K2: “They Believe that with Money They can do Everything”

The recent events on Broad Peak have impacted those at K2 Base Camp, especially when Fahad Badar of Qatar frostbit his fingers, as Anastasia Runova had.

“During the day there were various discussions about mishandling and lack of organization,” wrote Fotis Theocharis. “If something similar to Broad Peak happens [here], tragedy will be certain.”

Fahad Badar receives treatment on his frostbitten fingers in Base Camp. Photo: Fotis Theocharis


“It makes a special impression on me that there are people whose first mountain was simply Mount Everest and came to ‘conquer’ K2,” the Greek climber added. He noted the lack of previous experience and absence of technical climbing skills among some people in BC.

“They believe that with money they can do everything safely, but Broad Peak is proof that this is not true. Stress is evident on all of us… Something is not right for me in the whole organization,” Theocharis said, without detailing exactly what is wrong.

A few days more

Meanwhile, it’s still stormy at K2 Base Camp today, but forecasts show an imminent change for the better. According to Garrett Madison, the storm seems to be passing, but it’s still quite windy at altitude. He expects to launch his team’s summit push next week.

Pioneer Adventure’s Sherpa teams have fixed the route to Camp 4. But the mountain has received a fresh load of snow, and they will have to assess the conditions carefully, especially above Camp 3.

West Ridge team ready

The West Ridge team of Ian Welsted and Graham Zimmerman is also prepared to go once the weather clears. They faced difficulties on their latest venture up the ridge, when they went off-route onto dangerous terrain.

K2’s West Ridge. Photo: Graham Zimmerman


“Progress on the West Ridge has been moving in fits and starts,” Zimmerman admits. “Route finding on the bottom of the route has been more complex than expected, and the early spring snow has caused problems.”

However, the climbers have had time to check the route thoroughly from Base Camp. They hope that the summer heat will allow the snow to sluff off the mostly rocky West Ridge.

“A weather window is on its way at the end of the week and we’ll be back at it,” said Zimmerman.

The Search

Before the onset of bad weather, Elia Saikaly, Pasang Kaji Sherpa, and Sajid Sadpara pushed as high as possible, in their quest to find out what happened to the three missing winter climbers. Following the trail broken by the Sherpa teams, the three searchers reached 7,800m.

“We had hoped to make it a bit higher, but a technical impasse blocked us,” Saikaly wrote.

From 7,800m, on the windless day, they were at least able to fly their drones beneath the Bottleneck up to 8,300m. They looked for clues and reconnoitered the route ahead. “No traces thus far [of the missing climbers],” reported Saikaly.

Saikaly, who is filming a documentary about last winter’s dramatic events on K2, has spent much of his storm-bound time in Base Camp grappling with the poor internet connection. Problems have beset the satellite tower erected recently on the Concordia Glacier, and it seems that most climbers have had to return to their slow satellite devices. “The last image I posted took me four hours to upload,” wrote Saikaly.

Sajid Sadpara on K2. Photo: Elia Saikaly