More Broad Peak Summits; K2 Final Push Begins

After yesterday’s speed ascents, a large number of regular climbers (most of them on O2) have summited Broad Peak today. On K2, the rope-fixing team is at Camp 4 and is preparing to leave for the top tonight.

With good conditions and a well-broken trail, the number of Broad Peak summiters today may surpass 20. Among them, Adriana Brownlee did her 9th 8,000m peak and her guide, Gelje Sherpa, did his 13th. He has only Cho Oyu left to complete the 14×8,000’ers.

Lela Peak Expeditions reports that five Polish climbers (no complete names provided) and Lithuanian Saulius Damulevicius also reached the top. Imagine Nepal lists two clients and four Sherpa guides, including one of them, Ngima Nuru Sherpa, who did not use O2.

With Seven Summit Treks, Italians Marco Camandona, Pietro Picco, Raffaele Barbolini and Austrian Thomas Krapfl summited yesterday. Today, Moeses Fiamoncini of Brazil, Dorota Samocko of Poland, and Dawa Nurbu Sherpa also succeeded.

The home team of Chile’s Juan Manuel Santa Cruz likewise confirmed his summit for ExplorersWeb and shared Cruz’s tracker.

More on those Broad Peak speed records

Back in Base Camp, Denis Urubko has shared some details about his own swift ascent of Broad Peak. He summited 14h 20min after leaving Base Camp and took another six hours to descend. It turns out that he didn’t stop in Camp 3 on his way back.

Urubko had summited Broad Peak twice before, and he thought that this fast climb would be a nice way to summit a third time. Broad Peak involves a gain of 3,250 vertical metres between Base Camp and the main summit (8,047m), including a long summit ridge.

Unlike in Nepal, liaison officers in Pakistan are always in Base Camp. They can even confirm summits, sometimes on handwritten certificates. Above, Urubko’s paperwork.

 

Yet Urubko’s feat has been overshadowed by Benjamin Vedrines’ mind-blowing 7h 28 min. It is easily the fastest known time on Broad Peak and shattered the previous record of 16 hours by Krzystof Wielicki in 1984 by more than half. Vedrines, Urubko, and Wielicki all climbed without supplementary O2.

Some people find Vedrines’ feat hard to believe. In the Comments section of our previous story, a reader listed the fastest ascents and descents so far (Base Camp to summit to Base Camp). He also calculated the climbers’ speeds in vertical metres per hour.

According to his estimates, Denis Urubko reached  218 vm/h yesterday. Vedrines would have climbed at 430-450 vertical metres an hour! Urubko also holds the previously fastest ascent on any 8,000er, when he climbed GII in 7h 30 min. However, GII is 100m lower than Broad Peak.

As for conditions, Urubko reported several moments of stress on the lower sections, with rockfall and wet snow avalanches, but much better going on the upper slopes by morning, with -20ºC on the summit ridge.

Summits pending on K2

Such good conditions are crucial on K2, where the rope-fixing team has reached Camp 4 and prepares to leave for the summit at any moment.

Lakpa Sherpa of 8K Expeditions confirmed that the Sherpas have fixed ropes to Camp 4, although in stronger-than-expected winds. “The summit route will be fixed by tomorrow if everything goes as planned,” Lakpa Sherpa wrote.

portrait of older female climber in a high mountain camp

Rosa Fernandez of Spain has summited five 8,000’ers (according to the new list from 8000ers.com). Her most recent was Kangchenjunga in 2011. She then had to recover from cancer but is now back in the big mountains, challenging K2. Photo: Luis Soriano

 

Meanwhile, the rest of the climbers are in Camp 2 or Camp 3.

“There are about 100 people between these two camps,” reports Rosa Fernandez of Spain. “It’s quite scary to think of those figures. I hope they’ll be all okay,”

Fernandez is climbing with Carlos Soria’s regular partner, Luis Soriano. The pair will wait until July 27-28 for their push.

Finally, news should come soon from Gasherbrum II, where several teams are making their summit push.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides is a college-graduated journalist specialised on high-altitude mountaineer and expedition news. She 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 local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporates, press manager and communication executive,and a published author.