(By Angela Benavides/edit Tina Sjogren) Karakoram will have a fairly thin but serious climbing season. There are new route attempts, records to be finished without gas, and controversial figures returning to the jagged peaks alongside mountaineering veterans.
Here goes a list of the 2011 summer climbers (check more details in the top menu 'expeditions' section), and please give us a holler if we forgot you or your friends.
Following their recent GI winter attempt Austrian/Basque/Canadian combo Gerfried Göschl, Alex Txikon and Louis Rousseau will try to carve a new route in alpine style east of K2's Abruzzi Spur. Gerfried's friend Günther Unterberger will likely join the attempt.
Star wood cutter Alex Txikon left Spain already May 20 in order to drive to Islamabad and demonstrate his axing skills in a number of places along the way.
Sharing permit with a Georgian team and apparently scheduled to return to the peak where he faked a summit last year (and has yet to apologize to ExWeb for false reports); Christian Stangl summited Kangchenjunga this spring but reportedly suffered frostbite, which could jeopardize his K2 plans.
Chris Szymiec and Lakpa Sherpa will head the Field Touring Alpine K2 expedition. Among members is American Robert Springer, climbing in support of Greg Mortenson's Central Asia Institute.
All the above teams will be on K2's south side while the north side will have its own set of action. Following 5 previous attempts and witnessing Fredrik Ericsson fall to his death last year, Austrian Gerlinde has decided to return to K2, from the north side this time.
Always climbing without supplementary oxygen, Gerlinde's path in high Himalaya has been a rocky one. Should she summit K2, it would be as the first female to complete all fourteen 8000ers without gas.
Gerlinde and husband Ralf Dujmovits are teaming up with a Kazakh group led by Maxut Zhumayev. After summiting Annapurna this spring, Serguey Bogomolov could be joining this bunch for the last of his fourteen 8000ers.
Following his independent no O2 attempt on Everest north side last month (wrecked by weather), this summer Australian 14x8000er summiteer Andrew Lock will be gunning for the rarely attempted and never completed Mazeno Ridge on Nanga Parbat, joining British Rick Allen and Alexander Roderick.
Lock & Co. won't be alone on Nanga's Mazeno ridge. Basque climbing celebrity Alberto Zerain will also try to complete the challenging climb from the peak's Rakiot side, together with Juan Carlos Arrieta Llopis "Txingu". The men will acclimatize on the normal route and consider the NW spur if the ridge shows bad condition.
Joining this permit are Spanish Miguel Angel Vicente and Swedish Fredrik Strang who, during the K2 2008 tragedy, claimed to have carried down bodies on his back and during another climb last year last told his home media that he saved a bunch of down-tumbling climbers by a single swing of his ice pick.
A Czech Republic Nanga Parbat Expedition will be led by Pavel Matousek. Czech Marek Holecek & Zdenek Hruby will climb independently from this team. Marek has opened routes on Meru Shark Finn and the "Czech Express" on Amin Brakk; Zdenek is Radek Jaros's regular climbing mate.
Seasoned from tough faces on 6-7000ers around the world, Irena Mrak will head fellow Slovenians, one Croatian and one German on Nanga Parbat.
Kyrgizstan International Nanga Parbat Expedition
will be led by Dmitrii Grekov. The expedition sports Kyrgizh climbers, Russians and a Latvian.
A Ukraine Nanga Parbat expedition is led by Igor Sviergun.
Aiming to break his own record of 25, 8000ers summited; Juanito Oiarzabal is joining Catalan "Xavis" (Xavi Arias and Xavi Aymar) and Argentinean duo Heber Orona/Miguel Angel Sanchez on Nanga.
Ralf Dujmovits' German outfit Amical Alpin is launching a huge Nanga team led by Dominik Muller.
Phil Crampton will lead Altitude Junkies on Broad Peak and GII.
Climber and extreme skier Luis Stitzinger will lead the German Dav Summit Club Broad Peak Expedition.
Veteran Polish guide Ryszard Pawlowski will climb Broad Peak together with a Spanish group.
A Taiwanese team will be in place, led by Lien Chih-Chan.
A British Broad Peak Expedition will be led by John Roberts Matthew.
GI & GII doubles
Before K2 Gerfried Göschl, Alex Txikon and Louis Rousseau will acclimatize on GI to check the best line for their following attempt on GI this winter.
Seasoned Basque climbers J. Carlos Tamayo and Ramón Madariaga will join the ABC team on the Gasherbrums stage.
David Alfonso Bejarano Bonilla is leading fellow Colombian climbers on both peaks. Joining this permit are German Siegfried Schuster plus recent Lhotse summiteer and Antarctica crossing record holder American Ryan Waters.
Jacek Teler is the appointed leader of a huge Polish-Ukrainian team with climbing permit for both Gasherbrums. Jacek attempted winter Nanga in 2009 and summited GII last year.
Italian Giampaolo Corona and Groff Mirko are also aiming for the Gasherbrums double-header.
A Korean Dynamic Busan team permit includes Italian Mario Panzeri fresh from turning Kangchenjunga his 12th 8000er summit.
GII will sport a Hong Kong GII expedition, an Italian expedition, and the Swiss Kobler outfit listing speedy climbing star Ueli Steck as one of its members.
Spanish Carlos Pauner will hopefully tick off his 12th summit mark on GII this summer.
Spires & Lower peaks
Doug Chabot, Steven Su and Bruce Miller are going for a first ascent on the Eastern summit of Pumari Chhiss, a difficult 7000er in the Hispar Muztagh range.
British Peter Stephan Thompson, Jason Lee Bailey, Timothy James Oates and Philip James de Beger will climb rarely visited 7000er Muchu Chhish.
Latok 1 will have a number of attempts. Veteran alpinist and Patagonia climber Ermanno Salvaterra will try the peak as member in a team with age range spanning from 24 years to 66 years old. A South Korean team is also due to attempt Latok I this summer.
Swede David Falt, Polish Kinga Baranowska and American Fabrizio Zangrilli will attempt the peak as well, and so will French Eli Revol teaming up with Slovak Dodo Kopold. Awarded by ExplorersWeb, Kopold later featured in controversies involving deaths of some of his climbing mates.
Piolet d'Or 2009 winner Yusuke Sato is teaming up with fellow Japanese Fumitaka Ichimura and Manome Hiroyoshi on Ultar II.
Spantik will sport a number attempts including Olga Novakova leading a large Czech team; a 25th anniversary expedition by an all-Spanish team from Navarra; an Austrian team; Amical; and a US expedition led by American-Pakistani Ahmed Syed Masood.
Rainer Treppte, Sebastian Brutscher and Max Dunsser have their sights set on beautiful K-7.
Japanese Yasushi and Taeko Yamanoi are climbing Tahu Ratum, also to be attempted by Swedish Per Magnus Eriksson and Olof Martin Jakobsson in fall.
US/Norway Colin C Haley and Bjorn-Eivind Artun will tackle difficult Ogre II.
Three members were injured in an avalanche during the first attempt; Igor Barikhin's death put a sad end to the second try. Alexander Odintsov and his tough Russian team are back for a third round against Ogre III.
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