(Angela Benavides) Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, Darek Zaluski, Vassiliy Pivtsov and Maxut Zhumayev have left their bivouac at 8,300m on K2 north pillar today at 1:30 am, local time, towards the summit.
"An icy, starry night welcomed the climbers as they departed," Ralf Dujmovits reported from BC. "Cold made things tough since, although the slope above the bivouac place is "only" 45 degrees, most of the time they have to climb on their crampons' front points, which restricts blood flow and, at -25 ° , leads to to icy feet."
Gerlinde, Max, Vassiliy and Darek are also fighting wet boots and general exhaustion after over two months on the hill. Nevertheless, at 07:30 clock they were on the go and making good progress, according to Ralf.
Gerlinde has checked in on the radio from 8,400m at 11.30am, local time. The team was having a though time due to bitter cold, but hoped for the sun to hit the face soon, and therefore felt confident. Check for further updates through the day.
Update 4:30pm, local time: Ralf Dujmovits reports that the climbers may be about to reach the summit ridge, in spite of deep snow making the going extremely tough.
Links to K2 north pillar 2011 climbers:
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