An Uncertain Summit Push Starts On K2

The weather on K2 is not ideal, but the rope fixers are on their way to the summit. Some big teams have waited for several weeks, and now everyone is on the move.

However, there is only one route and many people, so staggered pushes will be key to avoid crowding and long stays at altitude.

“The summit-fixing team is heading to Camp 2 tomorrow, aiming to fix to the summit on July 24,” Ryan Waters of Mountain Professionals told ExplorersWeb from Base Camp.

Uncertain weather and plans

The teams are considering July 25 to 28 as possible summit days, Waters said. He is also pondering when to head for crowded Camps 1 and 2.

“We believe lots will go to C1 tomorrow, but no one knows exactly,” Waters said.

A watercolor featuring the mountains that rise in the background.

The slow days in K2 Base Camp are about to end. Luis Soriano of Spain passed some of the time doing a watercolor of the surrounding mountains. Photo: Luis Soriano


Do the teams get along?

The American guide is on K2 for the first time in 17 years. He has noticed what has changed and what has remained the same. Waters notices some secrecy about summit plans.

“I suspect it has to do with the competition between commercial operators now that didn’t exist years ago,” he said.

However, the atmosphere remains friendly, especially up on the mountain, where different teams often share tents and coffee.

Climbers sitting on pads by a chorten with prayer flags, and k2 in background.

Climbers in K2 Base Camp. Nepali teams (above, Pioneer Adventure) hold their puja ceremonies in Pakistan as they do in Nepal, before setting off for the summit. Photo: Summit Karakoram


“All the headline-grabbing stuff is focused on speed or tagging multiple peaks…but at Base Camp, it is pretty casual, with no drama, really,” he said.

Big Base Camp meetings still take place among expedition leaders, although sherpas now do all the fixing. This is “different from the old days when a mixed bag of foreign climbers pieced together a plan to work on the hill,” Waters said.

The quiet man of K2

Luis Soriano of Spain, a regular climbing partner of Carlos Soria, is also in Base Camp, filming and photographing the climb of Alexander Abramov’s Seven Summits Club. The team includes a quiet legend from Soviet mountaineering, Sergey Bogomolov. Few of the younger climbers on the mountain will have heard of him.

Now 70, Bogomolov has returned to complete his last undone 8,000’er, K2. Bogomolov attempted K2 in 2006, but his expedition ended tragically when an avalanche killed four teammates.

He has been climbing mountains for over 50 years. Among many other accomplishments, he summited all the Snow Leopard peaks four times, was nominated for a Piolet d’Or, and helped open new routes on Kangchenjunga, Cho Oyu, Dhaulagiri, and Ama Dablam. He also summited 10 other 8,000’ers, all before 2004, according to 

In 2008, Bogomolov was part of the international team of climbers that tried to rescue Inaki Ochoa de Olza. He received a Spirit of Mountaineering award for his attempt.

the climbers stang on rocky ground and uniformed jackets.

Sergey Bogomolov, far right, with two other team members in Base Camp yesterday. Photo: Seven Summits Club


“Bogomolov is doing well and progressing slowly but steadily,” Soriano said. “He looks motivated, and you can tell what the guy is really made of.”

Seven Summits Club confirmed that Bogomolov, guide Moskalev, a Pakistani, and three sherpas set off yesterday, aiming to reach the summit on July 25.

Soriano also told ExplorersWeb that a Czech team is climbing light on the Cesen route. Otherwise, everyone is keeping to the normal Abruzzi Spur route. The Cesen route actually joins the Abruzzi at Camp 3.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering 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 corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.