K2 Summer 2022: K2 Summits and One Death

View from Traditional Camp 4 on K2.

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.

K2 Summer 2022: K2 Rope Progress, Broad peak Summits

View from Traditional Camp 4 on K2.

Broad Peak saw more summits, including some mind-boggling fast times. The ropes are nearing the summit on K2, and progress continues on Gasherbrum II. The spike in the winds came and went, and conditions are good for now. Look for K2 summits anytime now, first by the rope team.

Big Picture – The Summit Push

So far, so good despite the rope teams on K2 fighting off the predicted spike in the winds. There are reports of over 100 people spread across the various camps on K2. Also, they are using the so-called “Japanese” camps, which are a bit lower than traditional camps. This is a low snow year on K2, and the rock fall has been significant, so teams are seeking safer locations for the high camps.

K2 Summer 2022: Weekend Update July 16: K2 Summer 2022: Summit Push Drama

View from Traditional Camp 4 on K2.

This has been a ‘lay-low’ week with storms hitting the higher elevations of Pakistan’s 8000ers. Yet, there were thwarted attempts. Many teams are finalizing preparations for their summit pushes beginning soon in what could be very short weather windows, but the predicted conflict with so many people has begun.

Big Picture – The Summit Rush

With this odd statement, “We are not ready for summit push but we will give our best as always.” teams are leaving base camp for their summit pushes at least a week, if not two, earlier than in previous seasons. The leaders must think the gamble is justified.

I’m estimating that around 125 people who had K2 permits are no longer going to the summit, and most have already given up. So that leaves 250-350 people left to attempt. I hear of serious disagreements among the teams led by egos pushing to go and some pushing to wait or just jostling for a slot that they feel is less crowded and gives their team a better chance.

As I said before, with so many people, it will take communication, cooperation, and comprise to avoid, or at least minimize, tragedy this season. Currently, it appears none of those three are in play.

K2 Summer 2022: Weekend Update July 10: Deaths, Rescues and Summits


It’s been a dramatic week in the Pakistani mountains. We saw summits, climbers in trouble, summits on a couple of 8000ers, and tragically two deaths. The weather is currently keeping the K2 teams at base camp but look for a rush starting later this next week—all in all, a normal season thus far, despite the record number of climbers.

Big Picture – Will 2022 K2 be like Everest 2019?

As I’ve mentioned multiple times, Pakistan has taken a page out of Nepal’s tourism book and issued permits to anyone and everyone this season. Some reports say 1,400, others closer to 1,000, but there are at least twice the number of tourists in the Northern Terorities than ever before.

Among these drivers of these crowds is pent-up demand from COVID and aggressive marketing from five Nepali operators: 8K Expeditions, Elite Expeditions, Imaging Nepal, Pioneer Adventures, and Seven Summits Treks. Combined, these account for 253 people – clients and support of mostly Sherpas from Nepal. However, the western operators are also cashing in with Maddison Mountaineering and Furtenbach Adventures, accounting for 54 spots on the mountains.

Now, is this too many people spread across five 8000-meter peaks? The answer is it depends. Taking Everest as an example, these days, we see 300, 500, or even 700 people climbing from the Nepal side each spring season. This year, 2022 (click to read my analysis), I estimate 325 clients supported by 500 Sherpas were on the Nepal side and 640 summited Everest with no serious crowding issues. These are huge mountains that can accommodate lots of people – spread out.

The problem occurs when there are only a few suitable weather days to summit, i.e., winds under 30 mph. In 2019 (click to read my analysis,) we saw a nightmare situation with only three good days for 600 people; thus, long lines from the South Summit to the Summit resulted in 660 summits and nine deaths. Note that in my judgment, four of the eleven were ‘crowd-related’ deaths and an additional seven with ‘low-cost’ operators.

