Winter K2 Wins Again: It’s Over for Pivtsov’s Team

Vassiliy Pivtsov on winter K2, 2019

Eastern team leader Vassiliy Pivtsov on K2. Photo: RussianClimb

They climbed in the toughest conditions, endured hurricanes and freezing cold and launched one push after another as soon as conditions minimally improved. Even before setting foot in Pakistan, they had to overcome financial shortfalls that would have sunk most expeditions. Overall, the men in the Russian-Kazakh-Kyrgyz team  fought like true winter warriors. Yet despite everything, unrelenting bad weather finally forced team leader Vassily Pivtsov to call for a definitive retreat yesterday. A support group has headed towards ABC to meet them today. Later, they will climb up to dismantle the intermediate camps, according to RussianClimb.

Pivtsov, Artem Braun and the rest of the team did their best to reach K2’s Shoulder, at the 8,000m milestone, but had to go back to Camp 3. In exchange for their good judgment, no one perished, no one went missing. A victory compared to the tragedy on Nanga Parbat.

K2: still unsummited in winter. Photo: Russian/Kazakh/Kyrgyz team

The plans of the second expedition on K2 remain unclear. Alex Txikon and Felix Criado are currently in the village of Ser, waiting to join a final helicopter search of Nanga Parbat’s Mummery Spur. The Spaniard was taking a last-minute peer through a telescope before returning to K2 on Wednesday, when he spotted two unidentified “shapes” on Nardi’s and Ballard’s route. Unlikely as the pair’s survival is at this point, the searchers decided to conduct one final recce. Unfortunately, yesterday’s flight fell through when the ongoing political crisis in that area closed Pakistan air space. If the final look around Nanga happens today, we will update with the results.

Related stories:

Investigation of Two Shapes on Nanga Parbat Delayed

Hope Fades for Missing Climbers

Txikon Searches on Foot for Nardi and Ballard

Alex Txikon & Co. en Route from K2 to Nanga Parbat

Weather Again Delays Search

No Sign of Climbers, Avalanche Risk Too High for Searchers

Wrecked Tent and Avalanche Debris Spotted on Nanga Parbat

Nardi and Ballard Missing on Nanga Parbat

Hurricane Headed for Winter K2