G2 Summit Push, Wind on K2, BP Climbers Setting Off Tonight

Despite unstable weather, summit pushes have begun on Gasherbrum II and Broad Peak. K2 and GI will take longer, since climbers have not acclimatized beyond Camp 3. Still, progress has been swift on all Pakistan’s 8,000’ers.

Gasherbrum II

At least one team has begun their summit push on Gasherbrum II, Sirbaz Khan has announced. The all-Pakistani team includes Ali Raza, Naila Kiani, Fatima Gul, and Sohail Sakhi. They completed their acclimatization by reaching Camp 3 and are heading up tonight.

Other teams, such as Poland’s Beskid expedition, Spain’s Altitude team, and the Czech-Slovak team, have also completed their acclimatization rounds to C3 and may follow. The Czech-Slovak team was in BC today, according to their tracker.

Additional teams that we didn’t mention in our previous roundup of GII climbers: Paul Diac and Iulian Costan of Romania are heading for C3 but will then retreat to Camp 1 before launching their summit bid. Romanians Laura Mares and Justin Ionescu have been to Camp 2 and back. Others have simply not updated since their expeditions began. These include Philippe Genin (the “pianist of the peaks”) and Serge Hardy of France, and Jan Matiasek of the Czech Republic.

Meanwhile, the French ski team that achieved the first summit of the season on Gasherbrum II has posted some pics, including the two below.

Roped up to cross the glacier on Gasherbrum II. Photo: Guillaume Pierrel


Guillaume Pierrel on the summit of Gasherbrum II. Photo: Guillaume Pierrel

Broad Peak

On Broad Peak, the Belgian team decided to wait one more day in Base Camp and will head for Camp 2 tonight, along with other groups. Only the Koreans left very early this morning for Camp 2, where fierce winds had blown away one of their tents.

Bad weather approaches the higher slopes of Broad Peak on July 12. The summit of K2 pokes through the cloud layer in the background. Photo: Fotis Theocharis

Summit Window?

Overall, climbers on Broad Peak and Gasherbrum II are going up despite marginal weather today because forecasts promise improvement. Michael Fagin of Everestweather.com told ExplorersWeb that a nice window should open by Friday-Saturday, with snow possibly returning on Sunday.


All K2 teams are back in Base Camp waiting out a storm that began two days ago. It made the going tough for Ukrainians Irina Galay (the first Ukrainian woman atop Everest) and Dmytri Semerenko and their Pioneer Adventure guides Mingma Dorchi Sherpa, Sanu Sherpa, and Tashi Sherpa. They stuck out the storm at Camp 2 until today.

Theirs had been the last team to reach Base Camp, and they were in a hurry to complete their first acclimatization round. In Islamabad, their plane to Skardu was canceled and they had to take the long, dangerous ride along the Karakorum Highway. This delayed their trek to BC. After a first night in Camp 1 on Sunday, they hurried up to Camp 2 for a two-night stay in worsening conditions.

Mingma Dorchi finally called for a retreat today. They all reached Base Camp in the evening after descending in rough weather.

K2 Base Camp yesterday. Photo: Kenton Cool

Race between two Ukrainian women

In Base Camp, Galay’s Ukrainian-Nepali expedition has enlisted the aid of photographer Nazariy Kryvosheiev and alpinist Nikita Balabanov, who won a Piolet d’Or for his climb of Talung (7,349m). Galay could become the first Ukrainian woman to summit K2. However, another unnamed Ukrainian woman in the Madison Mountaineering team may play spoiler.

Galay refuses to speak about competition. According to her home team, she thinks “the mountain is dangerous enough…the only competition is against oneself.”

Irina Galay of Ukraine last week during the approach trek. Photo: Irina Galay


Some confusion has surrounded the Ukrainian climbers because Nepal’s Pioneer Adventure is actually working with two different Ukrainian teams: Irina Galay’s and Alpomania (the outfitter’s owner guiding five clients from the Ukraine and Russia, plus six Nepali climbers).

Sajid Sadpara, Elia Saikaly, and PK Sherpa returned to Base Camp just before the storm hit, after four days on the mountain.

“There have been some pivotal moments…revisiting key locations, resulting in deeper questions being asked about the outcome and circumstances surrounding last winter on K2,” Saikaly wrote.

Sajid Sadpara face to face with the mountain and his mission. Photo: Elia Saikaly