(By Raheel Adnan) Summer climbing action is pacing up in Karakoram. Few teams have reached Base Camps and are working on acclimatization and route fixing. Many expeditions are still trekking and shall reach the mountains in next few days. After a remarkably successful 2014, the number of climbers to K2 has almost doubled. Many of the teams are supported by high altitude porters and Sherpa. First reports from the core of Karakoram depict bad weather conditions, cold and excessive snow.
Teams at Base Camp
Mike Horn, Fred Roux and Köbi Reichen were first climbers to reach K2 Base Camp, this year. They arrived at BC on June 22nd. They were welcomed by snow and bad weather. Eventually, on June 28th, the team was able to start the climb. “In very thick snow and bad weather we nearly reached 6000m, had to turn back due to avalanche danger, could ski down great skis and boots.” Mike Horn messaged that evening.
Himex team reached BC on June 28th. After setting up the Base Camp, the team went up for a short walk today. David Tait tweeted this afternoon, “Cold start at K2 BC - Went for a short trek to the foot of the Cesen route - picked out the spots for C1 and 2 - looking and feeling good.” Billi Bierling, who is part of Himex expedition but will climb Broad Peak, says that weather at K2 BC was “warm”, today.
Multiple climbers are currently on the way to mountain. The three-member Spanish team (Carlos Suárez, Jose Fernandez and Esther Ibáñez) was in Skardu, last week. They should reach the BC, soon. Romanian-Hungarian duo Szilard Suhajda and Csaba Varga are expected to reach BC around “middle of this week”. Argentinian Mariano Galvan left Skardu on June 24th. He should also be at BC in a couple of days.
Still In Skardu
While many climbers were lucky to fly from Islamabad to Skardu without delay, Madison Mountaineering team had to opt for road trip after multiple flight cancellations due to bad weather. “In Skardu after two days of the KKH bus ride; a bit of a headache, upset stomach and diarrhea for me and select team mates.” Vanessa O'Brien informed us, yesterday. The team will be leaving for Askole, tomorrow.
Pakistani climber Mirza Ali is also in Skardu. He will be attempting K2 with his sister Samina Baig. “With us there are two other support members, though we will climb in a big group; with our American and other friends!” Mirza Ali posted on Facebook, couple of days ago.
Permit Issues (Resolved!)
Seven Summit Treks expedition had been facing permit-related issues since the start and climbers seemed frustrated. Philippe Gatta updated his Facebook from Skardu this morning, “once again we are stuck, waiting for yet another clearance (ed note: security clearance for trek to BC). We already lost a week because of all this paperwork, a week that we should have spent on the mountain acclimatizing. Unfortunately K2 will not wait for us and if the only weather window comes too early, we might miss it.” The team had previously spent multiple days waiting for climbing permit.
However, the matter has been sorted out as the team will leave for Askole tomorrow morning. Jason Black posted this afternoon, “today, once clearance came through, the jeeps loaded with the hardware left for the famous road from Skardu to Askole and in the morning early we also will follow on the 6 hour journey.”
Canadian lady Monique Richard, Norwegian climber Arvid Lahti and Spanish lady Rosa Fernandez Rubio are also part of Seven Summit Team.