Thursday, July 24, 2014

Summer 2014 | Day 2 of Broad Peak Summits, Success on GII - Update # 4

(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.

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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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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Interview with Samuli Mansikka | "We might see many summits this year on K2, or then not. This is the magic of K2."

He leads treks and expeditions to less challenging mountains/passes throughout the year, but climbs 8000m peaks unassisted and independently, “to look back at life, live in the moment and plan the upcoming”. Finnish climber Samuli Mansikka has summited eight eight-thousanders so far and is currently attempting K2 unsupported and without bottled oxygen.

Having returned from C3 (7450m) earlier this week, and currently resting at BC, we caught up with Samuli for an interview about K2, about the expedition and about himself.

1. Hi Samuli, how are you doing? How are the conditions on K2, this year?

[Samuli Mansikka] Greetings from K2 Basecamp! I am doing very well indeed, thank you! I am in understanding that the conditions are quite okay on K2 this year. Not too much snow on the lower part of the mountain although the amount is much bigger when you get closer to the Shoulder. I was mainly concerned about rock falls but I don’t think it’s been a problem so far.

Samuli Mansikka returning from C3 in bad weather on July 16th. Source

2. You’ve been upto 7450m, so far. How do you compare the difficulty level of K2 with other mountains you have climbed?

[Samuli Mansikka] On all my 8000-meter climbs I’ve stuck to normal routes (except for attempt on Inaki Ochoa variation on Shishapangma). Compared to other 8000ers normal routes, K2 really is a completely different case. Climbing is steep and sustained all the way from the base of Abruzzi ridge. Very physical climbing on mixed terrain in all and a lot of that on rock. I am very comfortable with that as it reminds me a lot of climbing in the Alps. Problem is that the terrain also makes rescues very demanding, if we end up with such.

Campsites are all at an angle and with little space which makes it tricky making camps, if there’s many teams on the route, as there this season is.

K2 really is more like a big pyramid of rock and ice rather than a glacier walk at high altitude.

3. There was a sudden change in plan and you were climbing K2 - how difficult it was to get used to the idea? What were main challenges?

[Samuli Mansikka] Yes, I was first planning to go to Broad Peak to have a leisurely “small 8000-meter-climb” after this spring’s Kangchenjunga. The permits and sharing teams have been an issue here this year so I was more easily joined with an International K2 team.

Over the years I have been collecting a lot of information on K2 and was not too concerned about change in plans. Climbing K2 is of course a dream come true for many climbers, me including.

Of course I first had to make sure I had enough supplies to switch to a bigger vertical climb and maybe more camps. It ended up not being that much of a concern to skip Camp 1 and get away with less gear including what I brought with me for BP.

In fact, I’ve quite enjoyed being on K2 and climbing the “mountain of mountaineers”. You may not be able to summit it in first attempt, so at least I am trying now.

Mansikka at the summit of Kangchenjunga on May 20th, 2014; Source

4. You prefer climbing unassisted and without a partner? Any advantages (and/or challenges)?

[Samuli Mansikka] I am very much used to climbing alone in the Alps and have felt comfortable doing the same on 8000ers. I find it rewarding especially in that sense that I feel that the experience is more complete and more intense. You have to be completely aware of the surrounding and conditions and perfectly know what you are doing. Climbing alone makes me feel more free and at the same time more sensitive to changes in conditions and weather. This turns into making decisions faster as well as being able to move faster or let’s say retreat from the mountain faster in case conditions start going to worse.

Downside is that you need to carry more stuff although with modern lightweight gear I don’t think it is much of a factor. Then, of course, you have no margin for error or anyone to assist if you end up in a tricky situation or get injured. This on the other hand sometimes makes you think twice and be more aware and alert which is never a bad thing on mountains, even with a partner.

Don’t forget that most of the year, I lead treks and expeditions everywhere in the world and share the mountain experience with groups and climbers with maybe less background. I love that, but still I consider climbing the 8000ers alone as my time-off. It gives me time to look back at my life, live in the moment and plan the upcoming.

5. Looking forward, what are your plans for summit push?

[Samuli Mansikka] We now had a period of some snowfall, so I think there is too much snow at above Camp 3. It also is very windy on the summits. I don’t think we are getting summit attempts prior to July 25th to 27th. There are many teams on K2 this year and as it is a very demanding mountain, I am expecting teams to join forces for the push when the conditions are right. We might see many summits this year on K2, or then not, if the weather does not allow any. This is the magic of K2 - you really can’t force it!

K2 Base Camp under snow storm on July 18th morning. Source

6. Anything else you may want to share with our readers?

[Samuli Mansikka] Thanks for following what is going on at Karakorum this season! Pakistan is home to some of world’s most amazing mountains and I wish the country will, in the future, be more able to improve everyone’s ability to explore it themselves. Enjoy summer, mountains, beaches, all of nature wherever you are!


Born and living in Helsinki, Finland, Samuli Mansikka, 35, is a professional mountaineer and expedition leader. He spends most of the year climbing and leading treks and expeditions around the world, mainly in Nepal. If successful, K2 will be his 9th 8000er. Follow Mansikka on Twitter and Instagram to hear the latest about his adventures at world’s mountain ranges.

Eight Thousander Summits:
  1. Cho Oyu (2006, 2008, without O2)
  2. Lhotse (2008, with supplemental oxygen)
  3. Everest (2009, with supplemental oxygen)
  4. Manaslu (2009, unsupported, without O2)
  5. G II (2010, unsupported, without O2)
  6. Dhaulagiri (2011, unsupported, without O2)
  7. Makalu (2013, unsupported, without O2)
  8. Kangchenjunga (2014, unsupported, without O2)

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