Thursday, July 24, 2014

Summer 2014 | The Big One - Summit Attempt on K2

The 60th anniversary of K2’s first ascent may also be the year of many summits on the mountain. Adequate climbing conditions and prolonged summit window are not a very common combination on this mountain. Currently, as majority of climbers are negotiating Black Pyramid on their way to C3 (7400m), July 26th appears to be the big summit day. Weather forecast for July 27th shows signs of minor snowfall; however, a couple of teams are scheduled to go for summit that day, as well. Lastly, a few climbers are currently acclimatizing and shall await another window for summit push.

The Big Group

Several climbing groups, previously working independently on the mountain, are now making collective efforts for a summit push on July 26th. These climbers left Base Camp on July 22nd, spent a night each in C1 and C2, and are reaching C3, today. The plan is to reach C4 tomorrow and launch the summit bid at around 9:00PM on July 25th.

It appears that following teams are part of July 26 summit push party.

1. International expedition (Adrian Hayes, Al Hancock)
2. Chris Burke and Lhakpa Sherpa
3. Italian expedition (Giuseppe Pompili, Tamara Lunger, Nikolaus Gruber and Amin Baig)
4. Czech Expedition led by Radek Jaros
5. Greek Duo (Alexandros Aravidis and Panagiotis Athanasiadis)
6. Pakistani-Italian Expedition (10 members)
7. Nepalese All Female Expedition
8. Ferran Latorre

Between C2 and C3 on K2; Source

July 27th Teams

1. Finnish Samuli Mansikka was last climber to go up, when he left BC this morning. Skipping C1, he directly reached C2 (6600m), this noon, “I want to minimize nights spent at highcamps”. Samuli will be attempting summit on 27th.

2. American Team (Garrett Madison, Alan Arnette, Matthew Dupuy and Fredrick Sylvester) left BC on 22nd. However, due to an extra night spent in ABC, they’re behind the ‘big group’. Alan Arnette updated a while ago that they have reached C2. The team’s plan is to go for summit on July 27th.

On Cesen Route

Cleo Weidlich and her Sherpa are only team on Cesen route, this year. There hasn’t been any update from the team since a while, but Montagna.tv, with reference to information coming from BC, wrote that “Cleo Weidlich and her Sherpas would climb to camp 3 on Cesen route, (today).”

Climbing routes on K2's south side. Green: Abruzzi Ridge. Orange: Cesen Route

Acclimatizing

Polish unification expedition, whose main purpose is to prepare the participants for winter 8000m climbing, doesn’t seem to be part of current summit push. Members of the team left BC on July 20th. “The first group came out this morning. We go out at night. Aim- establishment of C3. This completes the process of acclimatization. Predictions are good, moods and health too.” Pawel Michalski wrote on Facebook.

The team reached C3, yesterday (on July 23rd) and returned to BC, today. It appears that Polish team will await another window for summit attempt.

Bulgarian Boyan Petrov summited Broad Peak yesterday. His original plan was to climb Broad Peak and K2. It is quite possible that the Bulgarian climber now moves to K2 BC, for a possible summit attempt once another weather window arrives.

All set for climbing K2; Samuli Mansikka's photo before leaving BC; Source

Conditions

Last year snow conditions on K2 were terrible. During what was supposed to be a summit push, all teams except Marty and Denali Schmidt retreated from C2. The Kiwi father-son duo climbed forth to C3 despite bad snow conditions. However, an avalanche that night swept away C3, killing both climbers.

This year, the climbing conditions are much better. There is no excessive snow and not many rock falls from K2’s standard. But still there are many hurdles between the climbers in C3 and the summit; no one has climbed above C3, yet; route to C4 still needs to be fixed; Bottleneck and the traverse.

On positive side, weather is quite good and is forecasted to remain favorable till July 27th/28th. There are many climbers and Sherpa on summit attempt, which can be a great strength in trail breaking and route fixing.

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Summer 2014 | Day 2 of Broad Peak Summits, Success on GII - Update # 6

(Note: Updates will be added to this post, as further information arrives from the mountain.)

First summits of the season were witnessed on Broad Peak, yesterday. As reported, Romanian Alex Gavan summited along with some other mountaineers. However, the challenges of Broad Peak Middle exhausted the Polish climbers, and forced them to retreat 100m below the sub peak.

Climbers expected to go for summit today included Oscar Cadiach’s Spanish team, Lina Quesada’s International team, Group B of Polish climbers aiming Broad Peak main summit, Taiwanese expedition, Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki, Mexican couple and everyone else who didn’t participate in yesterday’s summit push.

Spanish climber Oscar Cadiach, if successful on Broad Peak, will be completing the 14x8000ers venture today. He will become the 33rd person to do so.

Broad Peak true Summit as seen from Foresummit; Photo: Jerzy Natkański

Gasherbrum II Summit

Turkish climber Tunc Findik bagged his 11th 8000er this morning. Leading an international expedition, he reached the GII summit at around 10AM local time.

Broad Peak: First Summit of Day-2

As per home team of Jesus Morales (from Oscar Cadiach’s Team), the Spanish climber reached the summit at around 06:15AM local time this morning. He was accompanied by a Sherpa whose name is not known at the moment. It’s reported that he could see another group of climbers approaching the summit.

