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Climbing the World to End Alzheimer's
Aug 122022
 
K2 2022: No O's, Unsupported Summits on Broad Peak and K2 -  Interview with Andreas Frydensberg and Eric Gilbertson

K2 had a record year this 2022 summer. Most of the summits were by Sherpas or Pakistani climbers helping their paying clients, but a handful were the rare type: no supplemental oxygen, no Sherpa support, and no commercial team.

Danish climber Andreas Ritzau Frydensberg with American Eric Gilbertson summited Broad Peak on July 18th and K2 on July 28th. On his website, Country Highpoints, Eric describes their Broad Peak, and K2 climbs in detail. They climbed unsupported, using Pakastani Alpine Adventure Guides for base camp services. So they climbed with no on-mountain support – no Sherpas to set up tents, cook food, or break trail. They also didn’t use supplemental oxygen.

Before getting to their story, I admit that 2022 caused me to lose some hope in the sport I admire. Too many inexperienced climbers, too much talk of records, most important only to the individual seeking it, and teams with too many clients supported but too many Sherpas. It just felt out of control. I’m thankful we had a relatively small number of deaths, but as I learn more, I see many rescues and near misses, so this was a season of luck.

In looking at what Eric and Andreas did, they gave me hope. I am excited to see younger climbers demonstrate creativity, excellent judgment, and impressive results, all in good style. It gave me hope for our sport, and I’m proud of them and several others who climbed similarly. Now, onto the interview.

This relaxed-paced interview with Eric and Andreas only days after they returned home to Seattle and Denmark, respectively.

Climb On!
Alan
Memories are Everything

K2 Summer 2022: Behind the Scenes Report

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Aug 102022
 
K2 Summer 2022: Behind the Scenes Report

K2 climbers are back home, and some are writing detailed reports on their experience. One that caught my eye was from American Eric Gilbertson as he described his no O’s, unsupported summits on K2 and Broad Peak with Danish climber Andreas Ritzau Frydensberg.

Meanwhile, there have been a few more summits in the Karakorum, but the mountain conditions are getting dangerous each day as the temperatures warm and moisture moves in. But, somehow, climbers continue to roll the dice. I hope their luck keeps up.

Big Picture

One of the topics from this summer’s Karakorum season has been the number of support the client climbers have needed, given their experience, and now about trash left on K2 allegedly from the large commercial teams. With somewhere around 200 summits on K2 and many on the other Pakistani 8000ers, 2022 was a season of excess: permits, inexperience, trash, and, yes, summits.

I’ve written for years about inexperienced clients, but, honestly, I never thought I’d be writing about them en mass on K2. But as I keep saying, times are a changn’.

K2 Summer 2022: Chasing Records

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Aug 022022
 
K2 Summer 2022: Chasing Records

Summits continue but mostly for the record seekers. The mainstream press has picked up on the K2 crowds. It’s Everest all over again. Let the hand wringing begin!

Big Picture

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, also 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 Nepai support resources to fix lines, 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.

K2 Summer 2022: Weekend Update July 30, 2022 – A Summer of Summits

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Jul 302022
 
K2 Summer 2022: Weekend Update July 30, 2022 - A Summer of Summits

And the summits keep going with many firsts, records, and races to the top thanks to this summer’s, and for that fact, this spring’s, unusually stable weather across the Himalayas. It’s not uncommon for climbers to have three, four, or even five, or more 8000er summits this year. Let’s run a few down with more to come before it’s all over.

Big Picture

The season is winding down. I think the action is over on Nanga Parbat. The snow conditions were getting too dangerous a couple of weeks ago, and several highly skilled and experienced climbers abandoned their efforts. On Gasherbrum II, there are a few climbers, mostly the record seekers, still to make attempts, the same for Gasherbrum I.

Several K2 climbers are moving to Broad Peak to attempt their double. And on K2, you never know for sure, but I think it will be quiet until winter when someone will try. Well over 90% of the K2 summits occur in July. Still, some seep into mid-August, and there have been a couple in October, but that was decades ago when the weather was much different.

