Summit Pushes Begin on K2 and Broad Peak

As expected, some K2 climbers have already started up the mountain. And on Broad Peak, some late-arriving climbers who didn’t join the previous push are likewise taking advantage of the good weather.


Recent Broad Peak summiters Neils Jespers of Belgium and Hugo Ayaviri of Bolivia are leading the push on K2, Carlos Garranzo reports. Lakpa Sherpa and the Alpomania group leads the Pioneer Adventure team, which also set off for Camp 1 today.

A second group, led by Mingma Dorchi, will join them tomorrow at Camp 2 by climbing all the way from BC. Madison Mountaineering’s climbers will start from Base Camp tomorrow.

Pioneer Adventure aims to summit on Tuesday, while Garrett Madison eyes Wednesday as his group’s likely summit day.

The weather has cleared on K2, and climbers are moving.


Yet this push will only be possible if the route is fixed from Camp 4, including the Bottleneck, the traverse under the Great Serac, and the upper slopes. Good conditions are mandatory for a relatively safe — by K2 standards — summit bid. The amount of fresh snow on the slopes is uncertain.

The trouble might start even below Camp 4, at the point where Elia Saikaly, Pasang Kaji Sherpa, and Sajid Sadpara “hit a wall,” as Saikaly put it. When they tried to reach Camp 4 on their latest rotation, there was only one fixed rope, knee/waist-deep snow, and a deep crevasse (photo below). Pasang Kaji managed to pass that section, but bad weather loomed at the time, and he discouraged his partners from continuing.

Deep snow, only one rope, and a crevasse at Sajid Sadpara’s feet. Photo: Elia Saikaly


The 8,000m game can quickly go wrong

“It can be tempting to test your fate, just a little bit further, climb a little bit higher, but I’m a firm believer in playing the long game,” Saikaly said. “There’s no ‘what you want’ up here. There’s only what the mountain commands.”
Proof that the 8,000m game can quickly go wrong: Fahad Badar of Qatar was evacuated today because of his frostbitten fingers.

Carlos Garranzo, who is currently at K2 Base Camp, has decided that he is not going to attempt the mountain that only a few months ago took the life of his best friend Sergi Mingote and regular expedition partner Juan Pablo Mohr.

He says that he is not comfortable with the 8,000’ers and the way that they are climbed nowadays. Without like-minded friends to climb with, he is quitting high-altitude mountaineering altogether. However, he will remain in Base Camp to accompany Tamara Lunger, Juan Pablo Mohr’s family, and the fiancee of Atanas Skatov, another winter K2 victim. They are expected tomorrow, and together they will hold a remembrance ceremony at the nearby Gilkey Memorial.

Broad Peak

On Broad Peak, British team members Paul Etheridge and Pete Brittleton have gone back up to give the 8,047m summit a second try. They reportedly sacrificed their first attempt to help some exhausted climbers.

Carlos Garranzo reports that most climbers in BC will join the push. He also mentions that the helicopter that evacuated Fahad Badar also took out Selena Khawaja’s father, who was ill. It is unclear whether Selena, who is only 12 years old and came hoping to climb Broad Peak, remains in Base Camp.

Search for Kim HongBin on Broad Peak’s Chinese side

Acting as go-betweens, South Korean diplomats have obtained permission from China to let a (military!) Pakistani helicopter search for the body of Kim HongBin on Broad Peak’s Chinese side. Searchers will include Russian Vitali Lazo, who tried to help Kim and was present when he fell.

Kim became stranded on a ledge about 15m below Broad Peak’s summit ridge, on its Chinese side. He fell down the face while trying to jumar back up to the ridge.

Korean journalist Young Hoon Oh told ExplorersWeb that the first search flight was ready to fly today. It is unclear whether they have any hope of finding Kim alive several days later. When the accident occurred, Lazo said that it was 99% likely that Kim died immediately. We will have more details from Korea tomorrow.