Meanwhile, it’s also learned that Carlos Garranzo (of Lina’s team) and Javier Santos have abandoned the summit attempt and are descending.

Update 01 (24-July-2014 / 1150hrs Pakistan Time)

Firstly an update to yesterday’s summits; Alex Gavan’s home team has confirmed that two Bulgarian climbers Boyan Petrov and Ivan Tomov summited Broad Peak at around 02:00PM (yesterday). They all spent night in C3 and are descending to BC, now.

Several climbers have reportedly reached the top, today. Akbar Syed of Lela Peak Expeditions, communicated from Base Camp that two Pakistani HAPs Little Hussain and Muhammad Taqi summited along with three Taiwanese. As per him Badía Bonilla and Mauricio López, the Mexican couple, also reached the top. Finally, there are also reports of Polish climbers’ success.

We shall update the details as first-hand confirmations arrive.

Update 02 (24-July-2014 / 1233hrs Pakistan Time)

As per message from Jerzy Natkański, leader of Polish team, group B climbers Piotr Tomala, Agnieszka Bielecka and Marek Chmielarski successfully reached Broad Peak’s main summit at 0920AM local time.

Also, Seven Summit Treks team (Chhang Dawa Sherpa from BC) is reporting that Korean, Spanish and Nepalese climbers of their expedition reached the top, today.

Update 03 (24-July-2014 / 1430hrs Pakistan Time)

No summit for Oscar Cadiach; as per Spanish climbers' home team, Oscar was forced to retreat from 8025m.

Update 04 (24-July-2014 / 1530hrs Pakistan Time)

Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki confirmed on Twitter that he made it to Broad Peak summit, today.

Update 05 (24-July-2014 / 2000hrs Pakistan Time)

Updates are arriving about summits on Broad Peak. Firstly, four members of Summit Climb team reached the main summit, yesterday. It’s reported that conditions were tough; the traverse from Foresummit to Main peak took several hours. Climbers who reached the summit: Felix Alexander Berg, Richard Michael Stihler, Christian Leitinger and Torsten Neumayr. They are all back to BC, now.

Also, there are reports that Pakistani trio, Karim Hayat, Safdar Karim and Naseer Ud-Din also reached the summit. Finally, there is still no news about Hungarian duo, Szilárd Suhajda and Csaba Varga.

Update 06 (24-July-2014 / 2215hrs Pakistan Time)

As per media reports from Hungary, Szilárd Suhajda and Csaba Varga successfully summited Broad Peak on July 23rd and have descended to BC. It's reported that ascent was difficult and exhausting. The two climbers reached the top in the afternoon.


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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Summer 2014 | Broad Peak Summit-Bid Updates - Update # 3

(Note: Updates will be added to this post, as further information arrives from the mountain.)

The first group of Broad Peak climbers, who left BC on Monday, is expected to have left for the summit, this morning. They reached C2 on 21st and climbed to C3 on 22nd. Although some climbers will be setting up an additional camp (C4) at around 7400m today, others were likely to launch the summit bid directly from C3.

Route to Broad Peak summit with camps. Image Courtesy: Polish Winter Himalaism

Summit-Bid

The climbers expected to leave for Broad Peak’s main summit this morning include Romanian Alex Gavan and Bulgarian Boyan Petrov, whereas group A of Polish climbers (Jarosław Gawrysiak, Kacper Tekieli, Grzegorz Bielejec and Krzysztof Stasiak) is supposed to attempt Broad Peak Middle. Both teams will be sharing the route till around 7800m.

Earlier this season, multiple individual summit pushes have been thwarted by excessive snow between 7400m and 7700m. Now, as multiple teams are going for summit, it's expected that they will join hands in opening the route.

Polish BPM team will climb left from the Pass to sub-peak Broad Peak Middle (8016m), which is considered significantly more challenging than main summit itself. The climbers to main summit will proceed right from the Pass. After reaching a sub-peak known as Foresummit, they will be required to continue around 800m further to Main/True summit.

The Pass; main summit is on right, BPM is on left; Courtesy: Polish Winter Himalaism

As of now, it can’t be confirmed if two other Bulgarians, Hungarian duo, Pakistani climbers and Summit Climb team reached C3 as per plan and are going for summit, today.

Lastly, a message from Mexican couple, Badía Bonilla and Mauricio López reads, “In camp3, after tomorrow to summit”. They intended to set up C4, before summit push.

The July 24th Team

A major wave of summit attempts is expected on July 24th. It’s reported that all members of Oscar Cadiach’s team, except Jordi Cardona and Xavier Vilardell, reached C2 yesterday. They will ascend to C3 today, and launch summit push at night.

Spanish team reported that the wind storm of last week swept away their two tents along with supplies and gear; something which is not uncommon on Broad Peak. However, alternate resources have been employed and summit push shall commence as per plan.

