Summit Updates: K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I

Climbers on Pakistan’s 8,000’ers aim to reach their summits tomorrow and Wednesday. Meanwhile, events around the discovery of the three bodies on K2 from last winter continue to unfold, so stay tuned for updates.

K2: Sajid Sadpara’s search for closure

On K2, several teams are already in Camp 4 and will leave for the summit tonight. Among them are the two groups from Pioneer Adventure (Ukrainian and Russian clients), as well as Pakistan’s Shehroze Kashif and recent Broad Peak summiters Niels Jespers of Belgium and Hugo Ayaviri of Bolivia.

The Pakistani team from Hushe, led by Ali Durani Hushe, includes Muhammad Hassan Hushe, Mushtaq Ahmad, and Usuf Meeri. They intended to reach C4 today as well.

Last but not least, as reported earlier, Sajid Sadpara, Elia Saikaly, and Pasang Kaji made it to C4 around 2:30 pm. The bodies, discovered by Garrett Madison’s Sherpa rope fixers, are not far above.

Shehroze Kashif, ready for the summit. Photo: Kashif’s IG

What lies ahead

The route between Camp 4 and the summit goes through the two most infamous sections of the mountain: the Bottleneck and the oblique traverse under the Great Serac. We don’t yet know what that area looks like after last week’s snowfall.

Sanu Sherpa and at least one other climber from Pioneer Adventure, plus a small group of Sherpas with Madison Mountaineering, fixed some ropes above Camp 4. They then returned to their tents. They will have to go in front of everyone else, fixing toward the summit as they go, thus slowing down the push.

In this sense, Garrett Madison’s strategy of waiting and climbing behind most other teams may pay off. If the weather stays as good as forecasts suggest, later groups may find the way opened and fixed, and fewer people clipped to the ropes. Madison followed a similar tactic on Everest this past spring and enjoyed what he called “his best Everest summit day ever.”

Today, about 400m above C4, Sherpa rope fixers found the body of a climber in a yellow-and-black down suit. Both Juan Pablo Mohr and John Snorri wore these colors when they went missing last February 5. The body was face down and covered in ice. Shortly after, the body of Muhammad Ali Sadpara was found. Shortly after, the third and final body turned up.

Unstated conflict

Meanwhile, some unstated conflict has affected the Karakorum Expedition clients. Leader Mirza Ali said today that, “Due to the high risk of avalanches up on the mountain and lack of coordination between the expedition teams, our expedition on K2 is over.”

Mirza Ali’s sister, Samina Baig, has also called off her attempt (and her expedition).

Far from the Abruzzi Route, on the mountain’s West Ridge, Ian Welsted and Graham Zimmerman have reached 6,900m. They seemed to be descending today, but confirmation will have to wait until they report their position.

Broad Peak: Climbers in C3 or above

On Broad Peak, a number of climbers reached Camp 3 yesterday. Currently, they are either resting in order to leave for the summit today or are already on their way to the top. Among them, Fotis Theorachis of Greece and several climbers who participated in the previous summit push last week, including British (“Cumbria to K2”) team members Paul Etheridge and Pete Brittleton, Belgians Luc Beirinckx and Wouter Noterman, Saulius Damulevicius of Lithuania, and Israfil Ashurlı of Azerbaijan.

The Russian Deathzone Freeride team members Anton Pugovkin and Vitaly Lazo, along with Norwegian Thomas Lone (tracker here), are also in C3. Last week, Lazo had tried to help deceased climber Kim HongBin when he was stranded on a ledge for hours. Yesterday, he boarded a helicopter to help look for Kim’s body on the Chinese side of Broad Peak, without success. He then hurried from Base Camp all the way to Camp 3 to join his partners.

Luc Beirinckx and Wouter Noterman try again for the summit of Broad Peak. Photo: Sophie Lenaerts

Gasherbrum I

The team led by Marco Confortola and Mario Vielmo is virtually alone on Gasherbrum I. They are doing their best in difficult conditions. Today, they planned to set up a Camp 4 (a bivouac, in fact) at 7,400 to 7,500m. Here, they are grabbing a few hours of rest before leaving for the summit tonight. Carlos Garranzo notes that Confortola is climbing with Hassan Jan and Fida Ashur, while Vielmo has teamed up with Flower Wayta of Peru.