K2: Wind Drives Climbers Back to Base Camp

Today, -30ºC and knifing winds forced John Snorri’s team back to BC. The trio had spent yesterday night at Advanced Base Camp, hoping to fix the ropes up to Camp 1 today.

Left to right: Ali Sadpara, Sajid Sadpara and John Snorri in BC two days ago. Photo: John Snorri

 

Weather — not only enduring it but knowing what to expect, and when — is central to a challenge like winter K2. Polish veteran Jacek Teler explained the difficulties of forecasting at high altitude, especially in winter: “Multi-standard models are helpful, but have two serious limitations,” said Teler. “First, they are created more by mathematicians than by climate specialists. Such a model is useful for pilots because it is created specifically for them. It does not consider, for example, topography or the impact of local glaciers,” which is obviously vital for climbers on the ground.

Second, Teler went on, modeling needs data, and much of that data is collected by planes. This year, COVID not only closed the mountains, it stopped the flights, which has created a data gap and affected the precision of forecasts.

Dawa Sherpa and an advance group from Seven Summit Treks in Skardu earlier today. Photo: SST

 

Snorri’s team will at least have partly acclimatized and established a well-supplied ABC by the time weather improves around December 16 or 17.

Meanwhile, the mad rush to K2 continues. Chang Dawa and the Sherpa team by Seven Summit Treks are now in Skardu. They intend to set up Base Camp before the international climbers arrive next week. On Saturday, Mingma G reached Askole, the starting point for the trek to BC, where he hopes to arrive next weekend.

Nirmal Purja is not in such a hurry: He’ll head to Pakistan by Christmas. And RussianClimb has just revealed that a fifth winter K2 expedition is about to be announced. Stay tuned!

Angela Benavides is a journalist specialised on high-altitude mountaineer and expedition news working with ExplorersWeb.com.

Angela Benavides has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of national and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporates, press manager and communication executive, radio reporter and anchorwoman, etc. Experience in Education: Researcher at Spain’s National University for Distance Learning on the European Commission-funded ECO Learning Project; experience in teaching ELE (Spanish as a Second Language) and transcultural training for expats living in Spain.

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