Broad Peak & Gasherbrums Summit Update

8000ers Karakorum
Altitude Team members head toward Camp 1 on Gasherbrum II. Photo: The Altitude Team

Following an optimistic weather forecast, teams are hurrying up Broad Peak and Gasherbrum II. On both peaks, Sunday is the planned summit day.

Broad Peak

Most climbers on the large summit push on Broad Peak are following Don Bowie, Lotta Hintsa, and the Karakorum Expeditions rope fixers. They include head fixer Jalal Uddin, plus Eid Muhammad, Ahmed Baig, Faryad Karim, Inayat Ali, Younis Ali, and Saeed Karim.

“The team aims to fix ropes to the summit on Saturday, July 17, and on July 18, our clients [will follow],” said Mirza Ali.

Ali’s men and the Canadian-Finnish pair may do much of the work above Camp 3, but during a recent Base Camp meeting, everyone agreed to pitch in.

“The main problem is that there is no trail broken above Camp 3, and conditions are terrible there,” said Deathzone Freeride skier Vitaly Lazo. “A hard crust with soft snow below, sometimes up to the waist. We must work collectively, or no one will reach the top.”
Lazo is climbing with Anton Pugovkin and Thomas Lone, whose tracker places him in Camp 2 today. They hope to ski down from the summit of Broad Peak.

Vitaly Lazo and Anton Pugovnik at the meeting. Also in the picture are Don Bowie (in green), Lotta Hintsa (in white), Sophie Lenaerts (in dark red), Thomas Lone (chatting with Sophie), Akhbar Syed of Lela Peak Expeditions (in blue), and Selena Khawaja (between Lazo and Pugovnik). Photo: Deathzone Freeride

Also present at that meeting and now in Camp 1, Israfil Ashurli of Azerbaijan comments: “I am glad that most teams will go without oxygen and are ready to collaborate on the most problematic sections of the route.”
Ashurli has teamed up with Lithuanian climber-photographer Saulius Damulevicius.
The cooperation that Ashurli and Lazo referred to was lacking on Annapurna this past spring. Here, most simply followed the commercial climbers.

Deathzone Freeride team’s Camp 2 on Broad Peak. Photo: Thomas Lone

Meanwhile, the South Korean team led by disabled climber Kim HongBin should be in Camp 3, ahead of the rest. That is unconfirmed because Kim has not updated his status since leaving BC.
Two new names joining the summit push come from the Middle East: Fahad Badar from Qatar (an Everest-Lhotse summiter in 2019) and the couple Saiid and Nayla Almemari from the UAE.

Newbies

Most climbers this summer are not new to 8,000m peaks, but a few are taking their first high-altitude steps. This includes Asif Bhatti of Pakistan. Despite his lack of big-mountain experience, he plans to use no supplementary O2 or porters.

Another 8,000m newbie is Yulia Zi, a Ukrainian woman now based in the U.S. She is climbing independently, with a high-altitude porter. For her, climbing Broad Peak is part of a personal tribute to Vladislav Terzyul, the only Ukrainian to complete — sort of — the 14×8,000m tick list.

Zi read about Terzyul’s climbs “during a very difficult time for Ukraine after the Soviet Union’s breakup”. She was surprised that his name was not better known. However, he failed to reach the main summit of two of the 14 mountains by mistake, and one of these was Broad Peak. Terzyul died coming down from his last 8,000’er (Makalu) and was never able to fix the error.

Two days ago, Sophie Lenaerts told ExplorersWeb that the number of climbers on this current push could add up to 50. It may be somewhat less because not everyone is ready to leave for the summit yet. Saad Mohamed (who attempted Rakhiot Peak last year) and 12-year-old Selena Khawaja will not join the current push because they have not yet fully acclimatized.

Saad Mohamed and Selena Sawada in Broad Peak Base Camp. Photo: Saad Mohamed

Gasherbrum II

Lluis Cortadellas confirmed yesterday that the five-member Altitude Team was on its way to the summit of Gasherbrum II. Taking advantage of the safer conditions before dawn, they moved to Camp 1 today very early in the morning. They plan to continue these alpine starts. They plan to reach C2 tomorrow, C3 on Saturday, and the summit on Sunday.
The Czech-Slovak expedition has a similar timetable.

The young Catalan Altitude Team, about to set off for the summit of G2. Photo: The Altitude Team

Finally, the French skiers who summited and skied GII last weekend have decided not to attempt Gasherbrum I. That leaves Marco Confortola and Mario Vielmo in a difficult position. Unlike on Broad Peak, the G1 climbers will have no one to share the trail breaking.

Gasherbrum I

Marco Confortola and Mario Vielmo left Base Camp at 2 am (5 pm EDT today) and are making for Camp 2. “On the following day, we will try to finish fixing the route, although I am not sure how much snow we will find on the upper sections,” Confortola said.

Marco Confortola and the route he plans to follow in the next two days up Gasherbrum I. Photo: Marco Confortola

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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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Apy
Apy
4 months ago

Good morning Angela. Great update as usual. But I believe that the man in the foreground with the beard in the group photo is Israfil Ashurli.

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Rock Bottom
Rock Bottom
4 months ago

Yawn, people repeating the same climbs on overcrowded 8000ers every year and feeling like they’re some sort of big deal…mountaineering really has hit rock bottom since the 90s

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Anna
Anna
4 months ago

I been fallowing. I could not do this. I would not have the strength or the strong mind too. I admirer all the people that try this. Safe journey to them all.

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Tahir Imran Khan
4 months ago

Great piece of work by the climbers as well as yours to keep us updated….thumbs up for you and fingers crossed for the success and safety of the climbers…

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