K2: Complications From Crowds, Bad Ropes

Difficulties are adding up for the climbers, who have recently set off from Camp 3 at 7,300m toward the summit. Although several retreated to Base Camp yesterday, there remain nearly 20 climbers on K2’s upper reaches — too many last night for the tents available. Few climbers were able to sleep a wink before their marathon push to the summit today.

John Snorri, Ali Sadpara, and his son Sajid made good time to Camp 3, for example, but they couldn’t rest “because three other climbers needed shelter in their tent, so there were a total of six people in the small tent,” Snorri’s home team wrote.

In the end, the three set off toward the summit around midnight without any sleep. Snorri’s team also mentioned that the climbers felt “a little sick” on their way to Camp 3 but that they are okay now.

Antonios Sykaris also reported climbers jammed into small tents, with no chance to rest. He also noted that five Sherpas were suffering from frostbite. The Sherpas are not sure if they’ll be able to continue.

To make things worse, Jon Kedrowski (back in Base Camp) says that it is unclear whether the ropes at the Bottleneck and the upper sections will be in a usable state after two weeks of high winds. He added that ropes were totally buried in some sections below Camp 3, so the climbers were forced to advance without them. While everything went fine on the way up, this may cause problems for exhausted climbers during their descent.

Tamara Lunger’s final decision about whether to go up or down remains unclear. Contradictory rumors continue to buzz in social media, but we currently can’t confirm her actual plans before we hear from her home team.