Note, expect the same for Everest – a winter, no O’s, perhaps with a “solo” label even though attached to a commercial team for logistics. Life has become interesting, and I’m not sure in a good way.

This year, 2022, the weather has been good overall. Occasionally, heavy snow storms have offered challenges to teams, but on the whole, most people will not claim they didn’t summit because of bad weather. As of July 30, I estimate 190 K2 summits and three deaths or 1.6%. I have reached out to Pakistani Officials for an official count.

Jul 262022
 
K2 Summer 2022: Deaths on Broad Peak and K2

After what had been a relatively safe season in this summer’s Karakorum region, we see more deaths on K2 and Broad Peak.

CTV News Channel out of Montreal, Canada, reports that Canadian Richard Cartier, 60, and Australian Matt Eakin of Australia died on K2. They were part of a small team using Adventure Pakistan Treks and Expedition logistics.

Jul 242022
 
K2 Summer 2022: Weekend Update July 24, 2022 - Summiting Like Never Before

Well, the K2 climbers pulled it off. Congratulations to the 150++ who summited and especially to the Sherpas who fixed the lines to the summit. The weather cooperated, and there were limited problems, albeit with one death and one K2 climber is currently missing. We are approaching 200 K2 summits.

Big Picture Summits Continue, Missing K2 Climber

Several media outlets report that Canadian Richard Cartier, 61, is missing while descending from a rotation to lower Camp 4. He was last seen between C2 and C1 by teammates. A search is underway. They had mentioned using the Cesen route but were on the Abruzzi when he disappeared.

At least 10 more K2 summits brought the total ever closer to 200. Summit Karakorum reports that Abid Asad Sadpara, the nephew of the late Ali Sadpara, who died on K2 last year, made the top with no O’s. Also, Paul Etherdge, Peter ? and Muhammad Hussain Pakista. Makalu Extreme team reports summits from French alpinists Pascal Claude France and Christophe Jean France with Pasang Lama and Pasang Dorjee Sherpa.

This has been a great year across all the 8000ers for female climbers. Adding to the K2 list is Spanish (Andalusian) climber Lina Quesada. She is joined by these female summiteers this season: Andorian Stefi Troguet, Taiwanese Grace Tseng, Chinese He Jing, Pakistanis Naila Kiani and Samina Baig, plus Iranian Afsaneh Hesamifard and UAE’s Saeed Almemari. Also, American Sarah Stratton made the top.

Jul 222022
 
K2 Summer 2022: K2 Summit Sonic Boom!

The K2 season summit record was smashed with at least 118 summits over the past day, with more to come. What else was smacked was the level of support, an astonishing 73 Sherpa or Pakastani support for only 42 clients or a 1:1.7 ratio. The Everest model is now official on K2.

Big Picture – The Summit Push

The first summit of K2 was in 1954. There were few or no summits for years until the damn broke in 1986 with 26. However, K2’s history is sporadic at best for double-digit summit years. There have been 32 years since 1954 with no summits compared to only nine for Everest since 1953. There have been 15 double-digit summit years on K2, with 2018 holding the previous record with 62 summits:

Jul 212022
 
K2 Summer 2022: K2 Summits and One Death

The rope team reached K2’s summit opening the door for the first team from Madison Mountaineering to summit supported by Mashabrum Expeditions for logistics. Over 100 others are in various high camps for their respective summit bids as of 4:00 am on Friday, July 22, 2022.

Big Picture – The Summit Push and A Death

It looks like the winds picked back up across the four 8000ers over the last 24 hours, but teams remained focused and summited GII, and K2. It will be a big next 24 to 48 hours across the 8000ers as the weather is predicted to ease. Look for multiple summits from many teams. We will see a record on K2, to be sure.

Jenn Drummond reported death but no names or details. There was a death near C3 of an Afghanistan climber with Mirza Ali team Karakorum expedition team, but Ali has not mentioned it in his communications.