Summit Bids Soon on Broad Peak; Plus K2, G1, Nanga News

8000ers K2 Karakorum
Stefan Keck flying over the Godwin-Austen glacier, with K2 in front. Photo: Stefan Keck

On Broad Peak, a thrilling message has started to run from tent to tent in Base Camp: summit push soon!

The rope-fixing team on Broad Peak has already prepared the route to Camp 3. That is usually the last camp. Next time, the Pakistani experts and a number of clients will try for the top. Leader Mirza Ali considers this Friday a potential summit day for at least four clients and two support staff.

The Belgian team at 6,850m (below C3) on Broad Peak. Left to right, Sophie Lenaerts, Steff Maginelle, Luc Beirinckx, Jeff Spelmans, and Niels Jesper.

Sophie Lenaerts of Belgium has confirmed that her independent team has successfully pitched its tents at Camp 3 on Broad Peak. They are now gathering momentum in Base Camp before their summit push.

Different strategies

Climbers camped at the head of the Godwin-Austen Glacier are following different strategies for K2 and Broad Peak. Those aiming for only one of them are busy with their summit rotations. Those who want to try a double-header are sharing their time on both mountains. Typically, they overnight at Camps 1 and 2 on K2, then migrate to Broad Peak and try to get as far up as possible.

Fotis Theocharis of Greece, for example, has moved from K2, where he had reached Camp 2, to Broad Peak. He has just climbed up to Camp 3 and returned to BC, according to his tracker. He has also posted some amazing pictures and videos of both K2 and Broad Peak. Here is a sample:

The void below the climber’s feet while on K2’s House Chimney. Photo: Fotis Theocharis

Lenaerts has also noted that she can sense a different atmosphere on the Karakorum 8,000’ers this year. “Everybody has a more flexible attitude,” she wrote. “[For instance,] it is easier to share tents at higher camps.”

Stefan Keck, working with Karakorum Expeditions’ rope-fixing team, has already fulfilled one of his goals for the season. He had one of the “best flying days of my life” after jumping from 6,600m (between C2 and C3) and paragliding down in perfect conditions, “face to face with K2”. He reached a maximum altitude of 7,400m, and his flight lasted almost 45 minutes.

K2: a snowy Camp 3

The recent snowstorms have covered the Abruzzi Route on K2, making the going harder both for the rope fixers and climbers on their C1-C2 rotation. But a small Karakorum Expeditions squad has managed to set up a tent at Camp 3. The pictures they sent show how much snow has piled up since last winter.

Garrett Madison also notes that while his clients stayed in C2 to acclimatize, the Sherpa staff reached Camp 3 and above before heading down. Winds should increase over the next few days, so everyone will spend some time in Base Camp before revisiting the upper mountain.

A member of the K2 rope-fixing team at snowy Camp 3 yesterday. Photo: Mirza Ali

Sajid Sadpara, Elia Saikaly, and Pasang Kanji reached the so-called Japanese Camp 3 on K2. It’s lower than the usual Camp 3.

“You can imagine that emotions are running high, particularly for Sajid, who is determined to find his father and our missing friends,” Saikaly reported from Camp 2. “PK and I are doing our best to support him. He has his father’s strength and unparalleled spirit.”

Meanwhile, Carlos Garranzo recently admitted to his wife at home that he is not feeling at ease on the mountain. He isn’t sure whether he might try for the summit at all or just search for the three deceased climbers and retrieve some of their personal items. “He even said that this could be his last expedition,” Garranzo’s wife wrote. “For a change, he sounded completely sincere.

Nanga Parbat, and Hard Going on GI

Bad news from Nanga Parbat: Tired of relentless bad weather and alone on the mountain, Manuel Gonzalez and Sergio Carrascoso have called their expedition off.

At Gasherbrum I (Hidden Peak), Marco Confortola and Mario Vielmo are resting in Base Camp after some exhausting days breaking trail and fixing ropes nearly by themselves.

