K2: Everyone’s Now at Base Camp

K2 Winter 8000ers
The long line of climbers, staff and porters head for K2, partially showing through the mist. Photo: Seven Summit Treks

The Seven Summit Treks’ caravan reached Base Camp around noon today, after a relatively short trek from Concordia. Their arrival more than doubled the population of Base Camp. Unless surprise last-minute entrants turn up, everyone trying winter K2 has now settled into their home for the next two months.

The newcomers were greeted with relatively mild weather: -20ºC and 10 to 15kph winds, according to Dawa Sherpa. The team will rest in BC for some days before starting their first rotation.

Sergi Mingote’s track at BC, showing the camp’s location at the foot of the mountain. Photo: RaceTracker.es

Meanwhile, the climbers fixing the route to Camp 3 have still not sent their daily report. [We’ll update this story when they do.] Mingma G and his team of Dawa Tenzing and Kilu Pemba are leading this stage of the expedition. Today, the plan was to fix their remaining 900m of rope from Camp 2, where they spent last night, as far toward C3 as possible.

The big SST group settles into K2 Base Camp earlier today. Photo: Seven Summit Treks

Difficulties increase along with altitude on K2. Reaching Camp 2 requires climbers to surmount the House Chimney. Camp 3’s location varies but is always above the Black Pyramid, probably the most technical section of the route: 400m of vertical and near-vertical climbing on mixed rock and ice. A “standard” Camp 3 is typically at 7,500m but it might be set on any place above 7,200m suitable for a tent.

For more information on the different sections of the Abruzzi Spur route, read this piece from one of ExplorersWeb’s sister sites. And Garret Madison’s video below shows the entire route from bottom to top (in summer).

John Snorri and the Sadparas rested in Camp 1 yesterday. Today, they proceeded to Camp 2 for a third acclimatization night at altitude. Besides the -30ºC temperatures, conditions were far from easy: “There is massive blue ice, and it was hard to pick the ice with the crampons, and my jumar was always freezing,” said Snorri. He also reported having to dodge a lot of falling rocks.

Snorri had a scare when one of his crampons fell off during the climb, but his partners managed to recover it. They have not mentioned their plans for tomorrow but after three days up high, everyone is likely to return to Base Camp until the New Year.

No word, as yet, from Nirmal Purja.

Winter Broad Peak

Zoltan Szlankó had to delay his flight to Islamabad because of bureaucratic reasons, but his climbing partner, Alex Goldfarb, is already in Pakistan and plans to fly to Skardu shortly.

“I hope to get some acclimatization [for winter Broad Peak] while I will wait for Zoltan,” Goldfarb told Russianclimb on Tuesday. Once Szlankó arrives, they’ll drive to Jhola, saving one hiking day. Once at Broad Peak’s Base Camp, they’ll climb a local peak for acclimatization. “Pastore Peak is a good candidate,” said Goldfarb. “it is 6,200m, never been climbed in winter, is very close to Base Camp, and it takes two days to summit in summer.”

They will then attempt Broad Peak itself in fast, alpine style. The pair only have one month in Pakistan, but will try to avoid the use of supplementary O2 out of respect for previous winter expeditions.

About the Author

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides

Senior journalist, published author and communication consultant. Specialized on high-altitude mountaineering, with an interest for everything around the mountains: from economics to geopolitics. After five years exploring distant professional ranges, I returned to ExWeb BC in 2018. Feeling right at home since then!

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6 Comments on "K2: Everyone’s Now at Base Camp"

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Thank you for the reporting! Would you be able to explain the rope fixing plan … are multiple teams cooperating and all climbers will share one rope? Or are some teams doing their own rope fixing? If there’s a successful summit – or summits – it’s so important that those who prepared the way are fully credited. It must be a Herculean task, especially in winter. And is there a distinction to be made between the climbers who are working/fixing rope and those who arrive to find the task, at least to the lower camps, completed? I’m asking from the… Read more »
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Update Mingma g: “today we fixed the line to the ice section just below camp 3. We 3 were joined by Nims dai n Mingma Tenzi dai at around 7000 meter. Thanks to Nepalese brother n Nepalese heart. Thanks Dawa dai for great communication.”

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Seems like they made it to 25.41 in the video above. How slowly they rise (compare to summer ’19) shows how hard it is. Tomorrow the wind will increase to +60km/h above 7000m, maybe to much to move further. The issue they probably struggling about is that the perfect summit weather window day looks Saturday. Too early for perfect preparation and acclimatisation, but hey, K2 does not take into account your wishes. To make use of this Saturday the should have reached C4 by Friday, despite the high predicted winds. At base camp SST showed a prepared team with their… Read more »