Summer 2015 | Search for Olek Ostrowski Ends without Success, Broad Peak Summit Push (Fails), K2 is Over and GI New Route Update (Updated)

Climbing season summer 2015 is nearing its conclusion for majority of Karakoram teams. Apart from a couple of success stories, it has been a spell of despair and desolation. After disappearance of Qamber Ali Jangjupa (of Khane Valley) on Broad Peak, Polish skier Olek Ostrowski has been lost on GII. K2 teams are leaving the mountain without any success, but with few injuries. Nonetheless, a summit push on Broad Peak is happening now and some of Gasherbrum climbers are still at BC.

Goodbye Olek Ostrowski
Search for Olek Ostrowski, who has been missing on Gasherbrum II since Saturday, ended without success. The Polish skier was on the way down from C2 to C1, when he presumably fell into a crevasse. Three HAPs searched the area on Sunday, but were unable to find any hint of Olek. Andrzej Bargiel and Dariusz Zaluski also joined the search on Monday.

Owing to difficult terrain and bad weather, search operation was cancelled yesterday. Olek Ostrowski had previously climbed and skied from Cho Oyu summit in autumn 2014. This year, he and Piotr Śnigorski wanted to make ski-descent of GII. However, difficult snow conditions thwarted their summit push at 7600m on July 24th.
Olek will remain on GII forever; Source

K2 is over
Climbing season on K2 is formally over, now. After departure of strong independent climbers like Swiss Mike Horn, Argentinian Mariano Galvan, Hungarians duo, Estonian team and Spaniard Carlos Sarurez, and exit of commercial expeditions Himex and Madison Mountaineering, the third big-team Seven Summit Treks also announces the end of expedition.

Seven Summit Treks team started summit push from BC on July 24th. However, upon reaching ABC, they discovered that their climbing gear stored at the base of SE Ridge was buried under a big avalanche. After digging for three days, the team was eventually able to recover most of their equipment on July 26th. “All helmets and boots are destroyed, some crampons are twisted, the rest is ok,” Philippe Gatta wrote yesterday.

Nonetheless, it’s already too late and too dangerous to think of summit attempt, now. All camps and ropes on SE Ridge are suspected to have been damaged by huge avalanches. After extraordinary summer season in 2014, K2 will remain unclimbed this year.
A massive avalanche coming down K2. Source

Broad Peak Summit Push
After cancelation of K2 expedition due to dangerous conditions, Himex team launched a summit attempt on Broad Peak, this week. Eight climbers and eight high altitude porters went up from Base Camp to C2 on Sunday. Yesterday, they ascended to C3 and were expected to leave for summit, this morning.

“It looks like there is a 50/50 chance of success tomorrow depending on wind/snow/cloud conditions. It appears that cloud might come and go, but now also we are on the edge of the jet stream winds, so we will all have to wait and see how the day dawns tomorrow.” Russel Brice wrote yesterday.

Andrzej Bargiel is the only climber to summit Broad Peak this year so far.

Update: 28-07-15/1600hrs local time
Himex team's summit push has been thwarted by foul weather and deep snow above C3. The group of sixteen climbers and high altitude porters left for summit at 02:00am while it was snowing lightly. An hour later, snow got heavier and the team was forced to return to C3.

Skies cleared at 05:00am and the team decided to go up, again. However, they encountered deep unconsolidated snow within two hours of ascent. So, the difficult decision to abandon the summit push was made. All the climbers and HAPs are now back at BC. Himex summer 2015 expedition is over; the return journey will start on Friday or Saturday.

Broad Peak as seen from K2 Base Camp; Source

Czech on GI
Contrary to majority of Karakoram expeditions who are leaving the mountains, Czech climbers Marek Holecek and Tomas Petrecek just arrived at Gasherbrum BC last week. After resting and organizing Base Camp, the two climbers started acclimatization on normal route (edit: it appears that they opted to acclimatize on GII instead of GI). They spent two nights on the mountain and climbed to an altitude of 7000m, before returning to BC on July 25th.

Marek Holecek and Tomas Petrecek intend to open a new route on Southwest Face of Gasherbrum I in alpine style. Marek Holecek has previously attempted the route twice with Zdenek Hruby. Zdenek died on this route in a fatal fall in 2013.
Czech (unfinished) new route on GI SW face; Source
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