broad Peak Base Camp to talk with me over Zoom about his summit. We discussed their rotations to Camp 1 and 2, the snow conditions on the mountain, finding the bodies of the three climbers who went missing last winter, and more. I think you’ll enjoy getting this first-hand information directly from Northern Pakistan.
K2 continues to live up to its reputation by taking another life, this time on a new route. Meanwhile, teams are making progress on the Abruzzi but some climbers feel the lack of support and organization make this summer too dangerous and have thrown in the towel. Those remaining continue to target July 27th and 28th for their summit.
With the summits and tragedy on Broad Peak subsidizing, albeit, with still much unknown, the K2 teams are patiently waiting out the poor weather for their chance. However, it appears the mountain may have received well over a foot of fresh snow, thus increasing the avalanche danger, especially around Camp 3