Vedrines Summits Broad Peak in 7 Hours! Plus: More on K2

Broad Peak or K2? Two days ago, as the current summit window began, several climbers had to make a choice. Which peak they should attempt first? It might be their last during this unpredictable season.

Most of the bigger teams have gone for the higher, more prestigious K2. Others chose Broad Peak, either because it was their original goal or because they hoped to avoid the crowds and lack of space in higher camps.

Amazing speed on Broad Peak

So far, those on Broad Peak are progressing swiftly. Many climbers are already in Camp 3. A number of strong, fast climbers paved the way for them today. Some went without O2 and in blazingly fast times.

Sajid Sadpara ran into Denis Urubko today on Broad Peak. Photo: Sajid Sadpara

 

Denis Urubko (no-O2, of course) went from Base Camp to summit in less than 15 hours. Incredibly, that was far from the most astonishing run of the day. According to Pakistan Adventure Guides, Benjamin Vedrines of France did the same route in just seven hours. This may be an FKT for Broad Peak — we’ll have to verify. Vedrines used neither supplementary O2 nor personal porters. Instead, he carried his paraglider and flew down from the summit ridge. So his descent to Base Camp was even faster than the climb.

Benjamin Vedrines at home in Les Ecrins, in the French Alps. Photo: Benjamin Vedrines

 

Vedrines represents the new generation of French mountain guides with impressive resumés in the Alps, who are now translating their fast, elegant style to the Himalaya. Broad Peak was Vedrine’s first 8,000m experience but not his only exceptional feat in that region. Last year, he opened a new route on Chamlang with Charles Dubouloz.

This time, he teamed up with Nicolas Jean. The two launched their first attempt on the mountain last week with partners Giuseppe Vidoni and Tiziano Moia. While Vidoni and Jean summited, Moia and Vedrines turned back on that occasion.

Polish climber Rafal Fronia has also summited Broad Peak no-O2 on a solo speed ascent. We don’t know his final time yet, but he too began yesterday and summited today. Fronia is a member of the Polish National team. His impressive resumé includes the 2018 attempt on Winter K2 and the rescue of Elisabeth Revol from Nanga Parbat, together with Urubko and Adam Bielecki.

“Broad Peak was Rafal’s dream mountain,” his friend Piotr Tomala wrote on social media.

We are also awaiting news from Francois Cazzanelli and the rest of the Val d’Aosta team, who are also on Broad Peak. Previously, they opened a new variation route on Nanga Parbat, summiting without oxygen. It was one of the few no-O2 summits on Nanga Parbat this season.

K2 rope fixers in C3, many more in C2

On K2, most climbers gathered in Camp 2 today, while the Sherpas fixing ropes along the standard Abruzzi Spur route are one camp ahead. Garrett Madison, whose team has contributed three Sherpa guides, reports that they are in Camp 3 and planning to fix up to Camp 4 tomorrow. They may even continue to the summit, depending on conditions.

All teams report great weather, but snow conditions, avalanche risk, and the state of the Great Serac remain uncertain. 8K Expeditions confirmed that their tentative summit day remains July 21. No further details from K2 are available, including the number of climbers currently in Camp 2 or whether everyone has managed to find a tent.

Climbers head up on K2. Photo: Pioneer Adventure

 

According to Seven Summit Treks, the weather window may turn out to be longer than expected. They say that winds should remain low until July 25. However, meteorologist Vitor Baia told ExplorersWeb that the summit is supposed to cloud over by July 22, and the weather will further worsen by July 24.

K2’s ‘adorable’ atmosphere

In an Instagram post, Seven Summit Treks took pains to report on the “adorable” cooperation among expeditions. This contradicts reports of “some serious disagreements” among the teams and follow-up social media arguments over the last few days.

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.