Broad Peak Foresummit on right, Main/True summit in background; Courtesy: Polish Winter Himalaism

Meanwhile, there hasn’t been any communication from Spanish-International team lately. However, before leaving BC, American climber Nick Rice wrote on his blog, “Our plan is to leave at 5am tomorrow (July 21st) for Camp II (6400m/21,000ft), continue on to Camp III (7040m/23,100ft) on July 22nd, and either spend July 23rd in Camp III resting or establish a Camp IV (~7400m/24,300ft) to shorten our summit day. If all goes well, our summit day will be July 24th.


Update 01 (23-July-2014 / 1430hrs Pakistan Time)

“There are two men progressing, but not too fast, one is 30 meters from the summit of Broad Peak. Since an hour we are following men who are coming towards the summit.”

First update of the day about Broad Peak Summit Push arrived from K2 BC. Agostino Da Polenza, the Italian expedition leader, communicated from K2 Base Camp at around 10:00AM local time. Identification of the climbers is not possible at this moment.

Update 02 (23-July-2014 / 1700hrs Pakistan Time)

Multiple SUMMITs are being reported from Broad Peak. Spanish climbers at C3 say that Polish team made it to the summit (BPM??) and are descending to C3, now.

Also, as per communication from Akbar Syed of Lela Peak Expeditions, several climbers reached the main summit, today. Names shall be updated, as further details arrive.

Update 03 (24-July-2014 / 0100hrs Pakistan Time)

Eventually, we have started receiving first-hand reports from summit parties. Romanian Alex Gavan messaged a while ago, “Happiest man in the world: just climbed Broad Peak/8047m in Pakistan' Karakoram, no supplementary oxygen used, with a bunch of great guys.”

But the Polish Broad Peak Middle team couldn’t make it to the top. As per email from expedition leader, Jerzy Natkański, three members of the group A turned back around 100m short of summit, due to exhaustion and fatigue. They reached C3 at around 09PM local time.

Names of other summiteers will be updated, as we receive further details.

Summit Push 2

Second big wave of summit pushes is currently underway on Broad Peak as several climbers leave for the summit. Teams confirmed to have left for the top include Polish Team's group B (Piotr Tomala, Agnieszka Bielecka, Marek Chmielarski) who went up from C3 at 10PM, Oscar Cadiach's team at 09PM and Mexican couple, Badía Bonilla and Mauricio López, who was in C4 (at around 7400m). Japanese climber Nobukazu Kuriki, also wrote that he will be leaving for the summit at around mid-night.

Continue reading about Day-2 of Broad Peak summit attempts here: Summer 2014 | Day 2 of Broad Peak Summits, Success on GII

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Summer 2014 | Towards Summit on Broad Peak, K2 and GII

It snowed in the region from July 16 to 19th, but Sunday was a perfect sunny day. Teams are now gearing up for the summit attempts. Some of Broad Peak climbers have already left the BC, with summits expected from July 23rd onwards. On K2, it appears that July 26th and 27th will be the summit push days. GII Team is planning to reach the top on 24th.

Broad Peak

For Broad Peak climbers the situation is simple and straight forward. Everyone is well acclimatized and they have a fairly long weather window for summit attempts.

Some teams including Mexican couple, Badía Bonilla and Mauricio López, left the Broad Peak BC yesterday and reached C1. Many other climbers were expected to head directly to C2, this morning.

It’s reported that Romanian Alex Gavan, Bulgarians (Boyan Petrov, Mladen Dankov, Ivan Tomov), members of Polish Broad Peak Middle team, the Pakistani team (Karim Hayat, Safdar Karim, Naseer Ud-Din), Summit Climb team and Hungarian climbers were planning to leave BC at around 3AM on Monday.

The plan is to reach C3 (7100m) on 22nd and go for the summit on 23rd. Spanish climbers are targeting July 24th as summit day.

C3 on Broad Peak; Source

K2

Good weather is expected on K2 from July 22nd till the start of next week. Considering the fact that such weather windows on this mountain are rare, majority of the teams will be going for summit attempt. However, few climbers, who were previously unable to reach C3, are also worried due to lack of acclimatization.

As of now, it appears that July 26th and 27th will be the probable summit days. “Right now there is a surreal ‘calm before the storm’ atmosphere at Base Camp. A lot of visiting between camps, socializing, information sharing and even singing and dancing Friday night. As the largest team here - and the one going to be fixing lines from Camp 3 to Camp 4 and then at stages from Camp 4 to the summit - it is also fair to observe that most other teams have been waiting for our plans to be firmed up.” Adrian Hayes wrote from Base Camp on Sunday. Adrian Hayes and Al Hancock’s expected summit push date is July 26th. They will be leaving for C1, tomorrow.

Spanish climber Ferrran Latorre is a bit worried because of lack of acclimatization, “for Miguel and for me this is the worst case scenario. It's too soon. We've only slept in C2 (6600m) and we wanted to acclimatize once again reaching the C3 before the summit.”

American expedition’s plan is to go for summit on July 27th. They will reach C1 on 23rd. As of now, it’s not known whether any team is aiming for summit on July 25th.

A beautiful night at K2 BC; Photo: Daniele Nardi

GII

On GII, Tunc Findik’s team have left the BC today and reached 5900m. Depending on the weather conditions, the team aims the summit on July 24th.

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