So just looking at K2 because it is the steepest of Pakastani’s 8000ers with the smallest spots for tents at the traditional camps, will the estimated 250 to 350 climbers experience an Everest 2019 scenario, especially at the traditional crowded spots like House’s Chimney, and the Bottleneck? Well, if K2 behaves like it traditionally has with short weather windows between strong wind and snow storms, yes. But, if teams can coordinate summit pushes and tent space, things might go smoother than expected. I’ve been told teams are communicating well and sharing tents thus far. If this turns out to be true, look for many leaders to jump in front of the summit parade and claim it as their own.

On a side note, it appears communication at least using the 4G mobile network, is back up and running; no word on the mysterious satellite disruptions. Also, the overall weather this season has been significantly warmer or should I say milder than usual, making for some sloshy climbing conditions. Cleary climate change is having an impact on the world’s mountains. The last time I checked, snow does not like warm temperatures and it brings out the rocks!

K2 Summer 2022: Climbing Continues

K2 Camp 3: 23,760'/7200m

After the drama this week, climbing will slow down a bit due to weather, but we have summits on Broad Peak and teams progressing on K2. First-hand details on the Broad Peak death are now available. Also, I break down who is climbing on K2.

Big Picture – Weather Incoming

First, the weather forecast looks poor for the big four of K2, BP, GI & GII, so it may be quiet for the next few days or up to a week. As we leave the first week of July, progress continues as expected. Teams, actually Sherpas, are fixing the lines on the 8000ers and establishing the high camps. Thus far, the most progress has been on Broad Peak with three summits and Nanga Parbat with at least 26.

There are teams on both Gasherbrum I & II, with Denis Urubko said to be going for the GII summit any day now. He has permits for all five of the 8000ers but is taking it peak by peak. On K2, Sherpas continue to fix the line with reports saying they have it Camp 3 above the Black Pyramid. Most K2 summits occur between July 25 and August 1, but Seven Summits Treks suggest they will summit the second week of July. Probably a bit optimistic given the weather.

With respect to so many climbers across all the Karakorum peaks this summer, teams are sharing tents. In other words, one team may take their tents, establish a high camp, and let other teams use that spot and gear. This is probably the only way to manage this season, but we’ll see what happens when a window opens and everyone wants to jump onto it.

K2 Summer 2022: Nanga Climbers Safely Down

The two Pakistani climbers who were thought to be stranded apparently turned out to be tired, caught by the weather, descended on their power to Nanga Parbat Camp 1, where they were “rescued” by the Pakistani military. A video showed them smiling, laughing, in good spirits, and apparently in good health, expressing their appreciation to all involved.

K2 Summer 2022: Nanga Rescue Update

Climbing to Camp 1 on Broad Peak in 2006

The two deaths are now confirmed and identified. Meanwhile, poor weather hampers the rescue of the two stranded climbers on Nanga Parbat.

Fazal Ali and Shehroze Kashif were last reported trying to descend from Camp 3 on NP, this is a dangerous section where rappelling is required. A helicopter left Skardu at 9:00 am Wednesday, July 6, but low clouds prevented the searchers from seeing the mountain, much less the climbers. They abandoned the search and will try tomorrow, hopefully, if the weather clears. This will make these second nights the two Pakistanis have spent exposed high on the peak. Everest Chronicle has a good video shot from inside the helicopter showing the obscured mountainside.

K2 Summer 2022: Two Deaths – update

Often called the ‘fog of climbing,’ news of deaths, rescues, and even summits come slowly and at times contradictory from the world’s highest peaks. Today, July 5, in Pakistan, we hear of two deaths, two climbers missing, and mixed messages about summits while confirmations of others.

Big Picture

With weather moving in, teams rushed to get a summit bid in on Broad Peak and Nanga Parbat. While there were certainly summits on NP, two Pakistanis lost their lives, one on BP and the other on Gasherbrum II. However, we also saw a tremendous performance by an Italian team on Nanga with a swift summit in only 20 hours.

Losing two climbers in one day on two different peaks is tragic. Even more, they are both Pakastani, a country striving to be more independent in the mountaineering world while building an infrastructure to support the hundreds of climbers attracted to their challenging peaks.

It’s too early to say if the record number of climbers in the Karakorum is playing a role in the dead and missing climbers, but to be sure, resources are spread thin.