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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