K2: Big ‘Everest-Like’ Summit Push Underway

Majority of climber have launched the summit attempt in a not-so-good weather window on a highly challenging mountain.

Optimism or desperation? Majority of climber have launched the summit attempt in a not-so-good weather window on a highly challenging mountain. They are hoping that Sherpa and HAPs will be able to open route from C3 to C4, stack necessary apparatus for summit attempt in C4 and fix the ropes from C4 to summit, while conditions on the mountain and weather remain stable, and they are able to reach the top on July 14th. It’s also hoped that winds on 15th/16th will not be fierce enough to pose a threat to descending climbers. Not to mention, there will be physical challenges, congested camps and queues along the rope of ascent.

Too many question marks, but weather forecast shows no definite summit window after this. Hence majority of climbers considered this opening as best shot for summit. Sherpa fixed final few hundred to establish C3 (at around 7300m) yesterday, while commercial climbers spent night in C2.

Acclimatization

Kobler-Partner and Madison Mountaineering (with additional members from Himex) were first groups to reach K2 BC, this season. They completed two acclimatization rotations on the mountain; slept in C1 during first round and C2 in second. They intended to tag/sleep in C3 as well before summit push. However, bad weather didn’t allow them to do so. Similarly, other teams including Vanessa O’Brien’s K2 United Expedition, Adventure Peaks, Dreamers Destination and Seven Summit Treks (with members from China, Korea and Japan), who are part of current summit attempt acclimatized to C2 only. Almost all of these climbers are expected to start using bottled oxygen above C2, though.

Kobler-Partner and Madison Mountaineering Sherpa had fixed ropes till C2 before other teams joined in. Ropes were fixed till around 7000m before bad weather arrived couple of weeks ago.

The Plan

Teams left BC July 10th morning, aiming to reach the summit on July 14th. Sherpa climbed directly to C2 and pushed forward to complete route till C3 (7300m) on Monday. Strong wind delayed rope-fixing team’s departure this morning and they couldn’t fix ropes beyond C3 as planned. Sherpa are expected to complete route till C4 todayand stock the camp with oxygen and summit push gear by tomorrow evening, when the final bid is planned.

Majority of clients spent first in C1 and ascended to C2 yesterday. A few climbers reached C2 directly. The group is expected to reach C3 today (July 12th) and C4 tomorrow . July 14th is potentially the summit day.

Traffic Jams

With 70+ climbers going up for summit and some more for acclimatization, K2 camps are expected to be jam-packed. Similarly, long queues are formed at different sections of Abruzzi Spur. Climber Maurice Beauséjour, who was in C2 for acclimatization, described the scene as, “we’ve reached the camp 2 as planned. But we found that it is full… There were hundred people at the foot of House’s Chimney waiting for their turn to pass! We’re going to spend the night at camp 2, then climb up to 6800 meters and then go down again to wait for another window of good weather.”

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