K2 and Broad Peak: the Climbers We Know About

A significant number of climbers have overcome COVID fears and flight cancellations to reach Pakistan. Here, they are attempting K2, Broad Peak, or both.

Currently, K2 has three fully serviced commercial expeditions, and several independent teams. Most have enlisted at least one Pakistani climber to help on the climb.

At a meeting in Base Camp some days ago, everyone agreed on how to handle the always ticklish situation with fixed ropes. The commercial teams in charge of the ropes are Pakistan’s Karakorum Expeditions, Madison Mountaineering from the U.S., and Nepal’s Pioneer Adventure.

Graham Zimmerman and Ian Welsted will attempt the West Ridge, but so far, everyone else is going via the Abruzzi Spur.

Camp 1 on K2’s Abruzzi Spur. Photo: Oswald Rodrigo Pereira


Ropes fixed up to C3

Three weeks ago, it seemed that most climbers would first acclimatize on Broad Peak. But the rope-fixing on K2 has gone more quickly than expected. Karakorum Expeditions climbers from Shimshal fixed up to Camp 2 last week. And the Sherpas working for the other two guided expeditions reached Camp 3 yesterday.

This has allowed other climbers to do a first rotation to Camp 1. Some even went on to Camp 2. Tomorrow, the Pakistanis will fix even more ropes to C3, said outfitter Mirza Ali. Coordinating on behalf of the Pakistani staff are European guides Jordi Tosas and Stefan Keck. Keck has a tracking device with him.

Outfitter Mirza Ali and sister Samina Baig. She hopes to become the first Pakistani woman atop K2. Photo: Samina Baig


Most climbers are focused only on K2, while the film team of Elia Saikaly and Pemba Kanji Sherpa mainly want to help Sajid Sadpara search for the remains of his father Ali and his companions John Snorri and JP Mohr. The three disappeared on the mountain last winter. Saikaly’s tracker positions him in Camp 1, where he and his group are “holding on in order to acclimatize,” despite high winds last night.

Two other winter K2 veterans, Oswald R. Pereira and Carlos Garranzo, have also come to help bring closure to last winter’s tragedy. Garranzo was a close friend of Mohr and especially Sergi Mingote, who died in a fall on K2 days before Mohr went missing.

Garranzo is back in Camp 1, according to his tracker. When in BC, he has joined a small group that includes Pereira, plus Anne Bialek and Hugo Ayaviri of Bolivia.

Left to right, Carlos Garranzo, Jordi Tosas, and Anne Bialek. Photo: Carlos Garranzo


Cell tower still out

Unfortunately, the newly installed cell phone antenna at Concordia has conked out, driving climbers back to rudimentary communication with their InReach devices. At least those with trackers leave a trail of digital cookie crumbs, which is, for now, the best source of current information.

The Belgian 8000unlimited team of Sophie Lenaerts, Steff Maginelle, Niels Jespers (his location is here), and Jeff Spellmans are going to Camp 2 tomorrow and Camp 3 after that.

Meanwhile, Zimmerman and Welsted reached 6,100m on K2’s West Ridge for a first acclimatization. They also had a quick look-see of the route ahead. Since then, they have moved to Broad Peak to further acclimatize.

Broad Peak

The first to arrive at Broad Peak, Don Bowie and Lotta Hintsa, have fixed and spent several days between Camp 1 and Camp 2. Now everyone else has arrived. The Karakorum Expeditions team proceeded up as soon as the weather allowed. Today, they fixed the route to Camp 3.

One of Karakorum Expeditions’ rope fixers on Broad Peak. Photo: Karakorum Expeditions


Spain’s Victor Sans plans a K2-Broad Peak double-header. Yesterday, he passed Camp 2 on Broad Peak and reached 6,400m, according to his tracker. He then returned to BC.

Fotis Theocharis of Greece, a client of Karakorum Expeditions who also plans the double-header, previously went to Advanced Base Camp on K2 and is currently in Base Camp at Broad Peak, his tracker says. The British team Cumbria to K2, currently on Broad Peak, are among the few able to post daily updates, thanks to Inmarsat’s BGAN service, which is good with both data and voice in this region.

The hub that Peter Brittleton and Paul Etheridge of the UK are using to post daily from Broad Peak. Photo: Cumbria to K2


Other climbers, such as Kim HongBin of Korea (on his last 8,000m peak of the 14), are also on Broad Peak, but have no trackers nor have they posted recently.  Others include Qatar’s Fazar Badar, Azerbaijan’s Nastya Runova, Israfil Ashurli, and Saulius Damulevicius, and Poland’s Monika Witkowska.


Finally, the skiers: A few days ago, Thomas Lone of Norway posted a video of his ski down Broad Peak from Camp 1 to BC. Here is his tracker.

He is joining forces with Deathzone Freeriders Vitaly Lazo and Anton Pugovkin. This latter pair plans to climb and ski down all the 8,000’ers. Currently, they’re on Broad Peak. Their climbing partners include Alexander Kedrov, Mitya Ryukzakov Dmitry Kutyanin, and Dmitry Khonin, according to Carlos Garranzo.