Climber: Dangerous Ropes on Broad Peak

Tom Kitta of Canada, climbing without porters or oxygen, was among the first to reach Broad Peak this season. He hoped to experience the mountain without crowds for at least a few days. Kitta has made two acclimatization trips and reached as far as Camp 2.

In a letter to ExplorersWeb, Kitta warned about the poor state of the fixed ropes.

We have a problem with ropes on Broad Peak, as they were fixed by a small team from Shimshal, [which has] done a very poor job. They just went up with spools of rope and, at some point, dropped them down with 200 meters or more between anchor points. The rope is not climbing rope and it is already showing wear. It is unsafe. (Check the rope-fixing team and the coils of rope on the IG post below):

When I told the fixers about this, they refused to do anything about it and replied that the angle of the route is not steep enough for people to fall down all the way if the rope breaks.

The situation will get worse on the summit ridge, since the loose rope there will be useless. Snow just fell, so I don’t know how much of last year’s rope is still available, because it is in a better state than this year’s. I hope that no one dies, but I intend not to use the rope when large commercial teams are on them.

The summits of Broad Peaks rise among receding clouds.

Improving weather on Broad Peak. Photo: Benjamin Vedrines


Kitta left Base Camp today toward Camp 3 on his third and possibly final rotation up the mountain. He might wait there in Camp 3 until his summit push.

Karakoram Expeditions (from Shimshal) is handling the rope fixing on Broad Peak, as the company stated on social media:

Seven Summit Treks has also pointed out that, while they are in charge of fixing ropes (in collaboration with other teams) on all other Pakistan 8,000’ers, the task on Broad Peak fall to Karakoram Expeditions.

Bitter memories

If rope fixing on Broad Peak becomes a problem, this would not be the first time. In  2021, an anchor came out, causing first Nastya Rustova of Russia and then Kim HongBin of South Korea to slide some meters down toward the Chinese side of the mountain, with a void at their feet. Rustova was rescued, but Kim eventually fell to his death.

For hours while this was going on, a large number of climbers, not skilled enough to proceed without the ropes, waited on the ridge. They eventually ran out of oxygen, and several suffered from frostbite. Nepalese companies and citizens were not allowed to enter Pakistan that year because of COVID restrictions, and Karakoram Expeditions laid the ropes for the first time.

The climbers in bad weather among seracs, close shot.

Vitaly Lazo of Russia, left, and Kim HongBin of South Korea before Kim’s death.


Kitta also notes that some climbers went to Camp 3 but that there is a huge amount of snow on the upper sections of the mountain. No one has gone beyond 7,500m, he says. That means that fixing teams have not reached the Broad Peak Col, from which the route turns and follows the long summit ridge. Check the Broad Peak route, camp by camp, here.

Movement on K2

Meanwhile, on neighboring K2, staff and clients of Seven Summit Treks are on the go, as the weather has improved after the snowy weekend. The clients doing their first rotation to Camps 1 and 2, according to SST. At the same time, the six-member sherpa team has resumed its rope fixing, which the blizzard halted last Friday near Camp 3. So far, only one person has reached Camp 3, at some 7,350m: Benjamin Vedrines. The sherpas will advance to Camps 3 and 4.

shillouettes of climbers on top of a glacier bump, with K2 behind wrapped in mist

Climbers on the glacier with K2 behind. Photo: Chhang Dawa Sherpa/7 Summit treks

Spaniard to repeat disputed summit?

Jorge Egocheaga of Spain is on the SST team this year. He has not revealed his plans, but he is likely attempting K2. While Spanish mountain media include him on the list of successful no-O2 14×8,000m summiters, Egocheaga’s K2 summit in 2009 was disputed. He refused to provide summit photos and details of his climb or to share further explanations.

The team at 8, never accepted his K2 summit. Their new assessment also claims that the Spaniard didn’t reach the true summits of Manaslu and Annapurna.

In the post below, Egocheaga, at left, poses in K2 in Base Camp with Sajid Sadpara.

Samina Baig of Pakistan is one climber who will not be able to use the improving weather. She summited K2 last year and wanted to do it again with an Italian-Pakistani women’s team. But a pulmonary infection worsened over the weekend, and she has decided to retreat to lower altitudes. She left Base Camp on horseback, on oxygen.

Baig on horseback led by two porters, wrapped in a thermic blanket and with supplementary O2 on.

Samina Baig of Pakistan leaves Base Camp on oxygen and horseback. Photo: Club Alpino Italiano (CAI)


Finally, Gasherbrum climbers are finally ready to go up the mountain as the fresh snow around them melts, and the route to Camp 1 over the broken glacier has now been worked out.

On Nanga Parbat, further southwest in the Himalaya, the remaining climbers have started their summit push. Anna Tybor of Poland and Tom Lafaille of France set off from Base Camp today and plan July 11 as their summit day.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.