The first serious challenge was the glacier up to Camp 1. Even worse, the way from Camp 1 to Camp 2 was “a labyrinth of seracs, obviously dangerous and difficult to assess,” Confortola said. Despite obstacles, they set up C2 at 6,450m.

The rock-and-ice section before Camp 3 (on the side of the Japanese Couloir) is also difficult. Fixing it yesterday required all the climbers’ attention to set belays in the right place, in the right way.

“Previously, I had scouted the whole route with my binoculars,” Confortola said. “Of course, it’s one thing is to follow a fixed route and another to find one’s way oneself. So far, we have fixed 200m of rope on the most technical section to Camp 3. Forecasts predict three days of bad weather. Let’s hope it doesn’t snow too much or the ropes will be buried. Otherwise, we will try to reach C3.”

Muchu Chhish: Czechs in BC

From the team’s Facebook page: “We just finished our morning omelette at Base Camp under Muchu Chhish. We arrived here yesterday from the Base Camp under Marble Mountain. For acclimatizing, we were able to reach 5,600m. Here, we got stuck because of heavy snowfall. As there was about 50-60cm of new snow, we turned back because of the high risk of avalanches. The next day we rested. Yesterday, we moved to our final destination, Base Camp under Muchu Chhish.”

The Czech team at their first dinner in Muchu Chhish Base Camp. Photo: the expedition’s FB page

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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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ravnur
ravnur
13 days ago

Thank you for the summary update!

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Marie
Marie
13 days ago

In a YouTube video (linked below), it is reported that Sajid Sadpara said that the 3 missing climbers and he jumped across a 2.5 meters wide crevice on their way up K2. It is also said that the telephone company received some sort of call (a “glitch”) from Snorri very near the crevice when the 3 must have been on their way down. In the comments section somebody claims that the signal came from a place somewhat below the normal altitude of this place, suggesting that they fell into this crevice on their way back. If they did, there is… Read more »

Last edited 13 days ago by Marie
Marie
Marie
13 days ago
Reply to  Marie

So in light of the fact that it would be almost impossible for them to jump across the crevice AGAIN on their way back, tired as they were, I wonder why nobody came to the crevice to meet and assist them, and why the search and rescue mission did not focus on the bottom of this crevice (or did it?) Even the strong Nepali Winter summit team did not venture to cross this crevice at this point but rather took a great detour to find and cross a much narrower gap, as they reported themselves.

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Last edited 13 days ago by Marie
Lenore Jones
Lenore Jones
13 days ago
Reply to  Marie

Remember that GPS coordinates from climbers’ devices are not 100% reliable, and also that there have been many false reports about these three. I don’t think you can draw anything more than very speculative conclusions. I hope the expeditions out there will find out more.

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Marie
Marie
13 days ago
Reply to  Lenore Jones

The information about crossing the crevice comes from Sajid himself, who accompanied them to the bottleneck, so it is reliable information. If it was so hard to cross this crevice (because of its width, depth AND length) that Tomaz Rotar told them that it’s impossible (and turned around), I wonder how they and everyone else on the mountain that day could have assumed that they could make it safely across or around it on their way back down. In other words, it was very clear from the outset that they would need assistance at the crevice, and I wonder why… Read more »

Don Paul
Don Paul
12 days ago
Reply to  Marie

According to Mingma G, they left a fixed rope across the crevasse. Sajid’s story still doesn’t sound right, that they would have jumped such a huge distance without even trying to set up a belay. Why did all 3 of them fall into it? Maybe we’ll find out, maybe not. They could also have been swept off the mountain higher up by the wind.

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Richard A. Sukup
10 days ago

Excellent reporting Angela. For many of us Baby Boomers here in the States, we live our dreams of high adventure through the narratives of enthusiast journalists like yourself. God bless you and all those who venture where few only dream. Richard A. Sukup, artist.

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