Summer 2016 Summit Push Updates: Final-Bids on Nanga Parbat, Broad Peak

Summer 2016 has so far been a difficult climbing season in Karakoram and Western Himalayas. Apart from ongoing quest on Nanga Parbat and Broad Peak, there have been only two 8000m ascents (on Broad Peak by Slovenian duo). A massive avalanche swept away C3 on K2. Fortunately everyone remained safe but this also meant end of expedition for majority of climbers. Excessive snow on GII have apparently turned back all climbers back, whereas news is awaited from Poles on GI.

Final pushes are currently underway on Nanga Parbat and Broad Peak, where two Spanish climbers are nearing personal goals; 13th 8000er for Ferran Latorre on Nanga Parbat, 14th for Oscar Cadiach on Broad Peak.

Nanga Parbat
Ferran Latorre, Helias Millerioux and Boyan Petrov, who had reached C3 (6500m) on July 22nd, delayed the ascent to C4 (7200m) for a day. They climbed to C4 yesterday (July 24th) and are currently on the way to summit. If successful, it will be 13th eight-thousander for Ferran Latorre; all without bottled oxygen.

As of 10am local time, Ferran Latorre’s tracker shows that he has crossed Bazhin Basin and is going up summit trapezoid. It appears that Spanish duo, Pepe Saldaña and Fernando Fernández, have abandoned their summit push. Other Nanga Parbat teams are also back in BC, hoping for another summit window in August.
Summit push team's location at 10AM local time. Photo: Ferran Latorre

Earlier this season, Yannick Graziani, Ferran Latorre and Hélias Millerioux intended to climb North Face of mountain and complete the unfinished line. However, bad weather thwarted their summit push at around 7800, near North Summit. Boyan Petrov and Ivan Tomov, who originally wanted to climb Kinshofer route, also switched to North Face because of better conditions. A couple of days after Yannick, Ferran and Helias, the Bulgarians were also on summit push. The two climber traversed from North Face to Kinshofer route. However, due to lack of visibility on summit day, they ended up taking wrong gully up the summit trapezoid.

Broad Peak
Despite good climbing conditions throughout the season, summit-push has been significantly challenging for Broad Peak climbers. Around 18 climbers went up from Base Camp on July 21st and spent the night in C2. However, July 22nd was a bad weather day in Karakoram. Snow, clouds and wind had been reported from teams on all peaks. Climbers thus remained stuck in C2.

Following day, fresh snow made the ascent from C2 to C3 (7150m) very tiring. It took them approximately 20hrs to get there. The teams, thus, have to abandon the plans of setting up another camp – upper C3 or C4 – before final bid. A few climbers including Íñigo Castiñeyra, Rosa Fernandez Rubio and some HAPs retreated to BC that day.

Oscar Cadiach, Ásgeir Jónsson, Gilian Lee, Mountain Professional teams (Benedicte Gude, Gaute Teigen, Stephan Mertesdorf, Tomas Ceppi and Ryan Waters) and some Polish climbers launched the summit-bid yesternight. Australian Gilian Lee cancelled the attempt just after leaving the camp. “Turned around at 7100m. Like the other Spanish I knew I needed a high C4. Let’s see how the others faired. I’ve failed.” He tweeted.

If successful, Broad Peak will be 14th eight-thousander for Oscar Cadiach; thus the conclusion of 14x8000m without bottled oxygen quest for Spaniard.
Oscar Cadiach; Source

Gasherbrums
Heavy snow on July 22nd made conditions on GII too dangerous for Spanish South Spur climbers to go up. Alberto Iñurrategi, Juan Vallejo and Mikel Zabalza thus decided to turn back from C1. Polish climbers were heading up GI, but there hasn’t been any update from the team since July 21st.

K2
K2 climbers headed up from BC on July 21st, aiming for a July 25th/26th summit. However, on July 22nd almost all climbers remained stuck in tents due to bad weather. On 23rd, a massive avalanche came down the mountain sweeping away the entire C3.

“When we were preparing to climb from camp 1 to camp 2 on the morning of July 23, we saw a big avalanche come down the mountain. We later learned that this avalanche was massive, had started somewhere near our camp 4, and had covered nearly a third of the mountain down to the base,  taking out our camps 3 & 4, nothing was left. We were lucky that we were not in these camps when the avalanche occurred. Without our equipment for our summit attempt (tents, oxygen, ropes, food, etc) we cannot continue our climb, we are now heading home, as are all teams. Yesterday we searched the avalanche debris field at the base of the mountain, about 7000′ below where the slide began, but found nothing, as the debris was around 10-20 ft. deep in most areas.” Wrote Garret Madison.

While, commercial teams have decided to abandon K2 expeditions, some independent climbers are planning an attempt at the start of August.  “A number of us are having a meeting this afternoon to discuss the feasibility of a summit push aiming for August 1st.” Nick Rice wrote on Facebook, yesterday.
Screen grab of Nick Rice's K2 avalanche video; Watch full video here

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