Winter 8,000’ers: Teams on the Move

Everest Winter 8000ers
Denis Urubko in somewhat improving weather at Broad Peak Base Camp. Photo: Denis Urubko

Winter in the Karakorum is showing a fierce face on Broad Peak and Gasherbrum.  Denis Urubko, Don Bowie and Lotta Hintsa finally reached Base Camp on Broad Peak last week, despite extreme cold and difficult ice. Urubko and three porters took lung-pounding shifts breaking trail through one metre of snow from Concordia. It didn’t help that Don Bowie has only just recovered from a respiratory illness that appeared almost the minute he landed in Pakistan.

Around New Year’s Eve, Urubko maneuvered around seracs to cache some supplies at 5,100m, where old fixed ropes from previous expeditions first appeared. Yesterday, Urubko and Bowie took advantage of some brief good weather to hustle up to Camp 1 and back within the day.

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First day on the mountain proper for me… Denis Urubko and I reached Camp 1 on Broad Peak at 5800m in 4hrs from base camp. Not bad time considering the tough conditions. The route we set dances a delicate line between heinous, avalanche-prone snow slabs, and bullet-hard blue ice. In summer this section is quite easy and straightforward, but in winter the mountain is stripped of snow, leaving bare ice and loose rock, and pockets of unstable snow. Despite my frosted face (and looking a bit weary from nearly 3 weeks of chest infections and illness) the day was actually quite warm… ahem, I mean, relatively speaking. #fullvalue – – – – -@hyperlite_mountain_gear – – #BPK2winter #K2 #winterexpedition #sufferfest #socold #climbing #alpinism #noteverest #8000m #alpinizm

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Mingma G’s Winter K2 expedition could start tomorrow, according to RussianClimb. News is expected soon.

Simone Moro, Tamara Lunger and team in Gasherbrum Base Camp. Photo: Simone Moro

Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger are aiming for Gasherbrum I (and then Gasherbrum II if conditions allow). They also had a difficult beginning. Flights to Skardu were cancelled, and the couple had to drive there on roads often blocked by landslides. They then faced the same cold, ice and deep snow at the Baltoro that Urubko’s team had earlier. They finally checked in from Base Camp earlier today.

Meanwhile on Everest, Jost Kobusch did two short trips toward the Lo La Pass, according to his live tracking system. He plans to fix rope up to the col, in case he needs to do an emergency descent later. From here, he can follow Everest’s West Ridge entirely, thus avoiding the Khumbu Icefall and the Valley of Silence (Camps 1 and 2 on the normal South Col route).

Jost Kobusch at a temple on the approach trek to Everest. Photo: @terragraphy

About the Author

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides

Sport journalist, published author and communication consultant. Feeling back home at ExplorersWeb after five years exploring distant professional ranges. From Dec19 to Feb20, I'll be also working as press manager for Alex Txikon's expeditions to Antarctica, winter Ama Dablam and winter Everest.

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Hunzaguides
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Best of luck Denis and Team.