K2: Climbers Behind Schedule, Racing to Beat the Weather

John Snorri and the two Sadparas have been too busy to update, and the only information we have about their current summit push is the location shown on their tracker. It seems that they have a long way to go.

The trio set off from Base Camp yesterday at 9:30 pm local time (11:30 am Eastern time, 4:30 pm GMT), and planned not to stop until Camp 3, which they expected to reach by the following noon.

At noon in Pakistan, their track located them at only 6,620m. They had progressed 150 vertical metres in the previous hour. At this pace, they would have reached Camp 3 today a little behind schedule, but with barely enough time to melt some drinking water and rest briefly before setting off again in the dark toward the upper sections and the summit.

But three hours later, at 3 pm local time, they had reached 6,731m, barely another 100 vertical metres. Their tracker has not updated since then. The area is above House’s Chimney, on the Black Pyramid. That altitude is approximately this year’s location of the higher Camp 2, so the trio may have stopped there.

John Snorri’s track at noon local time today.


Their highly ambitious summit plan tries to get the most out of a short (and far from perfect) weather window. “Basically, they are carrying out a direct summit assault from BC to the top, climbing non-stop to C3 and then resting for only six or seven hours,” winter Himalayan veteran Jacek Teler told ExplorersWeb.

So far, they have climbed mostly at night, across the crevassed glacier and up the ramps where Sergi Mingote fell to his death a week ago. They then traversed below the loose rock barrier where stones might rain down on them at any moment, unseen in the dark.

Snorri and the Sadparas were first to reach Base Camp in December, but their acclimatization is hardly ideal. Only Sajid Sadpara has actually approached Camp 3, and he only left a deposit in the area last week before going back down.

For their ongoing dash, they will need to find everything in place, Teler notes: well-fixed ropes, all their previously caches, tents, oxygen, supplies, etc. That is the only way that they’ll be able to climb light and fast.

But they are in a race against the weather: Forecasts show worsening conditions starting tonight when the climbers will have to tackle the Shoulder, the Bottleneck, and the summit. Winds on top are expected to blow twice as strongly as they did a week ago when the 10 Nepalis summited. Most suffered some frostbite even in those light winds.

“Compared to the Nepali team, the current summit push is being done three times faster, in a team one-third the size, and under conditions expected to be two or three times worse,” Teler said.