Summit Push Begins on K2

A number of K2 teams are moving toward the summit, despite uncertain conditions on the upper sections. There are no fixed ropes beyond Camp 3, and in some cases, poor acclimatization. Forecasts do show some good summit days ahead.

Three Nepali outfitters have already confirmed their pushes. 8K Expeditions, whose clients include record-seeker Kristin Harila, sent both its rope-fixing team and members to Camp 1 today. They will move on to C2 tomorrow and C3 on Tuesday. That night, they will start for the top without either a Camp 4 or fixed ropes. This can occur only with large supplies of oxygen and when a powerful Sherpa team breaks trail, fixing ropes on the fly, and carrying their clients’ gear.

Nirmal Purja and his Elite Exped group will reportedly join the push as well. The team’s two groups will meet in Camp 2 on Wednesday.

Finally, Mingma G had previously announced that he would wait until most climbers had finished before launching his own group’s push. He has changed his mind and will take advantage of the limited weather window to set off tomorrow with his Sherpa team and 10 clients. Yet even Mingma G admits that they are pushing their limits.

“None of our Sherpas and members went above C2 and we were supposed to set up our C3 before [launching] summit push,” he admitted. “We are not ready for summit push but we will give our best as always.”

Other teams have not revealed their plans.

Some of the Nepali and Pakistani staff members in Imagine Nepal’s team. Photo: Facebook

Will it be safe?

Previously, some voices warned about rushing up K2 as soon as the weather improved (Sunday) because fresh snow needs time to settle. The high temperatures might also increase the risk of rock or ice fall.

Meteorologist Vitor Baia confirms good summit weather ahead, but no clear, long window. “Weather will be good, and July 21, in particular, could be a great summit day,” he said. “From July 22 onward, high clouds may cause low visibility in the upper sections, and it will get worse from July 24.”

The less specific multimodel chart by Meteoexploration shows a similar trend.

Multimodel forecast for K2 by Meteoexploration.com

 

About the potentially unstable conditions, Baia said: “It has not snowed much on the upper sections and while there was some more snow under 7,000m, deep snow should not be the problem. High temperatures after a cloudy period mean increased risk, but there’s always a certain risk one has to assume on a high mountain.”

This season on K2 has raised some concerns. Although climbers are spreading out, there are a large number of people on the mountain, and not much space in either Camp 1 or Camp 2. Also, no one has been above Camp 3 yet.

In the meantime, summit pushes have also begun on Broad Peak and Gasherbrum II. Expect a busy week before the weather deteriorates again.

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.